“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.” ~Steven Pressfield
Do you food or fitness journal? Maybe just keep a regular journal, or even a notebook where you record random & various thoughts?
If you don’t, it’s a good idea to start. There are any number of reasons why journaling is an awesome tool for feeling accountable to yourself, or to keep record of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and where you’d like to go, but I’m not really trying to talk you into keeping a journal. I just want to share how you can make the experience better.
I journal pretty often. Most of my current journal is filled with workouts & rough word-sketches of longer pieces I’d like to write, but I also keep track of certain progressions & digressions.
Right now it seems like whenever I progress in one area, I digress with mirror-like accuracy in another. Noticing this pattern might be difficult if I didn’t journal, but I’m sure we’re all aware of a similar phenomenon in our own lives, journal or not.
When I go back through my journal, I notice another trend, one that disturbs me . . . I like to draw smiley faces near my progressions & accomplishments, and frowning faces near the other ones. Also, my handwriting seems to follow . . . nice & somewhat neat for positive entries, and unintelligibly sloppy for the negative ones.
There’s no law in nature that states that we EVER need to be set in our ways, but there are patterns we fall into, and when we reinforce those patterns, we repeat the same behavior.
If you do journal, try this . . . go back through and find some negative entries, or a digression in training or diet. Once you find it, draw something positive, a smiley face, a heart, a flower . . . it doesn’t matter how foolish it seems or feels, it doesn’t matter of you can’t draw very well . . . what we need is a sign, some little token of reinforcement to remind us that whatever it was isn’t or doesn’t have to be that bad.
Maybe you had a few drinks after you wrote that you didn’t want to . . . but you were out with friends, and well, life happened. Maybe you stopped for donuts . . . maybe you skipped a workout . . . maybe you, only you know. Mark it with a symbol contrary to how you felt when you wrote it. Does that begin to change anything?
Sometimes those little symbols don’t help in & of themselves, but maybe they encourage you to rethink your acceptance or belief about what you wrote. Maybe that drink (or drinks) got you & your friend talking about something on a deeper level. Maybe having the drink reminded you that you really do want to stop drinking, and certain situations aren’t ideal for your particular growth.
Even if you don’t journal, try it on a scrap piece of paper. Write down something that bothers you, then decorate it with positive artwork. You can clip pictures from a magazine if you want . . . just change the nature of your belief, and you’ll find that changing the underlying behavior is much easier, much more accessible.
The trick isn’t in the ornamentation, this method works when we use the practice to rethink our beliefs. Our easiest beliefs happen when they align with the expectations of others, but the magic happens when we take control of our beliefs and define our actions & experiences according to our individual & specific needs.
“Get stronger by any means necessary.” That doesn’t just apply to physical strength, we need to strengthen our thoughts about ourselves & about the world if we’re going to be as strong as we need to be.
Yours in Strength,