Monday, June 21, 2010

Subconscious Commitments Trump Conscious Commitments

Last week, I blogged on the topic of how your subconscious thoughts can sabotage your intentions to apply my Food Rules (or any diet or exercise training program). I distilled it down to intellectual thoughts versus emotional thoughts. Essentially, learning to address situations where you may be apt to give into emotional eating and intervening with a mantra to help you ignore the triggers of emotional thoughts. HTS alumni, Julie added some excellent points.

"When a person sabotages his intended goal, it is often because there is an underlying commitment to something else. To use the goal of improved diet as an example…Someone may verbalize his nutritional goal and take some actions at achieving it. Nonetheless, if he self-sabotages by eating an order of supersized French Fries, he needs to stop and evaluate his true commitment. Is he committed to the purported goal of a healthy diet? Or is he committed to something else…a need to feel like a failure, fear of achievement, a belief that he is not good enough, or the need to feel badly about himself? The subconscious mind takes underlying commitments seriously. If someone has negative beliefs about himself, those beliefs/commitments will override intended goals. Without addressing those core commitments, we often find ourselves on roller-coasters of success/failure----whether we are talking about health, relationships, employment. Negative underlying commitments must be acknowledged and let go before we can truly fly in any aspect of our lives."

Great information, Julie! So, essentially your subconscious 'commitments' trump any conscious 'commitments' that you attempt (starting a diet or exercise training program). That is, psychological/emotional issues (such as lack of self esteem, fear of failing, etc.) are always going to limit what you can accomplish consciously, no matter how much you try consciously. These underlying issues must be addressed for any diet or exercise training program to be successful.

I am getting better and better at identifying these underlying/subconscious issues in clients. I feel that these issues need to be continually addressed for any training program to be successful. Often clients will place the blame on something or someone else when they fail. Yet, they will continually be seeking new and different ways to consciously 'fix' the issue. They may start a new diet every two weeks, only to fail to commit to one for even one week. They may blame a "crazy week" for not working out at all. In reality, if it was important several, lesser important activities (watching television) would have been skipped.

While I tried to simplify this psychological issue with my last post to help clients easily apply my advice, I admit there is much more to it. It is amazing how much our thoughts affect our behaviors, which affect our habits, which affect our lifestyles. Even elite-level athletes turn to sport psychologists for help. As Dr. Tom Amberry said, "We are more limited by our beliefs than our ability. The obstacles to success exist more in your mind than in the physical world." He would know best. He did something that Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, nor any other basketball player ever did. He made 2750 basketball free throws in a row without missing. He only stopped at that number because the gym was, after 12 hours, closing for the night! Now that is one remarkable 'subconscious commitment'.

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