Man. If I had a quid for every time I heard somebody utter the words "Yeah, I'm getting back into it!"
I'd have about £47.
I really do hear it a lot. As a corollary, I tend roll my eyes in quiet disdain. Reason being, those who are firing out that cute little quip are forever missing the point.
Our approach to fitness should be a bit like a career.
People don't 'get back into' their careers around 3-4 times per year. You have at it, you stick it out, press through the frustrations, roadblocks, mental hurdles, and you don't give up. So something deeper is typically going on when we speak such fitness blasphemy.
There's justifications that warrant it. Such as.
A trip to the moon.
You caught Ebola.
Problem is, more often than not most of us are 'getting back into it' after a spate of Christmas shenanigans, or it's because the sun isn't out, the moon isn't full, or because we went on holiday for 2 weeks and completely let it go for a month or two after that. Those are the characteristic caveats I'm targeting.
That's not how it works.
Having a couple of weeks off from time to time is more than fine. It is oftentimes needed. Ligaments and tendons need longer to recover and do not feel the same way muscles feel when they're achy and sore.
Also, due to a lower blood supply, they typically take longer to fully rejuvenate after intense lifting.
It's just that, all of a sudden you fill those two weeks with absolute junk food, zero movement and worst of all it turns into a month, two months... three...
It's a shame.
All of those people you see around you who resemble your end goal. Rippling abs, sleek and slender - Whatever rocks your socks. :-) - They have Christmas, they have holidays, they have jobs and social lives just like you.
So what's the real hurdle here? It's worth reminding ourselves that we're the sum of the stories we tell ourselves. Here's an interesting little breakdown of a dialogue I had with one of my oldest friends on Sunday.
I was discussing the nature of sponsoring thoughts.
A sponsoring thought is the pinnacle thought, the original idea you hold about yourself, or something in particular. Like branches meandering out, more and more ideas are constructed based on that original idea. Nothing more than derivatives.
As an example, let's talk about money. Take a middle-aged man who is quintessentially American. A family man, holds down two jobs, plenty of bills to pay, a hard and honest worker with high morals. That kinda Joe.
Now, like most of these Joe's they typically feel like they're persistently struggling to make ends meet. He yearns for the struggle to subside and for life to be somewhat kinder. All he asks is to be able to make enough money to live comfortably. But this never seems to materialise.
Every month is high stress. That constant worry that this months pay check won't cut the mustard is forever looming on the horizon. He's got mouths to feed and bills to pay.
Let's also assume, that this same modest, hard working gentleman, also holds a deeply rooted idea about money. Which stipulates that being wealthy is inherently bad. Or having too much money is a bad thing. Or earning a lot of money through charitable endeavours is also bad.
"Money is the root of all evil"
Bad, bad, bad, bad.
That is a reasonably prevalent idea about money, I'm all have our own thoughts on the matter. Of which none are either right or wrong. I'm curious to know if any of you reading this holds similar views. But I particularly want you to see the conflicting internal dialogue for what it is.
Joe deeply wants to earn enough money to be financially comfortable. Not too much, enough. Simultaneously, Joe feels that money is evil, inherently bad, and it's greedy to earn lots of dough.
How can one expect to create their own life of comfortable financial income, if they're harbouring such a conflicting, deep rooted idea about the very stuff they want more of? Do you see the contradiction?
Human beings contradict themselves all the time.
Coming back full circle to 'getting back into it' What's truly going on in the minds of these yo-yo trainees? Why do these well meaning, driven and motivated people constantly find themselves hopping off, and back on, and off, on. off..
What's your sponsoring thought about your health and fitness?
It could be one of the following.
You don't truly believe you can actually pull it off.
You don't think you deserve to look after yourself.
You don't think you have time.
You don't actually think you're good enough for those results.
You don't think you can actually be consistent.
You somehow think you're less than others who do succeed.
You cannot have these contradictions in place. These sponsoring thoughts are almost certainly nipping at your heels. Whatever ideas you hold about yourself will manifest in the most subtle, undetectable ways. The way you evaluate your daily choices will be viewed through that lens of thought. The way you stop short of failure with your set, will be powered through the deep rooted idea that you somehow cannot do it.
I hope you're not expecting me to say that you need to dance under a full moon singing the opening theme song to the Lion King. Followed by a shot of liquified pumice stone and Myrrh.
Because it isn't. There's no stupid hocus pocus to it. You simply re-create your sponsoring thought. In much the same way you created the idea in the first place.
"What! I can't change who I am! I'm me!"
Uhh, oh yes you can. That is yet another perfect example of a sponsoring thought. If you believe you can't change, then it'll sure as shit come true.
I can tell you now, you can change a lot more than you might realise. The first thing you'd have to do is address the original idea you hold. You make up your mind as to what you want that thought to be.
That's the beauty of it. You decide what you want to think.
You will hold many sponsoring thoughts about all sorts of topics and ideas. In fact there's so much information that the unconscious has to take over. So we can make our decisions without being conscious of the sponsoring thoughts which govern our evaluations. This is important to recognise.
Here, consider this puzzle. Have a stop watch handy and start the timer the second you finish the paragraph and question below. Stopping the timer once you figure it out!
A father and a son are in a car heading down the highway. There's a huge crash in which the father is killed instantly. The boy, who is seriously injured but alive, is rushed to A&E. Once arriving at A&E, with a flurry of activity all geared towards saving this boys life. The emergency doctor rushes over. The emergency doctor takes one look at the boy and gasps. "Oh my god, that's my son!"
Who's the father?
I'd hedge a bet, that for those of you who figured it out, it took an average of around 20-30 seconds. Some of you may still be scratching your chins.
The reason for this lack of processing fluency (The ease with which you process your evaluation) is due to an unconscious idea of a deeply rooted stereotype. That stereotype being, that we assume the doctor is male.
The doctor is actually female, it's the boys mother.
Some of you may have figured it out in about 3-5 seconds. Go you, here's a cookie.
Even though you may consciously feel you're against such a stereotype - I can confirm that I am - It still manages to manifest in the vast majority of people on an unconscious level.
These are the deeper mental challenges that we all need to appreciate when we pose the question - "Why can't I seem to do it?"
I ask - What's your sponsoring thought?