The stories we tell ourselves have an enormous impact on how we navigate our world, live our lives and can be a make or break factor when it comes to achieving long-term goals. Our narratives are shaped by a variety of environmental and psycho-social factors and how we frame ourselves, our abilities, our potential as well as life’s dynamics can dictate our actions and vice versa.
It may be that you are carrying some significant false narratives about yourself – either consciously or subconsciously. Experts estimate that we have anywhere from 12-60 THOUSAND thoughts per DAY. Of those thousands of thoughts, an estimated 80% of those thoughts are negative. And perhaps most striking–95% of our thoughts are on repeat. In short, we have a lot of negativity to fight against.
Perception Is Not Reality:
One of the most glaring of human flaws is our inability to understand that so much of what we think is objective reality is actually perception – and in many cases a false perception. We misjudge situations, ability, potential, risk and time amongst other things. As David McRaney, Author of “You are Not So Smart” and “You are Now Less Dumb” puts it; “we are the unreliable narrators in the story of our lives”.
When it comes to chasing body composition and health goals, there are three general categories of framing that will have the most impact on progress;
- Big picture mindsets
- Agency mindsets
- Situational mindsets.
Let’s take a look at some of the mindsets that can take us off course, and how to reframe the message to create a more productive narrative. I encourage you to practice framing things in a way that promotes what psychologist Angela Duckworth calls a “Growth Mindset” – one that is grounded in improvement and positively-oriented.
The common theme when it comes to “big picture” framing is “privilege”; Framing healthy habits such as eating nutrient-dense foods and exercise as something you get to do, not something you have to do.
- My health is a privilege:
- I deserve the pursuit of health but taking care of my health is a privilege.
- I have the privilege of being able to exercise
- I have the privilege of having healthy food options.
- I get to workout.
- I get to eat healthfully
- I have the opportunity to play in my free time.
- I have the responsibility and the privilege to look after my body in the best way I can.
Agency has to do with personal responsibility. What psychologists call an “internal locus of control” meaning you feel you have a great deal of say in how things turn out. This means that you are taking a lead role in your health and shunning a victim mentality.
- I am choosing to eat or not eat something.
- I am choosing to train or not to train
- I do have the capability to make a healthier choice in just about any situation.
Self-Talk: Putting It Into Practice
Changing the inner workings of your personal narrative is not a flip-switch, overnight process. It will take a significant amount of reprogramming. There may be many years of deceptive messages built up; from perpetual self-doubt to self-defeatism and self-loathing.
Start Small, Start With General,Then Specific
The most important thing to remember along your health journey is that:
- You are worthy of the pursuit of health.
- The pursuit of health is a privilege
Once we can frame our healthy habits as privileges–something we GET to do, the other details fall into place more easily.
So now that you know healthy eating, movement and lifting are privileges, it’s time to see yourself as someone who’s capable of the actions necessary for change.
You do have a great deal of say when it comes to your health. You can control a lot of variables that determine fitness and weight outcomes.
Once you see health as a privilege and then take personal responsibility, you are on your way to making better choices and seeing results. You are making choices.. Decisions. You are no longer the passive recipient of your circumstances. Expect far-less than perfect, expect some discouragement and expect some setbacks, but do not EVER accept defeat.