When it comes to exercising and achieving goals, there are two important factors that stand out: motivation and self-belief.
What motivates us and drives us forward can help us to achieve our goals but, when there is a disparity between desire, motivation and resources available, then the possibility of achieving our outcome successfully is substantially diminished.
Additionally, if someone does not believe they are capable of achieving then they will not succeed and remain unfulfilled. Only by being aware and understanding what is driving behaviour can we be properly equipped for change in pursuit of achieving our health and fitness goals.
For example, for wanting to lose weight, options include exercising more, eating less and cutting back on alcohol consumption and the way forward is to commit to action on one or all of the above. This is often the stumbling block, where desire is not matched by motivation.
Success is dependent upon the key factor in the equation, attitude to yourself and the task in hand. The challenge arises when you have low levels of confidence and low self-esteem.
Our beliefs act as a framework for our behaviour – what you believe forms the cornerstone of how you behave and what you get. To change a habitual behaviour, you have to change a belief. This requires developing a way of thinking that will help you to believe you can behave differently. The fact is, if you really want to change something in your life then you will find a way to make it happen. Belief is the fuel of ambition.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this was the belief that running a mile under four minutes was humanly impossible, a view reflected by the hundreds who tried and failed. However, once Roger Banister smashed the record, people immediately believed that it was now possible – in the 18 months following his achievement the sub-4-minute mile was achieved by more than 45 runners. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”
One of the functions performed for us by our mind is the validation of our ways of thinking about the world. We tend to seek confirmation for what we believe, even if those beliefs are harmful to our well-being. If you believe that you are capable and confident, you pay attention to those signals from the outside world which reinforces those beliefs. If you believe that you are not as good as others or that you are being judged badly, you seek the confirming evidence just as readily. When this happens, often at the first sign of difficulty in achieving an objective, we are more likely to abandon our plans and shrink back into our comfort zone.
People often put the weight back on because even after the weight has come off, they still see themselves as an overweight person and go back to thinking and acting like the person they once were. You can change your self-image by surrounding yourself in a safe and friendly environment and challenging yourself to feel good about what you are doing. By doing this, your confidence and self-belief will grow and this, in turn, will help you to take responsibility and accountability for your own health, fitness and well-being.
Changing the body, including losing weight, toning up and building muscle really starts from the head down. Understanding the elements that contribute to behavioural change is one thing, but it is implementing the positive strategy that is the key.
Top five tips to losing weight
1. Really think about what you want to achieve
2. Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
3. Get support from a coach or fitness professional, to support you on your weight-loss journey
4. Create variety in your sessions and always make them fun and exciting
5. Seek and believe in positive feedback
Pete Cohen is a professional business coach, public speaker, TV presenter, author and consultant who can help individuals, executives or organisations to achieve their very best. He is the founder of Weight Loss Guru – www.weightlossguru.com
This feature was first printed in the August/September 2011 issue of Fitpro Network magazine.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Fitness Professionals Ltd or Virtual Magazine. Consult a qualified health or fitness professional before making changes to your diet or exercise.