How to Handle The Psychology of Your Well-Being

How to Handle The Psychology of Your Well-Being

At times I felt helpless. Empty of any traces of hope. My thoughts flood with negativity, which spirals me into feeling less than. I start to wallow in self-pity and life finds itself stuck in neutral.

These psychological battles in the past led me to quit exercising for months, resulting in 15 pounds of weight gain which I hid. I’ve stayed in bed for consecutive days not wanting to face the day ahead, secretly wishing problems to vanish on their own.

Our minds are delicate entities. Creative goals, fitness goals, career aspirations, and relationships can all crumble in front of our eyes by the activity floating inside our brains.

It’s easier to search for a workout plan or debate over nutritional minutiae than to dissect ourselves and come to grips with what’s going on inside of us.

Without coming to grips with what’s going on inside, your goals and potential won’t come to fruition (no matter how many feel good articles and inspirational quotes you read).

Your thoughts, feelings, and actions become your greatest adversary.

You can’t stop binge eating. Can’t maintain an exercise habit. Can’t lose those last 10 pounds. Can’t gather the courage to quit your job. Can’t gather the courage to pursue your art. Can’t maintain healthy relationships.

Motivation is gone and you’re only left with your thoughts, which are currently betraying you.

Are you to sit there and accept it as is? Accept the powerlessness? Accept the despair? Accept that this goal or thing you want will never come to fruition?

Absolutely not. You have a choice to fight and decide. And it starts with how you handle the psychology of your well-being.

The good wolf and the bad wolf

“One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.”

“It is a terrible fight and it’s between two wolves. One is evil—he is angry, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued…However, “The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson paused and thought about this statement for a minute and then asked his grandfather “Which wolf wins?”

The old grandfather simply replied with, “The one you feed”

the psychology of your well-being wolf

The good wolf and the bad wolf of fitness

Self-sabotaging and psychological battles reign supreme in many people’s lives when it comes to attempts at healthier living.

You know you should exercise. You know you should say “no” to those office cookies and treats. You know you should sleep instead of surfing Facebook. You know you should pass on watching one more episode on Netflix.

Every corner you turn is another opportunity to feed your bad wolf and distance yourself further from your goals.

Information isn’t the issue. You’re full of knowledge and desires but empty of action.

How many times have we seen this scenario:

It’s a Saturday night and Skylar decides she wants to lose 15 pounds. She plans to strength train three days a week while participating in other forms of activity for 60 minutes on non-training days.

Sounds good so far.

Skylar knows that she needs to change her diet. She’s going to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon and throws away all her foods that don’t support her goal.

She’s invincible.

Monday morning, Skylar is off to a great start with her healthy and well-balanced breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, avocado, and a cup of blueberries. Skylar breezes through work and goes to the gym afterward.

Fast forward a week later and Skylar has an unexpected project land on her desk. Her family, peers, and job are worrying her and now she’s overwhelmed (and stressed).

Today is a workout day, but she’s tired and had a crappy day. She promises to go tomorrow (doesn’t happen).Over the week, Skylar faces various temptations and obstacles which alter her flow.

These moments, temptations, and curveballs are the ebbs and flows of everyday life. These ebbs and flows require us to make a decision each time when faced with one. Each moment allows her the opportunity to feed her good wolf or feed her bad wolf.

When it comes to you, will you…

Let stress at work become your excuse for not going to the gym and then binge eat? Only later to feel guilt and shame about your choices (this is feeding the bad wolf).

Let your emotions and desire for temporary pleasure cause you to grab a handful in the snack jar or grab a soda or two (bad wolf wins again)?

Let your peers guilt you into eating junk food at the restaurant and bar (bad wolf notches another win)?

Doubt yourself and your new strength training regimen because it’s uncomfortable and unfamiliar? Thus allowing yourself to quit and use the excuse “it wasn’t for me” (bad wolf secretly wins again)?

Or will you…

Acknowledge the stress at work and take preventative actions to not let this dictate your behaviors (victory for the good wolf)?

Recognize that it’s your environment and the nervous/anxious energy given off by your peers that are causing these feelings? Recognizing this prevents you from self-sabotaging your goals for temporary moments of relief (the good wolf wins again).

Recognize that your choices are ultimately yours? If they’re good friends, they will respect your new lifestyle and even support you (the good wolf strikes again).

Re-frame your thoughts and recognize that fitness is a skill acquired through repetitive practice (no one is excluded in fitness)? As with any other craft, the beginning is murky as a swampland, but on the other side is bright skies along with a new and improved body (the good wolf prevails).

The best defense against an illness is prevention through healthy behaviors. The best defense against negative thoughts isn’t to completely avoid negative thoughts (that’s impossible). Instead, the best defense is to train yourself not to follow these negative thoughts when they arise (be a watcher of thoughts instead).

Identify your self-defeating thoughts

Here’s an example: You feel bad about your weight and want to make a change. But, you tried many diets before and claim to have tried “everything”, but yet nothing works. You sometimes stress and binge-eat. Hours later, you feel guilt and shame that you weren’t strong enough to resist.

Besides the fatal error of relying on willpower (which is a whole subject on its own), your thoughts are full of negative narratives such as “I’m weak”, “I’m not strong enough”, “I’ve failed before, why will this time be different”?

These negative narratives lead to feeling down about yourself, which leads to lack of action.

This type of person still won’t take consistent action despite the consumption of inspirational quotes and motivational videos because they’re fighting against their subconscious and it’s going to win each time unless you start to rewrite these narratives.

This constant internal battle is what we call a negative feedback loop.

good wolf

Thoughts such as: “I suck at fitness.” “I suck at relationships.” “I suck at writing.” “I suck at business.” “I suck at healthy eating.” “I suck at getting quality sleep.” “I suck at {whatever else you feel like inserting here}.” “I don’t belong here.” “She’s out of my league.” “I’m not good enough to wear this dress” “My arms aren’t big enough to wear these type of shirts.” and “Once I get to this ‘weight’—I’ll feel better about myself and life will be better” are all destructive thoughts.

These type of thoughts don’t completely go away, but you must catch these thoughts when they arrive.

Most people go about their day without ever addressing these thoughts. Over time, these thoughts cement themselves inside your sub-conscious and expand over time. While you may not feel them 24/7, these sub-conscious thoughts of feeling less than quietly leads to feelings and behaviors on a daily basis that match up externally with how you think of yourself internally.

Ever notice how on some things, you tend to shy away from because “you claim to be bad at it”? That’s because your subconscious is secretly working in the background. It’s operating from past experiences and negative thoughts that had free reign.

And the first step to re-framing your mindset is to develop more self-awareness. Anytime negative thoughts appear, realize that they are thoughts and only thoughts—not a prophecy or a reality that is set in stone.

Challenge your self-defeating thoughts with encouragement and logic while attempting to replace those destructive thoughts with more positive narratives.

Solutions and questions to ponder to help feed your good wolf

Below are a serious of exercises you can try to help re-frame your mindset and turn those negative thoughts into neutral-to-positive thoughts. These exercises will prevent you from becoming paralyzed by the potential negative manifestations created inside your head.

Here are the exercises to follow in a logical order. Think about these questions and journal a couple out and see if you can get to the core root of what stopped you in that moment.

  1. Are you aware of the internal struggle of the opposing wolves? This is a good starting point if you don’t recognize the divide and internal battle going on inside you each day. Take a day to notice your thoughts as you’re going about your normal routine day. Notice your mind when it comes to tempting food choices. Notice when it comes time to exercise (you suddenly don’t feel like working out). Notice when it’s time to sleep and Facebook seems like a good idea or you need to watch one more episode on Netflix.
  2. Recognize that deep within you is the separate entity that is removed from labels, titles, and traits: This is your true identity. After stripping away titles given to you by work, career, friends, and various other sources lies the true you. When you say “I have no willpower” or “I’m this or that”, this is you placing yourself inside a box. You can be whatever you want to be, as long as you think and act this way inside your mind.
  3. Have you ran into situations or internal fights and struggles or faced with decisions and you didn’t know which way to turn?
  4. When you made decisions in the past, have you realized that there was a better option available that was more positive and beneficial, but yet you didn’t take it?
  5. How effective are you when it comes to choosing the rights actions and thinking the right thoughts?
  6. What are some ways you can increase the chances of making a better decision the next time faced with temptation?
  7. How do you feed your bad wolf on a daily basis? What actions, thoughts, and feelings do you do?
  8. How do you feed your good wolf on a daily basis? What actions, thoughts, and feelings do you do?
  9. Having become aware of how to feed the wolves that reside within you, what are some better ways that you can nurture your specific wolves?

The Fitness 10/10/10 Rule: How this Quick and Easy Process Can Help You Make Better Decisions

The Fitness 10:10:10 Rule: How this Quick and Easy Process Can Help You Make Better Decisions
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a guy named Julian who was thoughtful, smart, kind, and nerdy with a dry sense of humor and a curious spirit.
 
He had a crush on this girl and one day he finally meets her in person, but he knows that he needs to muster up the courage to ask this woman he likes out for a date.
 
The thing is, Julian is shy and isn’t one to be bold. But he understands the social dynamics of how man and woman operate.
 
Yet, Julian struggles with being vulnerable—something that many other people do as well. 
 
We’re scared to show our true selves. It’s hard to put yourself out there and risk the heartache, disappointment, and other associated feelings that stem from putting yourself out there for the world to reject or accept.
 
It’s hard to ask for what we want due to the possible scenarios of what can happen.
 
For example, let’s take a look at some of the potential scenarios about my predicament above. In a flash of five minutes, I have many scenarios that have sprouted up in my head with a multitude of options such as:
  • What if I mess up with asking her out and it sounds weak, wimpy, and awkward
  • What if she says no—damn this can get awkward…real fast
  • What if she says no because I’m not good enough, smart enough, handsome enough, or any other ‘enough’ you want to add
  • What if she says yes out of guilt or even worse…out of pity
  • What if she says yes because she’s lonely and I’m just the rebound guy from her last breakup or a temporary replacement until her main attraction comes back around
The more thought of these negative scenarios, the more I feel the pain of rejection before anything has even happened. The more thought about these situations and scenarios, the more I’m psyching myself out before attempting to do anything.
 
The currency required to ask her out is too steep for me (or should I say my ego).
 
There are a gazillion negative scenarios and only one positive outcome of where she says yes. Is this worth the potential rejection, awkwardness, and other associated feelings circulating inside my head?

What should I do?

The majority of people who I would ask for an opinion would tell me to do it.
 
“Take the leap.” “Embrace uncertainty.” “Dive into the unknown and mysteries of life.” “Kick fear in its ASS.” “YOLO.”
 
And whatever other motivational slang terms that people use these days.
 
It’s crystal clear what needs to happen when you’re giving advice 40,000 feet above ground zero where all the action is taking place.
 
This is a phenomenon that occurs in all facets of life.
 
It shows up in the book critic or the person who leaves nasty reviews on articles while they’ve never written a page nor have any clue about the craft. Or the girlfriend who dishes out love advice to her friends about relationships, yet she hasn’t had one successful relationship.
 
And lastly, the fitness expert who isn’t in shape themselves nor has ever been.
 
When the tables turn, only a small fraction of those people dishing out the advice will do what they tell someone else to do.
 
We have unlimited amounts of courage for others, but unlimited amounts of fear of the potential consequences for ourselves
 
Here are some other scenarios in case my current dilemma isn’t doing it for you:
  • Asking your boss for a raise
  • Starting an exercise regimen when you don’t know what you’re doing
  • Sharing your art with the world
  • Breaking up with a lover who isn’t serving your best interest
  • Finding new friends in a new city

The case doesn’t matter, being vulnerable scares the heebie-jeebies (shout-out to Boy Meets World) out of us.

After enough negative scenarios, we keep to ourselves, clam up, and don’t take the risk at all. It goes to the grave with us, just like many of the world’s dreams and potentials.
 
This is how dreams die, magical romances never become what they could, and how people stay unhealthy, unhappy and mediocre in all facets of their lives.
 
If we dish out advice on being brave to others, how can we channel this bravery for ourselves? How can we propel ourselves into action and make better decisions?

The 10/10/10 rule to make better decisions

It’s easy to lose perspective when faced with a pressurized situation. There’s emotion involved and this blinds us from making the logical decision.
 
We’ll agonize and change our minds over and over. Worst of all, when emotionally compromised, this leads to over-emphasizing the short-term and losing interest of what’s best in the long term.
 
Think about some of the worst decisions you made in life and when they happened. Odds are, you had emotions of anger, lust, greed, anxiety, jealousy, and short term filled emotions in the heat of the moment, which clouded your judgment and ability to make better decisions.
 
But we don’t have to be slaves to our emotions.
 
This is why the 10/10/10 rule invented by Suzy Welch is your best friend to making better decisions in life and fitness.
make better decisions
 
This rule that she created consists of 3 questions:
  1. How will you feel about it (the decision) 10 minutes from now?
  2. How about 10 months from now?
  3. How about 10 years from now?

Let’s get back to our story

I’m going to ask her out on a date.
 
Using the 3 question system, this is how the scenario would look as I’m prepping to ask her out.
 
1. In 10 minutes, how do I feel about this decision? Most likely, I’m going to feel a little embarrassed and worried about her saying “no”. But in the grand scheme, I’m going to feel good about myself because I removed any potential “what ifs” and regrets.
 
On the contrary, if she says “yes”, then I’m going to feel good about the decision to ask her out. Not only am I overcoming an emotional hangup, but I’m also learning to act in spite of fear and I also have a date with a girl I like.
 
2. In 10 months, how will I feel about this decision? Most likely, I’m going to forget about it or will only remember it when it’s brought up. But, I could have a girlfriend or an even deeper friendship.
 
3. In 10 years, how will I feel about the decision? Definitely, have forgotten about it. If she didn’t work out, I most likely have met another wonderful and pretty woman. But again, I could have met my dream woman and been with her for 10 years now.

With this scenario, are the risks still greater than my payoff?

Absolutely not.
 
There’s a chance for a rich and fulfilling relationship along with opportunities to grow as an individual. As with most things in life, when we’re deliberating about whether to do it or not, we overvalue the current moment in time and undervalue the long term.
 
In dating, we overvalue needing someone in the current moment and this leads us to jump into relationships that aren’t suited for us. Instead, these relationships just provide comfort because those types of people would rather be in a shitty relationship than to be alone until the right one comes along.
 
In fitness, we overvalue the implications of a 25-day fad diet and its effects on us while undervaluing the long term implications this can have on our bodies.
 

An example of the fitness 10/10/10 rule 

Let’s name the person Richard. Richard wants to lose 15 pounds but is reluctant to try since he’s attempted previous times in the past and has fallen short in his efforts. Richard has hangups about going on a diet, working out, and making it mesh with his desired lifestyle and busy work schedule.
 
Richard (and many people at the beginning) have a lot of mental hangups about the gym.
 
Here’s Richard’s scenario of going to the gym:
 
1. 10 minutes from now, how will he feel? He may be in a little discomfort, fearful, and uncertain about his decision to walk into the gym. But ultimately, he will be proud of himself for arriving here because many people would have let the discomfort stop them from walking in.
 
Anytime we attempt to step outside our comfort zone in life—fear, uncertainty, and discomfort will accompany you. But, these are signals that you’re headed for growth as an individual.
walking forward- make better decisions
As long as you’re moving forward—you’re doing more than enough.
 
Alternatively, Richard could’ve found an excuse for not going to the gym. But, he likely would’ve had feelings of guilt accompany him for not going and this would’ve led to more self-loathing and negative talk.
 
2. How will he feel about this decision 10 months from now? He either has developed the habit of exercising and his body most likely shows it as well as his confidence and work performance.
 
Or, he’s still self-loathing, feeling stuck and covered in shame that he hasn’t made any progress and doesn’t look nor feel any better.
 
3. What about 10 years from now? He’s achieved the body he’s desired along with making his unique dent in the universe through his business since he now has more energy and confidence.
 
Or, he’s puddling in mediocrity in life and business. He’s in a unfulfilling relationship or worse, jaded that he can’t get the girl he wants for whatever reason (probably his confidence).
 
He doesn’t like his body and since he neglected to adopt a healthy lifestyle for the past decade, his quality of life is most likely lower along with him suffering from some long-term health consequences due him not taking pride enough in himself to exercise.

Closing remarks

I won’t lie, you might hate every single minute that you’re putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. You might feel utterly uncomfortable with attempting to lose weight again, pursue work, or go after a relationship that is meaningful to you.
 
But, what the hell is the alternative?
 
Mediocrity. Unfulfilling work. A lifeless relationship that drains you more than inspires you. Filled with excuses for why you can’t do something. Living vicariously through others because you didn’t choose yourself nor believe in yourself enough.
 
That sounds awful.
 
And each one of us deserves better than that. But, we must choose ourselves and step out of our comfort zone (even a tiny step works).
 
When it comes to making better decisions, remind yourself that what you do today will have consequences tomorrow (good or bad).
 
When you think of pursuing your goals, don’t just think about the doomsday scenarios, think about everything that could go right. Don’t let distorted views or others opinions stop you from pursuing goals that truly matter to you.

The Surprising Truth About Why You Won’t Accomplish Your Fitness Goals

the-surprising-truth-about-why-you-wont-accomplish-your-fitness-goals

Maybe it’s the diet?

Maybe it’s the workout?

Perhaps, but most likely not. It’s easier to blame a particular problem for our fitness woes than to assess ourselves and take responsibility for our shortcomings.

In today’s overly saturated world of information, we have countless weight loss drugs and tv shows such as the biggest loser that promote dangerous healthy behaviors that are unsustainable for the long run.

If you ask the average person why they didn’t accomplish their particular fitness goal or what’s holding them back—they usually point to a specific tactic that’s setting them back.

If only it was that easy.

The things that hold us back not only in fitness but also with our careers and relationships are the intangibles. It’s the small things that are blatantly in front of us but they seem so obvious that we overlook them.

Whether you’re on a weight loss journey, looking to build muscle or any other type of fitness goal—make sure to address these 4 surprising but often overlooked areas that can stop you from accomplishing your fitness goals.

1. You don’t understand your needs

Entrepreneurs and small business owners wouldn’t randomly jump out of bed one morning and immediately pursue a business idea out of blind faith. The boardroom of directors doesn’t decide on budgets and actions for the next quarter through random guessing.

In each of these scenarios, there is a level of research and understanding of the market to a certain extent. While they can’t prepare for every single little thing, they can front load their work for the big issues and assess what their particular needs will be.

The same philosophy applies to your fitness. In this case, you’re the market and before you can worry about external tactics or anything else, you have to place a premium on yourself.

For some of you individuals who overextend themselves in work and in their personal lives, this means to become a little selfish for the time being.

Why be selfish?

Because you need total clarity about yourself. Before thinking about adding anything externally, you need to answer the basic questions that suit you on a daily basis.

For example, how many calories do you need to eat? To figure this out, you must look at your age, gender, the level of activity, and factor in general lifestyle factors into the situation.

After you have some of the data on yourself, now you have to figure out how to execute on the plan at hand. It’s useless to have a bunch of information and well-intentions if you don’t take action on them.

This is one example of many. You should get clear on your sleep, working out, and any other big priority in your life.

2. Record your progress

Peter Drucker is famous for saying “what gets measured gets improved.”

If you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t, how can you be your most efficient version of yourself?

In the business world, they’ll analyze marketing campaigns, manufacturing costs and many other metrics.

What does this look like in health and fitness?

For examples, healthy eating and using the power of journaling your food for increased awareness.

Why journaling your food?

Because you need to know what you’re eating, how it’s making you feel, what’s triggering you into eating not-so-good foods.

Did you happen to experience a mid-afternoon crash today at work or did you feel more lethargic than normal today? How’s your sleep going? With the journal, you’re able to get information and then measure it to see if small changes are needed.

why-you-wont-accomplish-your-fitness-goals
Don’t underestimate the power of journaling

3. You don’t have boundaries

When you haven’t truly thought about your value adding activities and your life-draining habits, you’re going to be inefficient.

Many times, people don’t fall short just because of their diet or workout plan, it’s because of their lack of boundaries.

When you have no boundaries established, the world feels as if it’s caving down and you never have enough time to do anything. You feel constantly busy with no end in sight.

A common place where this occurs is with friends and family asking you to do things for them. After a period of always being there, there’ll be this expectation that you’re always available and when you try to change your behavior with them, this can cause some friction.

Activities such as always numerous weekly happy hours are among the many potential scenarios the each of us will face.

However, when you make a list of essential and nonessential activities in your life—you’re gaining headspace.

This frees your mind and allows you to make better decisions. This most importantly, allows you to start saying “no” to things that don’t serve your vision towards a healthier you.

4. No schedule

Business owners, entrepreneurs, athletes, and many successful individuals in fitness adhere to a daily schedule.

Not because they can’t keep up with their day, but because they understand that discipline equals freedom. They established times for meetings, phone calls, strategy sessions, workouts, and other appointments. Having the discipline to schedule allows you to become more efficient and effective at everything you’re doing in life.

Blocking out times in fitness is pivotal especially if you’re a busy professional who has demanding workdays. As we all know, nutrition is critical and without planning this out, many busy professionals fall short with their fitness goals because of this.

If you have a schedule, you could plan to meal prep on Sunday and let that last you until Wednesday. Then you could have another mini-meal prep on Wednesday to finish the week out.

The more you can automate your healthy habits, the greater the chances of succeeding with your fitness goals.

If you’re looking to transform your health and body while building long-term sustainable habits, then the 30-Day Health Makeover is exactly what you’re looking for. Enrollment for classes close Saturday, January 14 at 11:59 pm.