I often hear people saying they want to get in shape for summer, for their upcoming wedding or to attract a mate. Unfortunately, these events are short-lived: weddings end, summers pass and people “let themselves go” once in a relationship.
It was cold tonight. I was so tired that I slept the entire time on my bus ride home. The thought of going to the gym was terribly unappealing and made me feel glum.
But I still went. I followed my plan.
The best way to get in shape for summer is the same way that keeps you in shape all of the time – stay fit and healthy and you won’t have to exercise and diet for an upcoming summer ever again.
Plenty of people talk about goals (and many more don’t), but few understand how the mind actually interprets the goals we give it.
In a nutshell, the mind doesn’t handle vagueness well. Tell it that your goal is to “lose weight” or “get more organised” and your mind will struggle to help you at all. On the other hand, if you build a clear, defined vision of what you want to achieve, your mind will work out ways to help you achieve your goals more easily.
Comfort zones are important – they let us know when things are safe, comfortable and predictable. This aspect of our psychology was especially important in the times of our distant ancestors – not staying safe could mean being injured or killed.
These days, the same level of danger doesn’t exist, yet the same circuity in your brain tells us to seek safety, comfort and predictability. It is the same circuitry that will work against you as you strive towards your new year’s resolutions (if you decided on some, that is).