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Trying To Make Changes – Change In Perspective

The stories that we tell ourselves are very powerful. Through a change in perspective we can profoundly affect how we view ourselves and the goals that we want to accomplish.

As I was becoming a yoga teacher, there was a drastic change within me when I stopped saying “I want to be a yoga teacher” and started saying “I am a yoga teacher.”

Change In Perspective

In my late teens, I developed an addiction to cigarettes. Yes, JohnnyFit smoked a long time ago! It was the early 90s and I wanted to be a grungy rock star. I won’t get into why or what was going on with me at the time, but there was a two-year period in my life when I was a smoker.

Eventually, I decided that I didn’t enjoy having an addiction like that, and I realized that I didn’t want to be identified as a smoker. I was able to overcome this addiction by a sort of self-hypnosis. I picked a date that was about 6 months in the future. I chose my birthday, May 26th. Every time that I lit a cigarette, I repeated to myself the words “I am going to quit smoking on May 26th.”

After about 2 months of saying this to myself multiple times per day, I decided that I would have to go through the withdrawal whether I quit in the future or just quit now. At that moment, I threw my cigarettes away and quit cold turkey 4 months before my goal date.

There was nothing mystical or magical about the hypnosis. It was really all about what I was telling myself. It was important that I didn’t say “I’m trying to quit,” or “I want to quit.” I said “I am going to quit.”

I believe that this method also works with weight loss and any other goals that you set for yourself. Get rid of the word “trying” or “want,” and replace it with a definitive verb: “I am losing weight,” or “I am going to lose weight.”

In using the word “try,” you leave yourself an out. “Try” implies that you might not. “Try” is a temporary endeavor, whereas “I will” and “I am” take on a whole new meaning.

Will you complete what you started, or will you leave open the possibility of not doing what you say you will do?

Components of Success

I really believe that no matter the type of changes you’re looking for in life, your whole motivation surrounding it can change depending on the language you use.

You might want:

  • to lose weight,
  • to find a better job,
  • to get super fit,
  • to be a better person,

and it all starts with what you tell yourself… “I will,” or “I am.”

#1 Commitment

Decide what you want and write it down. Use clear and affirming language. A big part of your motivation has to come from within you. Understand that if you’re not willing to say “I will” and “I am,” then you might not be fully ready for the changes you seek. Start using those words regardless. Those words are powerful and over time will help you find the right mental place.

#2 Competence

Study and learn about the goals you want to meet. If you want to lose weight, then read about different diets from qualified sources. If you want to be really fit, then study different exercise protocols so that you don’t injure yourself. If you want to change careers, then learn everything that you can about your desired profession.

Be careful of using excuses such as a lack of traditional education or money. In this day and age, everything that you need to know can be found for free on the internet. Many people waste a lot of time on useless activities like watching mindless TV and other activities that don’t contribute to their goals. This time can be redirected to learning about new things that will help you on your path.

Work every day to develop the skills that you need. Always move forward!

#3 Structure

Create systems for yourself that contribute to your success. Are you too tired to work out when you get home after work? Find a way to work out before work, or work out during your lunch time.

The reason there are hundreds of different diets is because there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Find one that appeals to you, and stick with it. Keep a food journal, and make lists of recipes that you enjoy and which fit your nutrition plan. You will need to make tweaks to it along the way, but having a framework is critical to maintaining your system.

Get organized! Get your thoughts together, get your skills together, get your sh!t together! Fantastically great things don’t generally fall into your lap, so if you want your life to be a certain way, then get it all together.

Will you get there, or are you going to just keep on “trying?”

4 thoughts on “Trying To Make Changes – Change In Perspective”

  1. Great article John…Chad & I both quit 9 years ago (Jan 24th) using the same method… I will lose 60 pounds this year doing that exact same method
    ..I will….I am!

  2. Sandra Goldstein

    Great article that reflects how important mind over matter really is. You can do anything that you make up your mind that you want to do. It’s all in how you present it to yourself. If you take things on with a positive outlook then you are more likely to follow through with them. If you give yourself reasons to hesitate then you will. Writing down your goals and using words that a definitive will help you get started out on the right path. I often refer to a saying that I heard in the movie Star Wars. Yoda tells Luke “No. Try Not. Do or Do not, there is no try.” I use that to remind myself that I can do what I am trying to do no matter how hard it is.

    1. Thanks Sandra, I love that line from Star Wars!

      I saw Michael Pollan speak at the University of Portland a couple of years ago, and he was talking about the difference and subtlety of language. In his example, he was talking about how Americans and French ask each other if they are done eating.

      Americans ask “Are you full?”

      The equivalent French translation asks “Have you had enough?”

      Two questions that seem to be asking the same thing, but if you wrap your mind around it, “full”, and “enough”, can have two different implications.

      Language is powerful!

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