“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”
– Henry Ford –
The dictionary definition of a belief is something you can trust, have faith and confidence in. You see what you believe; you don’t believe what you see. We see the world through our own filter. This filter has been constructed from our past experiences, good and bad. This means that many of the things we believe in or believe to be true may not actually be so. If you believe something and you experience it, you’ll always find evidence or ideas to support that belief, even if it’s not true. It could be a story. A story we’ve told ourselves repeatedly. This story could be positive and empowering but very often it’s negative and disempowering. It can often be destructive, demotivating, and demoralising.
In the context of health, fitness, and weight loss, I often hear extremely negative self-limiting beliefs. Here are some classic examples. “I can’t lose weight”. “I’ve got big bones”. “I’ve tried everything”. “It’s hereditary”. “I’ve got a slow metabolism”. “I’m no good”. “I don’t deserve it”. “I have never been slim” and many, many more. The truth is very often entirely different. In nearly all the clients I’ve worked with over the last 20 years, these beliefs were made up in their own heads and told with such frequency that they became real.
“I’ve tried everything”.
Well, you haven’t tried everything because if you had, you would have lost weight. The truth is you’ve tried a few things and they didn’t work. Maybe you’ve tried many things and you quit before they worked, or maybe they were just stupid ideas in the first place. These failures have given you enough evidence to convince you this is true.
“I told you so” becomes the attitude. The self-limiting belief quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You get exactly what you expect. This vicious cycle continues with no hope of you breaking out of the cycle. Your experiences, beliefs, and life have literally programmed you.
How do we change these beliefs? You need a new programme. Jim Rohn said, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. Your environment and the people in that environment shape and mould you. You become like these people. Your parents and your childhood. Your schooling and your peers. Every person you’ve ever met and every single interaction, good or bad, has brought you to where you are today, right now.
If you’re trying to lose weight and your family and friends like to eat and drink a lot, you’ll find it quite hard to shake that influence. On the flip side, if you spend time with people that support your goals; who eat healthily, your chances increase significantly in achieving those goals. You might be thinking, “Oh, I need to ditch all my fat friends”. No, I’m not saying that. I am saying limit your exposure to them and increase the time you spend with people that are fit and healthy. This can make a huge difference. Read books on health and fitness. Influences and mentors are not limited to people you know in person. There is an inexhaustible supply of books available to you in bookshops and online. Use these resources. Soak up the vast amount of information that someone else took years and maybe a lifetime to experience and put down on paper. It’s all there for you. Educate yourself. Be inspired by greatness.
Avoid Reading the Newspapers and Watching the News
Someone says, “I need to know what’s going on in the world!” Do you? Do you really? You need to know that a typhoon just wiped out 2,000 people in the Philippines? You need to know that an aircraft just crashed into the sea killing all 360 passengers and crew, many of whom were children. The truth is we DON’T need to know this, but we like it. It’s addictive. Newspapers are not designed to inform you. They’re designed to shock you and report the latest scandal or tragedy and as humans we lap it up. We can’t get enough of it. I counted the ratio of negative to positive stories in the first 20 pages of a well-known newspaper here in the UK. There was a 10:1 ratio in favour of doom and gloom. The truth is, all around us there are millions of great things that happen all the time, but it doesn’t grab your attention. It doesn’t pull you in and shock you.
A Monk & A Ferrari
Six years ago, I picked up a book from my bookcase called ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. I’d previously read the book in 1997, but like many books back in my early 20s, I discarded it and took nothing from it. Fast-forward to 2012, I reread the book and it was like the lights went on. You will have heard the phrase, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. Well, this student was more than ready to soak up everything he could get his hands on. I looked a little further into Robin Sharma on YouTube and found two videos that stood out to me. One was called ‘The 5am Club’ and the second one was ‘How To Journal’. These were separate videos but the two are inextricably linked.
Robin said, “All great performers, thought leaders, successful business owners, and entrepreneurs get up at 5am and work on themselves”.
Now, whether the 5am alarm clock is entirely true or not, is irrelevant. To be fair, it probably isn’t but what he was saying was that most successful people in all walks of life, get up early, plan the day and work on their own personal development by reading, watching, or listening to ideas and strategies to improve their life. Positive, uplifting, inspirational, and motivational words. Wisdom and thoughts from some of the great leaders of our civilisation. Past and present. Alive and dead.
That’s what I did for three straight months, missing only a few days. I got up at 5am every morning. I aimed to be in bed at 10pm. If I was late, I was still up at 5am. If it was midnight, I was up at 5am. On the weekends, I was up at 5am and would spend the three hours from 5am to 8am, reading, learning, listening, and improving myself. It wrecked my social life, but I was on a mission.
On only five hours sleep some days, I was extremely tired, but I just got up, despite my tiredness. I wore the lack of sleep like a badge of honour. Admittedly, there were times when I should have slept more but I was totally immersed in self-improvement and bettering myself like I never had before. I’ve never worked as hard and enjoyed the process as I did in these three months. I wrote in my journal all the things I was learning. I learnt how to write goals and why they’re so important. I learnt how to be grateful for the things I currently had, while still striving to improve other areas of my life.
It was during this time I learnt to not read the newspapers. For a whole year, I never looked at a newspaper for more than a quick glance. I will be honest. I missed it. I loved reading the newspaper and still do, but I avoided it and guess what? I still knew what was happening in the world. I was still informed enough but by limiting my exposure to all the negativity, my outlook in life changed tremendously. This has been a very long-winded way of saying that the only reason you’re reading this book is because I worked on myself. I was exposed to greatness daily. I listened and learned. Amazing people inspired me. I believed writing a book was possible. I saw evidence of people with far less than I have achieving incredible things. People with less education, money, and resources achieving unbelievable success, and I thought if they can, why not me?
I chose not to believe the stories in my head. Stories like “who am I to think I can write a book? Why would anyone read my book? Only famous people write good books. Am I good enough? Can I even write a book?”
All self-limiting beliefs and bullshit stories. Working on my own personal development enabled me to realize that you can pretty much do anything you set as a goal, if you work towards it every day and believe you can do it. I’m trying to suggest that by exposing yourself to the right information, ideas, and surrounding yourself with the right people, you CAN change your current negative beliefs into beliefs that will enable you to achieve incredible results in any area of your life, including weight loss.
Look at some of your own self-limiting beliefs regarding weight loss right now. We all have them. I know you have them too. Below write down three self-limiting beliefs about why you can’t lose weight. This can be tough if you’ve never consciously thought about these, never mind written them down.
Here are a couple of mine to get you started.
1. I can’t write a book. I don’t have the skills or the knowledge to write a book.
2. People will think I’m stupid, have a disability and think that I’m not attractive when they know I wear hearing aids.
Both complete rubbish. That I do know. In fact, I always knew it deep down, but it didn’t stop me playing the story over and over in my head for years. OK, now it’s your turn. Don’t be shy. The first step to mastery is admitting weakness. There is strength in vulnerability.
Go ahead and write down 3 self-limiting beliefs about your weight loss and health.
Stop Making Excuses.
I’ve tried everything. I just can’t lose weight. I’ve got big bones; we all have in my family. There is a history of depression in our family. I’ve got a slow metabolism. I have an under-active thyroid gland. I don’t like exercise. I bulk up too quickly. Whenever I do weight training, I put on too much muscle. I just want to tone up. I don’t want to get too big. I need carbohydrates. It’s the weekend and I’ve been good all week. Red wine is good for the heart. I need motivation. I just can’t stop myself. It’s not my fault. It’s my parents’/spouse’s/boss’ fault.
It’s Not My Fault!
That’s probably the biggest excuse known to man. It’s also the most disempowering. You must take responsibility for everything in your life whether it’s good or bad. You created it. You created it all. In one way or another, where you are in your life financially, emotionally, physically, mentally or in any other way you can possibly think of, it’s all down to you and the decisions you made.
I’m not saying you had it easy. Your life may have been tough. It may have been extremely violent or filled with abuse. I’m not judging you or anyone by trying to suggest that it’s easy. However, you do have a choice in how to react to these conditions. You have a choice to overcome those problems and difficulties, however wrong, disgusting, and diabolical they are/were. Or you can let them overcome you and rule your life.
Before you shout and scream at this page saying, “what the fuck do you know about a shitty life”, I will tell you right now. I know nothing about it. My childhood was great. I had a great family, good education in a great home environment with brilliant parents that loved and supported me throughout my formative and teenage years. I have nothing to complain about. If you compare my life to some people’s lives, you would know for sure that life isn’t fair. Yet, however awful your existence was, you have a choice in how you react to this right now. How do I know that to be true? Because the evidence is clear to me and to everyone that wants to find it. I can name countless successful people that had every reason to lose the plot. They had every reason to drop out of society and become an addict. Sex, booze or drugs, you choose your poison.
It all comes down to a decision that the individual makes. A decision that says I’m not going to allow external circumstances to determine my success. I’m not going to allow my upbringing and environment to shape how I live the rest of my life. These people decided that despite the odds stacked against them, they wouldn’t allow these circumstances to affect how they moved forward in their life. You can decide how to live your life, despite the things that took place before. You can decide if you want to be successful and you can decide if you’re going to allow all that shit to shape your future. It’s your choice. I know that’s hard to hear for some people. Some people have been blaming others their whole lives for why they can’t get it together.
“Everybody is self-made, but only the successful will admit it”. I love that quote and how true it is. We’re all self-made. We created what we have and where we are. You don’t like what you have and where you are? Then change it. I can tell you right now, no one else is going to change it for you. No one is coming to the rescue. No one is going to bail you out and make it all OK. Everyone else is far too busy focusing on his or her own shit. No one cares enough to make sure you’re OK. Of course, people care about you. I don’t mean that no one cares about you in the normal sense, as long as you’re safe and have enough to get by. People will help but when it comes down to it, as long as they and theirs are all good, that is their main concern. Not you. So, get over that fact. Stop telling yourself and everybody else that you can’t make anything from your life because of the bullshit story you keep telling yourself. The story going on in your head that stops you from taking action. The bullshit story that is on repeat, day after day, night after night, that keeps telling you that you’re not good enough.
You are good enough, despite the shit that’s happened to you. This stuff does not define you. It doesn’t have to create your reality moving forward. It happened. Now choose to move past that and get on with your life. Most people are constantly thinking about the past or worrying about the future. How about living in the present and focusing on the next 24 hours ahead of you? Stop thinking about what someone said or did to you, what someone didn’t say to you or how you were let down. Stop it. Look at your day ahead. How can you make this next 24 hours really count? How can you turn what you have into what you want?
Rather than looking at what you don’t have in your life, look at what you do have. Look at the skills you possess rather than the skills you don’t possess. What skills do you possess? Look at what you have and where you are. Don’t blame anyone or anything for what you don’t have. That’s the blame game. No one wins, and no one cares. Focus on where you want to go and make the best of what you have. If you have laser focus on where you’re heading; all the right people, money, and opportunities will show up when you need them. It’s just the way it is. The law of attraction is very real. Most people don’t understand this and consequently don’t make a start. They use every excuse under the sun about why it won’t work for them.
I think many people spend too much time working on improving the things they can’t do when they should spend their time improving what they’re already good at. Focus on your strengths. Don’t focus on your weaknesses. There are far too many people in the world that are great at what you suck at. Find those people to work on your weaknesses and spend your time doing the things you’re great at. The things that come naturally to you. You know what you’re great at, the things that come very easily.
What makes some succeed despite extreme adversity compared to others that lose their grip on life and succumb to the depths of despair? David Goggins is an ex Navy SEAL that overcame tremendous odds to achieve many great things. Here is a young boy that grew up in an abusive family. His father beat his mother and when he saw this happening, his dad beat him too. He was 7 years old when this first happened, and it went on for years. He lived in Indiana in a town that was a KKK stronghold with only a few other African-American families living there. He was called “nigger” every day at school with no protection from the teachers. He was abused physically and mentally every day for most of his childhood. His weight ballooned up to 297lbs at his heaviest. He was morbidly obese, emotionally damaged, working in a job he hated (killing rodents and cockroaches) and thought, “this is it, this is my life”.
He had every reason to do nothing and accept his fate. Most wouldn’t blame him if he did. But Goggins decided that his life wasn’t going to be one of mediocrity. He decided that he wanted more from his life. No one cared. No one helped him, and he realized that nobody was ever coming to the rescue. He was told that he needed to lose 100lbs in three months to become a Navy SEAL. He couldn’t run a single mile without gasping for breath. He went on to lose over 100lbs in three months. A few years later, he decided to enter a race. This wasn’t your average 5km park run on a Sunday morning. He decided he was going to run 100 miles in less than 24 hours. Ultra-marathons are a thing, and many compete in events like this every week all over the world. But for a guy who didn’t do any training, Goggins ran 100 miles in about 19 hours. Later he went on to compete in many other ultra-marathons and extreme endurance events, including breaking the world record for completing 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours. He did all of this despite shitty childhood circumstances and the fact that he used to weigh 297lbs. David Goggins should have been a statistic. He decided otherwise.
I could spend the next 20 pages of this book telling you about people that overcame extreme circumstances and have achieved greatness, but I won’t. There is no need. Wherever you are in your life, whatever has happened to you, you must realise that this doesn’t need to define you. You can still be successful and achieve what you want with your health, fitness, fat loss, and anything else in life that you put your mind to. You have the power to do this. You have the power right now to change your life in any way you want. All it takes is a decision. A snap of the fingers. A heartbeat. The choice is yours.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
With the world of social media dominating many people’s lives today it’s sometimes hard to not compare yourself to others. What you must realise is that the “one shot selfie” was taken 36 times and the “no make-up selfie” is still made up slightly. The “woke up looking like this selfie” is also a fake; just like the Breitling you bought in that Turkish souk last year on holiday.
We all want to look and feel good in life, I know that, but much of what we see these days just isn’t the truth. Even if it was true, comparing yourself to others is futile and will serve you no good. Assuming what you see is true, you have no idea where that person has come from, the work they have put in to achieve what they have achieved or the struggle they have in life. You have no idea where that person is in their journey of life so it’s silly to compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.
Focus on your own goals and your own life. Look in the mirror, that’s your competition. But I get it; you’ve got Facebook and Instagram showing you all day long these beautiful people having an amazing life. Ignore it. Focus on your own shit. It’s not real anyway. It’s a tiny snapshot of 1% of their life. If someone has a million pounds in the bank, they have million-pound problems. Everyone’s life is full of the same problems. We all have problems, rest assured. Concentrate on being the best YOU that you can be, in every area of your life that’s important to you.
“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself”.
– Bill Gates –
Like this article? This was chapter 16 of my book, “The GHG Method”.
I wrote the book back in 2019. Fancy picking up a copy? Click the link above and I will send you a signed copy, personally. My autograph could be worth a million dollars one day. Or not.
All the best.