Is your subconscious getting in the way of your exercise program?

Values Conflict: The real reason you’re too busy to exercise.

You ever find yourself wanting to make a change, but life circumstances keep taking priority over your goals? You might want to exercise every night after work, but for some reason you just never make it to the gym because issues at home seem to arise the minute you lace up your sneakers. Or you keep saying you’re going to finish that book/online study program you’re dying to complete, but as soon as you sit down to focus on it, something else gets your attention. Yeah, you don’t mean to sabotage your goals (or your life) consciously, I know. The truth is, it’s not you, it’s your subconscious getting in the way.

The most common response we have whenever we betray ourselves (that is, we say we’re going to exercise but we wind up cleaning the kitchen instead) is to feel helpless (victim) to our circumstances and like there isn’t enough time in the day. Some of us might even beat ourselves up for “failing” to do what we said we would do. And with each failure, we feel farther and farther away from our desires.

A lot of people will tell you that you’re just making excuses. They’ll say you’re not too busy, you just need to make time. They’ll regurgitate this sentence: “We all have the same 24 hours in a day!” They take a righteous approach and it fails. The righteous approach is ineffective because it misses the real point!

What a great coach (assuming you have one) will do when they recognize this pattern in a client is have a conversation around the client’s VALUES, NOT TIME MANAGEMENT. Your goals, whatever they may be, need to be examined through the lens of context and ecology. This means you need to consider the greater impact and total cost of that goal before you can commit to it. How will losing 20 pounds impact your family life, your job, your social life, etc.? Do your goals conflict with your values? This is important because if going to the gym means you’re not going to be able to cook for your children, and your values dictate that your children deserve home cooked meals from scratch, then it doesn’t matter how badly you want to lose weight, you’ll skip the gym every time.

If your subconscious mind detects a conflict with your value system, it’ll sabotage your efforts no matter how important your goal is to you. The subconscious mind always wins (everything we do, and I do mean everything, originates from subconscious programming). You can’t fight it. Willpower has a lifespan of 20 minutes in the brain. You can’t force yourself to change. You have to find a way of reconciling your goals with your values. You have to convince your subconscious that the change you want to make isn’t going to threaten your beliefs or quality of life.

So you’re probably thinking, “How do I get there? How do I get subconscious buy-in?” The short answer is to be honest about your priorities and your values, and find a way to make your goals fit into them rather than the other way around.

NYC– Join me this June for a fitness retreat.

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