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I received this newsletter the other day from him, as Im sure some of you did too. I love his message. Trying to eat healthy, and get in shape is a goal of mine for this New Year, and reading this gave me some extra motivation and understanding in order to do so:
"Probably by now, your New Year’s resolution isn’t working. In fact, usually most people gain weight when they diet because of moral reasoning. In other words, when they weigh in and weigh less, they celebrate by overeating. So by now, your diet or whatever promise you made to yourself is more out of control than when you made a promise to yourself to address the problem.
Besides moral reasoning, there is another reason why things are not working out with your New Year’s resolution. You had a problem—weight or smoking or stress—were upset about it, set your goal—to lose weight or to quit smoking to relieve tension – and then became less upset because you had a goal. In other words, you were tension relieving and not really goal obtaining; these are two different things. True discipline is what you need for obtaining of a goal, and discipline is more than setting that goal. Discipline is teaching your brain how to function differently; teaching discipline takes practice.
The front of your brain, the prefrontal cortex, functions like a muscle. When people have sustained injury to that area, they have started to make drastically different decisions; for example, they may have gained 70 or more pounds or they may have made inappropriate advances towards people they would have never made advances to, or they have very little or no control over certain impulses. In fact, that part of the brain biases the rest of the brain, helping it determine which thoughts and impulses to put into action or simply to let pass by. Therefore, the frontal cortex is a very important part of your gaining control of your decisions.
When we declare we are going to lose weight or are stopping a behavior without strengthening this mental muscle, the oversight is similar to running a marathon without training; simply because we declared we are going to run a marathon doesn’t ensure our completing it – not without strengthening our leg and abdominal muscles as well as our lungs so that we even can come close to achieving that task.
For example, Ray Buker, a sprinter in the Paris Olympics, a missionary and a doctor, met with people one morning who offered him coffee, but he declined. When asked if he liked coffee, he said, "I love coffee, but I have learned, if I don’t practice saying 'no' to myself in an area that is not important, I will not be able to say 'no' to myself later in an area that is much more important." The way to start a resolution is with practice or a workout, because attitude is not a gene; it is muscle. And our discipline attitude, therefore, is exactly that, a muscle.
The book "The Willpower Instinct" asks the participant to write out an "I Will ______, I Won’t ______, and I Want _______" every day. In other words, the participant is to write "I Will eat healthy, I Won’t grab junk food on my break, and I Want a healthy attractive body." Then, the book suggests going out into the public to practice healthy eating and walking by junk food. However, one must understand that, as with all other muscles, there is fatigue. Therefore, don’t practice when you are pushing the limits, or as AA says, when you are in HALT: hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
In Scotland, researchers examined a group who needed rehabilitation. On Monday the group wrote out what they wanted for the week; in other words, "I Want _________." Then, they wrote out all the challenges, considering the most painful situations possibly anticipated and developing a strategy for overcoming those obstacles beforehand. The group with the preconceived strategy rose from bed three times faster and walked twice as fast as another group that did not have a strategy. Whatever you want, write out once a week: "I want __________"; then, write out what can derail you before it happens and how you will address the situation if it does occur.
This concept of preparation is vital. Specifically, the biblical story of the wise and foolish bridemaids depicts the importance of preparation. The wise bridesmaids retrieved oil to trim their lamps in preparation for the arrival of the bridegroom, but the foolish ones did not; when the bridegroom arrived, the foolish ones asked the wise ones to share some oil, but the wise ones said, "No." This parable teaches that some things, such as preparation, cannot be shared.
To succeed takes preparation. You must plan "this is what I want, and when the challenges come, this is what I will do, and this is what I won’t do." In other words, true discipline takes preparation; the end result (the goal, the resolution) takes knowing you will be uncomfortable, but it will not be as uncomfortable as regret.
A man at the end of his life sent for his friend to come be with him. After arriving, his friend asked, "Are you okay?" The man answered, "Yes, I patched my roof when it was warm outside; I got ready for this event long before this moment." In other words, prepare for moments; stay focused on what you really want. How do you get to Carnegie Hall or anywhere else of importance? Practice, Practice, Practice."
Awesome. Thanks for posting.
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