Being too optimistic can also make it very hard for us to change because we are not able to see ourselves as we really are. We actually can become a bit delusional about our success.
Over the years of training clients I’ve learned that our human nature is to overestimate our accomplishments and underestimate our short-comings.
It’s this belief and optimism in yourself that helps you to become successful in reaching your fitness goals, however, it can also make it very hard for us to change because we are not able to see ourselves as we really are. We actually can become a bit delusional about our success.
We say we exercise more than we actually do and we say we eat healthier than we actually do. We believe that we can do more than we can actually accomplish.
I have clients that sincerely believe that they are suddenly going to find the motivation to start exercising everyday and to magically lose all their cravings for junk food. Yet week after week when I ask them how they’re doing, they hang their head in frustration as the sheepishly admit that they had another ‘bad week.’
Week after week they make the same commitments to do better and try harder only to be met with the same unfortunate outcome. Truth is, change will only come when we’re ready and willing to take a hard look at ourselves, your schedule and your commitments and then evaluate what you are able to do from that realistic perspective.
- Is going to the gym everyday at 5:00 am realistic when you don’t go to bed until midnight?
- Is cutting out dining out and alcohol realistic when your company expects you to wine and dine clients?
- Is going to the gym after work realistic when you’ve got car pools, parent-teacher interview, dinner to make, homework to check and lunches to make?
Now don’t get me wrong-it’s good to be optimistic. In fact, if we were not optimistic about our accomplishments then we would all get frustrated and quit whenever setbacks occur as they enviably do! The downside is that our delusion can make it very hard for us to actually see that what we’re doing is not actually working.
How to Change
Over-coming this fitness success delusion will require:
1. Check in with yourself each day (starting right now) and ask yourself, “Are your actions today moving you towards your health goal?” If at the end of the month you’ve only exercised 4-6x in the month and you’ve consumed something unhealthy most days then you’ve got to accept that your optimism is keeping you from reaching your fitness success.
2. Track it, “What can you do differently TODAY to change your daily habits?” Record your daily habits. It’s time to face up to the reality that you will only change what you commit to changing.
3. Stay accountable– choose people who love and respect you and allow them to ask you the hard questions? How many times did you exercise last week? Are you fueling you body with the right foods?
It’s great to be optimistic about your health but be sure to add in a dose of reality. You’ve got to tell yourself the truth even if it’s painful. If you’re lazy, if you’re a procrastinator, if you’re prone to gluttony, if you’re dis-organized or if you’re over-scheduled, it’s time to call a spade a spade. Balance the confidence you have with where you currently are and you will be well on your way to accomplishing your fitness goals!
Until next time,
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