Fitness columnist Emmet Rushe shares an interesting method to stay focused on goals in 2019.
At this time of year, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed.
As we move further into December, it is easy to feel as if time is the one thing you don’t have enough of and that can lead to negativity creeping into your thoughts.
With Christmas looming, work, family, busy lives and the silly season upon us, it may also feel as if you have no control over your time or your life.
But, the one thing that you do have control over is your mind and your thoughts.
What you tell yourself will have a huge impact on how your mood is and how your day and week goes.
In the book ‘The Chimp Paradox’ by Dr Steven Peters, he explains how you can tame your thoughts and take back control of your mind and your life.
He explains that we have 3 brains.
- The human brain that is rational and keeps things together.
- The chimp brain that is emotional, irrational, impulsive and paranoid.
- The computer brain that has pre-programmed thoughts and responses to certain situations.
This may sound rather strange, but it is how Dr Peters has helped many major athletes to improve at their sport and gain success.
This is how it works.
When you are having a conversation or are in a situation;
- The computer processes what is happening from previous life experiences.
- The chimp then reacts to the situation
- The human brain is left to deal with the consequences of what the chimp has done.
How does this affect you in your daily life?
Let’s say that you are in traffic at this time of year and you slow down or stop to let someone out ahead of you.
That person then drives out and doesn’t give you a kind gesture or acknowledge that you have just let them out.
- Your computer processes what has happened and due to previous experience decides that the person will acknowledge you for letting them out.
- Your chimp then takes over and gets emotional and angry and you start to rant and rave that the person hasn’t let you out etc.
- Your human brain is now left to deal with the mood you are in and still try to keep the rest of the day going on while you are still thinking about that person.
This is a simple situation, but it is one that can set you off in a bad mood that could last the rest of the day and spill over into your home that evening.
I know you have been here before.
So, what can you do to prevent this from happening?
Dr Peters calls it ‘Taming the Chimp’.
Your chimp brain only wants to protect you. It is not rational and only responds in emotional ways and with pre-programmed beliefs that you have built up over the years and that may not be true or relevant for you anymore.
To tame the chimp, we must take back control of the situation and teach the chimp the new habits that we want it to learn. That way when something happens you will be able to reason with the chimp and save yourself a bad day or week due to negative thoughts.
In order for this to happen you need to change the way that you talk to yourself.
We have pre-programmed expectations that we think must happen whenever we begin a task. When things don’t go the way we expect them to, we are allowing our chimps to run riot with our thoughts.
Let’s take how we are perceived due to social media for an example.
We say we SHOULD be slimmer, people SHOULD like us and we MUST be liked by everyone in order to fit into the narrative that we see every day on our mobile devices.
But these are unrealistic goals and any slip up will lead to disappointment and failure and cause us pain.
So instead of SHOULD AND MUST we can change these to COULD and MIGHT.
We say we COULD be slimmer, people COULD like us and we MIGHT be liked by everyone and if that doesn’t happen it isn’t a big of a deal as we might have thought.
Also, when you are setting out on a task or goal, don’t aim for a load of things at once. Instead break them down into order of importance and stick to one until you have completed it. Then you can move on to another.
The best way you can do this is to F.O.C.U.S.
The less tasks you have, the more likely you will succeed.
This is especially relevant with January on the way. We like to try and change EVERYTHING in our lives for our resolutions and are lucky to get to February with them. So maybe the best course of action is to pick one, like joining the Rushe Fitness Lean in 2019 program and let us guide you through the rest.
You also need to be grateful for what you have achieved in your journey so far.
It is very easy in an age of instant gratification to always look for the next thing and never appreciate what you have already achieved. This can lead to a feeling of needless disappointment.
Needless because you are already winning and have been winning on every step of your journey.
The feeling of disappointment is because you don’t appreciate what you have already won and the journey you have undertaken to achieve them.
We need to be more grateful for what we have already done.
So, by changing these things, how we talk to ourselves and reducing the number of tasks and goals we try to juggle, we are reducing the likelihood of our Chimp brain of getting frustrated, emotional and irrational.
You will also be able to respond better to a situation when it happens.
That driver you let out COULD have acknowledged that you let them out, but is it really that big of a deal that they didn’t?
Is it really that big to ruin the rest of your day?
No, it isn’t and only by assessing the situation and reacting in a reasonable way, will you teach your Chimp that some things aren’t worth getting emotional over.
The more that you do this, the more that you will be able to take back control of your thoughts.
Things are only as important as YOU want them to be.
We are in control of our lives and how we respond to every event and situation.
So, take control of your chimp and you will be able to deal with any negativity that comes your way and lead a happier life.
If you would like to get ahead of the January rush and the resolutions, we are taking bookings for our January classes that start on January 7th. We also have Gift Vouchers available in the gym.
You can find out all the information through the link below.