Wednesday, 2 April 2008

What are You Choosing?

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to say you’ll do something yet how difficult it can be to actually follow through with it?

For instance have you ever found yourself saying that you’d love to lose weight or get fit or change your dietary habits and yet almost immediately you drop back into your old patterns of behavior again?

It’s frustrating isn’t it?

I think that most of us can relate to the frustration of desiring certain outcomes in our lives and yet failing to achieve them, I mean, who hasn’t felt the disappointment of failure when circumstances conspire against us and knock us off track?

One of the main reasons that many people fail to achieve the things that they say are important to them is that they feel unworthy of their attainment. As strange as this may seem and in spite of the fact that most people would deny self-sabotage on their part, nevertheless it remains true that most, if not all failures are self-inflicted ‘wounds’.

If you’re a person that has built a belief system that puts the problem ‘out there’ then you’ll probably find yourself strongly disagreeing with the last paragraph. After all, if it wasn’t because of work, money, time, the kids, your hormones or [insert excuse here] then you’d have the figure you always wanted and the life you’ve always dreamed for yourself wouldn’t you? Or would you?

It’s really easy to absolve ourselves of the responsibility for our lives and blame external circumstances for our failings and yet when it all boils down there really is no question that it is us and us alone that bear the responsibility for creating and owning the lives and bodies that we desire.

Maybe you think it’s work, money, time or something else keeping you from achieving what you’ve always wanted to attain, yet in reality it is something entirely different that holds the key to your successes or failures in reaching your goals.

Our view of ourselves and how we interact with the world around us is merely a result of the programming that we have received all of our lives. Whether we believe that we are good, bad or mediocre at any task that confronts us is a direct result of this programming and results in the most powerful of all forces available to us; our self concept.

The self-concept has been described as ‘The Master Programme’ of all human behaviour, and rightly so. So powerful is this aspect of our mental programming that the very way that we see the world, ourselves and the actions of others is quite literally filtered through its three-tiered filtration system.

The first tier, the self-ideal, refers to the standards that we have set for ourselves. We all have some idea about how we should look, how much we should weigh, how we should walk, talk, act and behave yet how many of us can state clearly what those ideals are?

Lack of specific focus and clarity in defining who we want to be lies at the heart of failure to achieve happiness with ourselves. You could liken it to setting out on a journey without having a destination, how would you ever know if you’ve arrived? By what standard would you judge your progress?

Those who are positive about their appearance and abilities in life have very definite ideals that they estimate their progress by. If they’re behind schedule they simply put in more work until they’re back on track.

What’s your self-ideal? If you don’t know then it’s time to think about it…Now!

• What does the ideal you look like?
• What does the ideal you weigh?
• How does the ideal you behave?
• How does the ideal you communicate?
• Who does the ideal you associate with?
• What does the ideal you think about?

Fill in as many blanks as you can. Create the best definition of your ideal you as you can. Then and only then will you ever get close to attaining it.

The second tier of your self-concept is known as your self-image. This is how you actually see yourself right now. If you see yourself as fat, unfit, ugly or in any other negative way then you will filter your life in order to show you evidence of what you believe. Every time you see yourself in the mirror you will see only these negative aspects of yourself.

Yet, despite the often vicious and unforgiving aspects of our inner-critic, it’s a relatively simple process to counteract its negativity. Just taking time out to logically question the validity of the criticisms offered often leads to an improved self-image.

For example;

• Has anyone ever complimented you on your appearance or ability?
• Are there areas of your life where your knowledge, skills and abilities are superior to those around you?

For most of us these questions, when answered honestly, will produce an affirmative response that can be used to build a foundation for other positive self-images. After all, if we’re positive and capable in only one area of our lives then we have a model of success to copy from into other aspects of our lives. All we have to do is figure out what makes us good in that area.

The answer will always include BELIEF.

The Third tier of our self-concept is self-esteem. This is how we feel about ourselves. How we estimate our value, if you will.

If you have a low self-esteem you will see yourself as being of both low intrinsic and extrinsic value to yourself and those around you. You will usually have a negative mindset where the ‘out there’ world is both better than you and conspiring against you at the same time. In short, you’ll blame your lack of success in your life, your diet and your fitness regime as being the result of others and ‘circumstances beyond your control’. After all, it’s not your fault that you don’t have enough money, time or energy to keep fit and stick to your diet is it? You’re trying your best aren’t you?

Yet honestly, do you really need lots of time or money to get fit, lose weight and develop the body and life that you’ve always wanted? If you valued yourself, you’d find a way even without these resources. Others have and so could you if you really wanted to.

Forget the justifications and rationalisations that you normally use to shift the responsibility that you have for your own life. They’re all nothing but excuses. All of them. Within you lies an unlimited source of power than can literally transform your appearance, abilities and very life if you only choose to tap into it.

The key is responsibility. The ability to choose the appropriate response to whatever life offers up to you. This starts within. You need to choose it. It doesn’t just happen.

What are you choosing for your life right now? Success and happiness or failure and desperation?

Choose well!

Dax Moy

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