Why I Am Making Spartan Lifestyle Choices
As a Certified Master Coach I have a certain level of expertise when it comes to understanding and modifying human behavior patterns. For the most part, the limitations and roadblocks that people encounter in achieving their goals and objectives are self-imposed. The role of a great coach is to help the client get our of their own way so that they can easily and naturally do the things they really want to do. We do this by having the client look carefully at the belief systems from which they operate on a daily basis. And the best way to get to the core of those beliefs is to have the client listen carefully to their own self-talk.
As you may know, I have recently made a choice to increase my fitness level and decrease my body mass and body fat percentage. I am using all of my skills and expertise to ensure that this choice becomes a reality for me in a fast and efficient manner.
This week, (the first week of my program) I paid very close attention the self-talk that was coming up around my lifestyle choices. I found that I was really embracing the exercise components of my plan, but I was having some difficulty around food choices. I was eating well, but not consistently. Towards the end of the week, I found myself making some “bad” choices when it came to snacks. As I tuned in to the self-talk around these choices, here is what I heard:
“Yummm! I’m going to have some of this – just as a treat.”
“That’s a bad idea and it’s out of line with my goals.”
“Yeah, I only live once. Do I want to live a spartan lifestyle, or do I want to enjoy myself? I deserve this little treat.”
WOW! Those are a lot of unconscious beliefs at work there! Let’s take a look:
- First, you can see that my Power of Mortality™ mindset is working against me with the excuse that I deserve a treat because I only live once and I could die at any moment. That’s an absolutely silly excuse now that I’m aware of it!
- Second, I am equating sticking to my plan as living a “spartan lifestyle”. How likely am I to stick with something like that?
- Third, I am further equating this to a lack of enjoyment and self-deprivation. I’ve even gone so far as to make it an either/or situation – “spartan lifestyle” or “enjoy myself”. Hmmmmm.. no wonder I’ve struggled with this in the past.
I recently wrote about the fact that nothing has any meaning except for the meaning we give it. I said: “Once we realize that we have complete control over the meanings we assign to things, we gain a tremendous amount of power.” Here’s how I shifted my meaning in this situation.
I zeroed in on my phrase “Do I want to live a spartan lifestyle, or do I want to enjoy myself?”. As I heard the words “spartan lifestyle” I was able to instantly shift the meaning. When I heard the word “spartan”, I thought of the movie “300” which was an incredibly violent and gory movie full of guys with fantastic abdominal muscles. (I choose to believe that these were computer generated abs courtesy of Pixar Studios!)
That one shift has made all the difference! Now, when I hear my self-talk whining about not being able to eat something, and I hear “do I want to live a spartan lifestyle?” I think of those guys and their abs and I answer: “Hell yes, I want to live a lifestyle like that!” (The great abs part of the lifestyle – not the death, violence and gore part.)
Then I visualize the negative and limiting self-talk as the messenger in the movie who is standing at the edge of the well and I kick him backwards into the abyss!
I imagine myself as the main character in the movie, standing there with rippling abs and armed with a celery stick, ready to take on thousands of invading chocolate bars or cookies! This a completely silly and ridiculous way of thinking and that’s precicely why it works for me. I find it fun and easy to do!
And more importantly, it breaks the pattern in my head about what my healthy choices mean (lack of enjoyment and self-depravation) and helps install new, supportive meanings and beliefs.
So this week, I encourage you to consciously tune in to your own self-talk and be on the lookout for limiting beliefs that might be working against your goals and objectives. If you need help… I’ll be over here eating celery and doing situps!