I never miss a workout. Does that sound cocky?
It shouldn’t. I simply understand and apply a powerful technique to compel myself to action. This article will show you how to do it too.
If you are serious about building your dream body, you must take consistent action. I’ll repeat that:
You must take consistent action.
Working out must become your new lifestyle. If you simply workout once in a while with long breaks in between, you can expect dismal results. The reason being that muscle atrophies from lack of use. You can build your biceps for a month, then lose your gains the following month.
Don’t let this put you off though. This is a great lifestyle!
Think about it:
* You improve on a daily basis
* You have high-energy levels
* People respect you more
* You have passion and enthusiasm for life!
* You feel amazing when you see your body transform before your eyes
* You feel powerfully confident as you know you are in control of your life
When I talk about consistency I mean NEVER missing a workout. Not one. Ever.
See this as your goal. You must aim high because even if you fall short, you’ll still do well. I remember hearing Kanye West say something to the effect of,
“If you aim for the stars and fall, you’ll at least land on a cloud”
I thought, no wonder this guy is successful, he thinks like a successful person.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of how language affects the nervous system. When I first started learning about NLP I discovered an astounding truth:
Humans are completely controlled by 2 forces in life. They are:
Everything we do arises out of the need to avoid pain and/or gain pleasure. Think about it.
Why do you procrastinate? (if you do).
It’s because when you think of the task at hand, it creates more pain inside of you than pleasure. You’re probably visualizing all the tasks you have to complete (pain), all the effort (pain), and maybe it won’t work out anyway (pain).
You could always do something relaxing instead (pleasure), that TV show you like is coming on soon (pleasure), you’ve had a hard day work so you deserve to do nothing (pleasure), and you can always do it tomorrow anyway (pleasure).
When you see it like this, you’ll understand why people procrastinate so much. If they finally get round to completing the task, it’s only because they start to see NOT doing it as more painful than doing it. Think ‘last-minute Tax Returns’ and school assignments.
Attention Ladies! Why do you put on make-up every morning? Do you enjoy it?
I doubt it.
But, the pleasure you will derive throughout the day from that task far outweighs the pain of the process. You probably don’t even think about it, you just do it – it’s automatic. The thought of going about your daily business with no make-up on feels really painful.
This is how we want to approach working out. We just do it, no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.
How Your Mind Works
Our minds work by association. Oftentimes, memories and imagination trigger emotional responses automatically. Are you aware of Pavlov’s Dogs? Ivan Pavlov discovered that dogs would associate a neutral stimulus, such as ringing a bell, to food. He rang a bell before feeding them every time, and pretty soon all he had to do was ring a bell and the dogs would salivate – no food in sight. An association between the sound of a bell and food had been made. We humans work the same way.
It’s like this: Think of your mind as a hard drive full of mp3 files. When you think of something that scares you, it’s the equivalent of commanding your computer to play mp3 ‘X’. The external stimulus is the command and the emotion of fear is the mp3 file.
This is because there is a neuro-association between the two. Think of event ‘A’, you get emotion ‘A’. Someone with a phobia of spiders runs their ‘panic’ file when they see one; it’s a conditioned response.
If your current associations to exercise aren’t positive, we need to change them. We need to get to the point where:
Thinking of working out = pleasure
Thinking of missing a workout = big time pain
If the thought, “I wonder should I work out tonight?” ever comes into your head, you’ve still got work to do acquire the right mindset for success. Here’s how I think you should do it. (Warning, the following exercise will be emotionally painful for many, but stick with it as the results are worth it).
Create New, Empowering Associations
Answer the following questions (actually write your answers down)
Creating a Painful Association
How will your body look if you don’t work out? Skinny? Fat? Write out a vivid description, use profane language if you want. You want to come up with answers that evoke a negative emotional response.
Think of situations where your body embarrasses you. Write out some real memories or just visualize some situations where having your body = pain.
What will you miss out on if you don’t work out? Might you not attract the man or woman of your dreams? Could you be lonely? Will you be introverted and self-conscious?
Creating a Pleasurable Association
Now answer these.
How will your body look if you do work out? Visualize your ideal body. Feel how good it feels to have this body. See yourself looking at the new you in the mirror.
Imagine some situations – At the beach, at a party, at work. Actually see yourself in social situations where it would feel amazing to have that body. How do your clothes look on you now compared with the old body?
What will you gain by working out? Explosive confidence? A soul-mate? New friends? More respect from people? A real sense of complete control and command over your own life? Make the image BIG and BRIGHT, see yourself smiling or laughing as you exude charisma and power to those around you.
Now I want you to take your answers and play a game; a brain game.
First, take the answers for creating a painful association and sit comfortably and close your eyes. For 2-3 minutes I want you to think about not working out and then immediately visualize one of your answers.
For example, you say inwardly, “I’m not going to work out today” while seeing yourself lying on the couch or whatever it is you would be doing instead. Then quickly see the body you are dissatisfied with and be real. If you hate it, say you hate it. You must evoke emotional responses. If emotion is not involved, it won’t work. Again, see yourself deciding not to work out and then visualize the social situation where it feels painful to have that body. Repeat this process over and over again for 2-3 minutes.
Now do the same for creating the pleasurable association.
See yourself performing your first set of your workout, maybe accompany this by saying, “I love working out”. Now switch quickly to the image of you walking around with your ideal body, how good does that feel? See yourself with the partner of your dreams on your arm. Again, keep switching between seeing yourself work out and the ‘feel good’ images. Repeat for 2-3 minutes non-stop.
Now Test it
Think about something completely different for a minute to take your mind off of this. Then say, “I’m not going to work out today” or “I’m going to stop working out altogether” – does it feel painful?
Also, just thinking about working out should get you excited now! If the associations haven’t stuck, you need to create more emotion. Make the pain and pleasure you feel during the visualization real. If you notice, in the weeks or months to come that the associations lose some of their power, simply repeat this process again. You could also do a mini version of this before every workout for that added edge in the gym.
NLP has been studied by millions around the world. Its techniques can radically transform your life. If you went through the exercise above correctly, you may never miss another workout again. Also, be aware that you can use this process to change virtually any aspect of your character or behavior, so have fun with it!
To the new, empowered you! Your buddy,
image credits – typecarl & tummysupinknots
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Someone else put it this was: “shoot for the stars you might hit the moon”
oh there we go, i noticed a lot of your articles had such heavy NLP overtones, and it turns out that you did do research on it. great to hear!
Thanks Clef. It’s all about taking control of yourself, total mastery of your life 🙂
This is good stuff Mark, I am a firm beleiver in writing down your goals and putting up pictures of your goal. I am trying to remember where I got the stat from, but when you write down your goals and say them out loud you are 87% more likely to acheive them. Another quote going along the same lines as you guys, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every single time” Keep it all coming Mark, good stuff.
Totally agree with the NLP point. It’s all to do with mental attitude and once you make exercise a pleasure and missing one a pain you’ll be more motivated. I think I’m nearly in that mindset. This post also probably explains why I prefer Xbox 360 to doing work 😉
Where did you learn about NLP? Any book recommendations?
this is helping me
I hate my current body
It makes me go through many embarrasing situations
This is helping me a lot
Thaks Mark McManus!
A great article, thanks. I’ve been using NLP techniques for career development for years and it really works, so using it for my fitness goals is a great idea too.
An additional tip which has worked for me: write down all of the excuses you ever came up with for missing a session then write down your response to it in advance. Some of my examples: too busy at work, too tired, away on business, going out with friends. There will be a way of achieving all you want to, you don’t have to compromise on e.g. a night out with your friends. So next time your mind tries to pull that excuse out of the bag you’re already on your way to the gym.
You’re right, success is all about the ability to direct your own mind.
Thanks mark for pointing us in the right direction…now its up to me to drive it home
Thanks for all your great advice Mark!! I truly believe this technique works! When I was younger my parents always said that we become what we say we are!! The funny thing is, I am sure they did not even know there was science behind this truth!! I love your blog! It truly keeps me motivated!
Awsome!! I started down this road with the movie “What the bleep do we know.. further down the rabbit hole” a quantum physics movie changed my life i became obssed and reading any thing i can about this stuff. Keep this kinda stuff comin man.. its a bit by bit process for people to actually jump on board and actually believe, but life change when they do
this article is really deep. NLP is an interesting concept that most people should know about. great post thanks