Sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair. You got yourself going on a great fitness and nutrition regime that is working for you and then CHANGE happens! Darn it! What you are doing doesn’t seem to work anymore.
Or maybe you hired a personal trainer to design a fitness program for you. But in your first meeting, your trainer talks about the importance of monitoring what is working (or not) and switching things up as you go. Your trainer also explains that your body will adapt to your efforts so it will be important to progress exercises as that happens. Wait a minute – you mean I can’t just stick to one thing?
The fitness journey is NEVER a linear process. Your body and its response to your efforts will inevitably change. Life circumstances will shift, making your nutrition and fitness routine obsolete. You may even change – your priorities and what is important to you can evolve over time.
What’s a person to do? How is someone ever to be successful in fitness?
You can dig in and hide, or you can learn to ride the cycle of change. I really loved what John Berardi from Precision Nutrition wrote in a recent article. He talked about the change process, specifically how our resistance to change is an essential element of growth and progress. He opened my eyes. I always thought resistance to change was a “bad” thing and it made changing more difficult.
Ends up the difficult part of change is understanding your type of resistance. Armed with that understanding, your chances of successful change are enhanced. I have included below an excerpt from his article. Give it a read.
We’re all resistant to change
So what’s your resistance type?
By John Berardi, Ph.D.
Change is going to happen, whether we like it or not
Whether it’s small (like eating a better breakfast) or bigger (like making different life choices), change is a journey. And it’s a force to be reckoned with.
Regardless of how you feel about it, change is going to happen.
Sometimes, we’re fortunate: Change happens on our terms. When we’re ready.We call this growth; it’s a natural byproduct of our new wants and needs.
Other times, we’re forced to change. An unexpected incident or situation. Illness. Injury. A life crisis. Hell no, we don’t want to grow. But the universe forces us to.
Change can even come from things we think are good. Like forward progress; what next? What will life look like? Who will I be after I graduate? Take that new job? Move to Oklahoma?
The emotions of change
No matter the source, no matter the situation, when we think about change we often feel strong emotions.
Take me, for instance. I’m often surprised at my feelings toward change. Specifically, I’m surprised at what makes me resist change.
Think about your own life.
Have you met some situations with a “knee-jerk” resistance? Of course. We all do that.
It may range from “This feels uncomfortable” to “Oh hell no!” And we often think this resistance means we’re not ready.
But that’s not true. In fact, resistance is essential.
Just keep this in mind. Resistance in and of itself isn’t bad. In fact, it’s essential. Integral to the change process.
It’s completely normal. Even if we want to change.
What’s important is that you understand your resistance and embrace it.
So, what’s your resistance type?
Resistance is a powerful force for growth because it forces us to have a dialogue with ourselves.
If you learn your unique “resistance type”, you can learn your own patterns of growth.
You can recognize when you are beginning to grow and develop. Even if in the initial moments change feels uncomfortable.
Here are four common “resistance types” and some simple strategies for embracing the resistance.
Type 1: The Reluctant
Perhaps you fear change. Or don’t know how to change. Maybe you’re just not (yet) willing to leave your comfort zone.
Frankly, you’re not even sure why you should change. Change doesn’t look very compelling to you right now.
Plus, you feel like the status quo is working. You’re emotionally invested in your current habits.
Still…you wonder. What’s over the wall?
If this is you:
Remember that YOU are in control of how fast change comes, if you want it to come at all. YOU get to choose what, if any possibilities are explored.
- How would I like to be different?
- If you could wave a magic wand and change my situation or body instantly, what would it look like?
Type 2: The Rebel
Unlike The Reluctant, who may not be aware, you know you need to change.
But you’ve invested too much to turn back now. (Or have you?)
Rebels like to call the shots. They don’t like being told what to do.
They argue, sometimes. Even with themselves. They can come up with a million reasons why they will not change.
Secretly, though, rebels might fear failing. Or they might just be strongly invested in the status quo.
Somehow, same-old-same-old benefits them, even if it sucks sometimes.
If this is you:
Make small changes. Practice them daily.
Help yourself feel secure as you change. Set things up so you can’t fail… at least not until you feel ready to deal with it (and feel comfortable with failure as a necessary part of growth). The smaller the change, the greater your chance of success!
- What worries you about your current situation, nutrition/fitness habits, or body?
- How important is this to you?
Type 3: The Resigned
One word describes you: overwhelmed.
You feel it’s too late to change. You’ve come too far. The pile of junk is too big.
You might have tried to change many times before.
Maybe you’ve gone on every diet ever invented, or tried a hundred workout programs. You rarely met your own expectations.
Now, you feel hopeless. Change doesn’t seem possible for you.
After all, you’ve tried to change before, right? Ignoring the fact that you kept trying, which demonstrates great courage and fortitude, you look at your former change attempts as “proof” that change will never work.
If this is you:
Understand that progress is never linear. Going backwards is normal. It happens to everyone. Turn around as soon as possible, and go forwards again.
Track your progress in terms of how many times you got back up instead of how many times you fell down. Or how many times you simply didn’t fall down, even though the world was pushing you to tip over.
Sometimes, just standing there in the face of pressure to fall is a victory, even if you aren’t moving.
Try thinking more in terms of a continuum than all-or-nothing. Look for small, incremental changes.
Look at lapses or regressions as temporary. And as opportunities to practice your skills.
- What personal strengths do you have that will help you to succeed?
- When I struggled or fell down, what did I learn?
- Never-mind the “how” for now. What do you want to happen?
Type 4: The Rationalizer
Ahh, the rationalizer. This person (or voice in your head) always wants to be heard.
They have many, many reasons why their way is the best, and why they are the exception!
Sure, maybe other people need to do X or Y, but not The Rationalizer!
Rationalizers consider themselves to be special and unique cases.
You can spot Rationalizers by their mating call: “Yes, but…” or “I know, I know, but…”
If this is you:
List all of your reasons and rationale for doing things.
Make sure you fully understand what is good and useful for you about your current strategies and the outcomes. (No, we aren’t being sarcastic. This is genuinely important. Every behavior has a reason to be there.)
Review the benefits of your current choices. Are all choices truly benefiting you? Could you take something that is already working and tweak it a bit to make it even more awesome?
- What do you think will happen if you don’t change anything?
- How do my current choices benefit me? What would happen if I were to tweak ________?
In the end, most of us are a mix of two or more “resistance types”.
So, if we want to make important changes in our lives, we need to discover our types and learn strategies for working with and through them.
But you don’t have to do it alone.
Know that all of us at Strand Fitness are here to help you adapt to the change that is inevitable in your fitness journey. To learn more about how we can help, visit our website or give me a call (630-653-8152).
To your health and fitness!