Let me introduce you to one dimensional ‘guy’. ODG is a friend/coach/fellow gym or family member. ODG likes loves the gym, his eating plan and sharing it with you. ODG does little outside of the gym, he feels anything outside of training is wasteful and would simply serve to sacrifice their gains. ODG’s interactions are little more than a series of conversations that re-affirm their dogma beliefs. Family, friendship and love are all secondary to training. You know ODG? I know a lot of people think they need to be more like ODG in order to get what they want in the gym. Think again. I see these people almost daily though social media feeds and I’ve met plenty of them at the gym. I see a group of people who live their life in a one dimensional world. They let the gym and their dogma define them. They base their whole identity around the gym and often stunt their own personal growth in doing so. By obsessing over the body they want, they miss out on everything outside of those four walls of the gym. For me these people have missed the point of training.
Training gets you from point A to point B, but there is also a process of self-discovery that can open your eyes if you let it. Taking charge of your body, forces you to take charge of your day to day life. It forces you to get your shit together. It forces you to create a good life for yourself. It forces you to ask a little more from yourself each day. To go a little bit further for those who matter to you. It forces you to be open minded. It forces you to have patience and empathy for others. It forces you to grow the self-confidence to be comfortable with what makes you happy and forces you to have the strength to say “fuck off” to the negative people in your life. Below are 5 steps I use with my clients to help take off the blinkers.
•FEED YOUR "IDEAL SELF" AND STARVE YOUR SHADOW *
We all have two people inside of us. One wants to go to the gym, eat steak and vegetables, do meaningful work, rock a tailored suit, and enjoy the fruits of his hard work. The other wants to goof off, eat shitty food, hang out on Facebook all day, wear a Snuggie, and take the easy way out of everything. Both versions of me live together in my head. And they’re each competing to take over my life. You and I have the same two people in our heads, too. Let’s call one the “ideal self” and the other the “shadow self.” Our ideal self is the kind of person we want to be. They’re authentic and confident. Humble yet strong. Competitive yet relaxed.
They’re like a less destructive version of Fight Club’s Tyler Durden.
“I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I’m free in all the ways that you are not.”
Tyler Durden in Fight Club
Our shadow self, on the other hand, is the person we don’t like. The person we’re not proud of. The person who says stupid shit, gives up when things get tough, and seems kinda like a loser. And they’re always there, lurking in our heads, ready to bust out and screw everything up or embarrass us. Most people run from their shadow or try to ignore him. But thinking about him constantly — or trying not to think about him — only makes him stronger. That’s because whatever you feed, grows. We’ve learned the only way to silence our shadow is to accept him. Because when you become aware of your shadow and all his baggage, you’re free to stop thinking about him. You take away all his power. Remember: you have two people living in your head. Your ideal and your shadow. One wants to build a great body and have a remarkable life. Feed them. The other one is actively pushing for you to be average. Acknowledge their existence. Then starve that motherfucker.
•STAND NEXT TO THE RADIATORS, NOT THE DRAINS
Radiators are the people in your life who are positive, warm and loving. They help you feel good about yourself just by being around them. They bring out the best of you and you bring out the best in them. The drains are those who suck the energy out of you. They distract you, put you down. They sabotage any attempt you try to better yourself because it only highlights their own failings. The radiators in your life give a shit about you and will want to help you anyway they can. Drains only give a shit about themselves. Part of seeing the big picture is accepting that not everybody deserves to be part of your life. That alone will give you the strength to cut them out of your life. Trust me, this is hugely liberating and is usually a catalyst for big things in your journey.
•LIVE YOUR PERFECT DAY
Take 10-15 minutes to stop and write down what your perfect day would look like. Now how about you go live your perfect day. Right now. You might not wake up tomorrow with a sea view. Make a million or travel the world but you sure as hell can make a start. If you don’t own the house you want, can you start saving for a deposit right now. If you don’t do a job you enjoy, start looking for a career you want. If you don’t spend much time with good friends, call them up right now and arrange a night together. Get the picture. Keep that list somewhere safe. Revisit it every now and then and keep working towards it.
No matter what it is, have fun. If it isn’t fun, no matter how much you know you should do something, you won’t. Simple. Unless you are being paid to train, hitting the gym means you sacrificing some of your own leisure time. If you are enjoying what you do when you get there, it’ll feel less like a sacrifice and more like a pleasure. At times you’ll probably have to suck it up and do some stuff you enjoy less but helps you get towards your goal. Keep an eye on the balance though. Training and nutrition can keep so subjective that I’m not going to stand here and tell you what you can and can’t do. Find something you enjoy and make it a part of your life often.
•GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
Give yourself permission to screw up and move on. Accept that there will be times when you run out of willpower and eat a krispie kreme. Days where you don’t have the energy to push a little harder and smile at everyone you meet. It’s ok. In the big picture, nobody gives a shit. You are what you do on average, not what you do occasionally. At any point, at any time, you can wipe the slate clean and get back on track.
There you go, 5 steps that make sure you keep an eye on the bigger picture. Take charge and see things differently.