Use Fear To Control Your Transformation
When it comes to weight loss, or muscle gain, or pretty much any endeavor that involves working out and/or following a strict nutrition plan, our first step is usually setting a goal.
This practice is all well and good except for one minor problem…it almost always concludes in the abandonment of the journey. The goal remains, but the commitment to the execution of the action plan falls by the wayside. Throughout my nearly quarter century career there is one classification of client which stands head and shoulders above all others when it comes to results. Who? You ask. Those who have been told by their Doctor that they are at a grave health risk if they don’t commit to a lifestyle change that includes regular exercise and proper nutrition programming.
This is nothing new. Negative persuasion is a very popular form of marketing / advertising. Think of how many times you’ve seen ads that state “5 biggest risks of…” We respond to fear because the possibility of that fear coming to fruition attaches to something in our lives that we don’t want to lose. Conversely, when we set a goal and only focus on the positive outcome, we fail to internalize the probability that we will actually achieve it if we stay the course. It’s like buying a lottery ticket; we imagine all the amazing ways our lives will positively change if we win, but the dream is easily abandoned when we don’t. And we reset the goal every time we buy another ticket.
So how do you implement this “Fear Setting” technique when it comes to improving the quality of your life with consistent exercise and proper nutrition? Ask yourself two questions. In fact, write them down. Put them on your daily calendar and read them every morning.
- What are the 5 worst things that will happen if I don’t commit to this lifestyle change?
- What obstacles (real or imagined) am I allowing to keep me in my current state?
This mental exercise will empower you to confront your fears and achieve tangible results in a far more meaningful way than creating lofty goals ever will.
When I reflect upon any of my successes, I can easily identify what my fears were, how they were overcome, and more importantly how they were used as springboards instead of roadblocks. When I purchased my first training studio I was full of ambition and enthusiasm, but not much else. I remember worrying that I didn’t know the first thing about running a business. I had no clue about merchant accounts, liability insurance, employee benefits, articles of incorporation, etc.
Instead of remaining in a paralyzed state, I reflected on the year prior in which I had transformed myself into a competitive bodybuilder. I remembered how much I wanted that glorious moment when a packed auditorium would cheer as I struck my most muscular pose. I also remembered how I had to confront my fear of standing in front of that crowd in my banana hammock and being laughed off the stage. What if I’m too small? What if I’m not ripped? What if I trip when I’m on stage?
Finally, those fears were conquered, and the goal ultimately achieved, by taking the first baby step. Then another, and another, and another. The first thing I did was choose a contest that was one year out. Then I sought out a mentor to help create my plan, and a support group (training partners) to help implement the plan. All the while telling myself, “What’s the worst that can happen, I come in last place? I’ll still be in the best shape of my life.”
Now, 20 year later, I can tell you with absolute certainty that my year of training for that competition (it was actually two competitions) was one of the greatest of my life. Overcoming those fears gave me the blueprint for conquering every challenge I have faced since then. The experience has made me a better father and husband, an infinitely better businessman, and I feel most importantly, a better example for myself.
When would NOW be a good time for you to look in the mirror and ask yourself “What am I afraid of?”
I just thought of a third question to ask yourself:
How would my life be different today if I had confronted my fears and implemented my plan one year ago?
Pretty powerful, right?
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