Tag Archives: weight loss

Pleasure with Pain

If you break motivation down into it’s simplest form, we are motivated to either seek pleasure or avoid pain.  Now I know many of you are rejecting that, saying that you are much more complex than that but stick with me for a minute.  Pleasure can include everything from a taste of a delicious juicy hamburger with tempura fried bacon on it (yes, tempura fried bacon exists, I’ve had it and I’m obsessed) to love.  Pleasure includes security and peace.  Pleasure can also include spirituality.  Pain on the other hand isn’t just limited to physical pain.  It can include fear, embarrassment, social rejection, insecurity, hungry, loneliness, etc.  The list can go on quite a while.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t so simple as that.  How do you stack up pleasure that will happen six months from now vs. pain happening today, for example dieting and exercising for six months so that you can look good for the upcoming high school reunion?  How do trade off one pain vs. another, for example my back hurts right now and I know 30 minutes of stretching will help…..but I don’t really like the stretching either?  How do you exchange one pleasure for one pain, for example spending on a big celebration when money is tight?

It is ok to allow our subconsciousness to handle these decisions of which pleasure to seek and which pain to avoid as long as we are ok with the outcomes.  Really, your subconscious is making hundreds of decisions a day and you don’t want to get stuck in trying to analyze each and everyone.  When you are not happy with your situation, whether it be financial, relationship, health, etc., stop and consider which decisions are leading you in the wrong direction and why you are making that decision.  It might be helpful to try to frame those decisions in a trade off between pleasures and pain.  You might have to ask yourself “why” a few times because most people are slow to admit what is really going on in their decision making.  Once you understand the tradeoffs, then work to enhance different pleasures, minimize different pains and (frequently) work to pull future pleasure into the moment.

Examples help.  I was telling the truth, my back is killing me right now.  It is a chronic issue that comes back a few times a year.  This one is as bad as it has gotten in probably the last five years.  Nothing to do but stretches.  My wife has a yoga video that does wonders for my back…….but I really don’t enjoy it.  So I have a literal pain, my back.  Seems like I should be able to jump up and fire up that video.  Why aren’t I?  Well, I know from experience the yoga tape won’t make my back feel better right away.  So the pain avoidance isn’t really an immediate pay off.  I find yoga to be pretty boring.  I know my yoga loving friends tell me I’m not doing it right if I’m not loving it but I don’t love it.  There is a certain level of mental pain that comes along with doing yoga for me.

So how do I motivate myself to go do those stretches, well in this case I brought in another pain, social embarrassment.  By writing and posting this, I sort of have to go do the yoga.  If I don’t, I’ll be a bit embarrassed that I let my laziness and procrastination let me sit here in pain.  Alright.  I’m going to go do some downward dogs.

Comment if you need some help affecting change.  Please share.  Imagine the pleasure you’ll get if this helps someone you know.

“Just stop,” the most useless advice

Ever try to break a habit?  It isn’t as easy as simply not doing the habit.  It is incredibly difficult to “just stop” but why is that?  Habits are actually hardwired into our brains.  According to Ann Graybiel and Kyle Smith in Good Habits, Bad Habits explain how the brain builds a closed loop.  Simply choosing to NOT do the task is actually you working against your brain.  Even motivation isn’t that helpful.

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To stop doing a habit, it is important to understand the environmental triggers and create work arounds.  First, try to minimize triggers.  Second, start with the easier to eliminate habits first.  Third, build strategies to distract yourself.  Even making a habit 20 seconds harder to do can make a big difference.  Fourth, measure your actions and the results.  Fifth, be realistic.  It probably took you years to build a habit.  It will take time to eliminate it.  You will have setbacks.  That’s ok.  Just restart the process and keep moving forward.

Just a little

Have you ever known the person who suddenly becomes a vegan, starts spending hours in a gym despite never being away from the couch for more than twenty minutes and loses twenty pounds in a month?  They look great.  They feel great and other than an annoying habit of talking about animal rights while you’re trying to enjoy a bacon double cheese burger, they seem incredibly happy.  A few weeks later, their running shoes are collecting dust, they gained back all of the weight and they are eyeing your bacon double cheese burger.

When you are looking to make a change, the most important thing to consider is how sustainable that change is.  Think of it this way.  If you are trying to save money, if you start putting away $1 a day, you are probably not going to notice it but after a year you will have saved $365.  Now if you go super aggressive and decide to suddenly start putting away $50 a week, you will notice it.  But if you are only able to keep it up for a month, you have only put away $200 dollars.  The little amount that you can keep doing makes a greater change than the a massive change you can’t sustain.

When you making a change in your life, start small.  So small that it is easily sustainable and repeatable.  Make it easy to do, so easy that you will barely notice.  Once you have secured that change, you can make the change even a little larger.  Not much.  Over time, these little changes will add up to significant changes over time.

What is the least that you can do?

I mean it.  If you are feeling stuck.  If you are unhappy with where you are and it seems like you can never get ahead, ask yourself, “what is the least I could do right now to improve things?”   What is the easiest thing you could do right now to move just a couple of inches in the right direction?  There are tons of things you can do.  Don’t worry about all of them.  Don’t worry about which of them are more important.  Don’t worry about which one of them you SHOULD do.  Just focus on which thing you could do right now that would require the least amount of energy and you will put up the least amount of resistance.

Improving your life, especially if you are feeling stuck, isn’t about doing one or two grand things.  It is about doing a lot of little things everyday.  It is about doing what you can do right now instead of focusing on what you are not doing.

Free book for New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve made my book Greater Than available for free on Amazon for a limited time.  While Greater Than is a made for anyone seeking to achieve more in their life, it is very relevant for someone trying to make and keep resolutions.

This free offer is only available for a few days, so please take advantage of it.  Do you know someone who needs a little help with getting started?  Share Greater Than with them, especially now that it is free.  We could all use some help some times.

Don’t be one of the 92%

The University of Scranton teamed with the Journal of Clinical Psychology and reviewed New Year’s Resolutions (See summary here).  Only 8% of the population succeeded at their prior year’s New Year’s Resolutions.  25% of people drop their New Year’s Resolution by the end of the first week.  A third of people drop their resolution by the end of the first month.

There are a number of factors influencing resolution success.  A very typical issue is that people tend to NOT plan out how they are going to actually achieve their resolution.  The most common resolution is losing weight.  Losing weight comes down to three factors; eating fewer calories, eating healthier and moving more.  To be successful at achieving a weight loss resolution, a person needs to plan out how are they going to track and reduce calories, how are they going to ensure they eat more and how are they going to move more.  While it is ok for the goal to be a little lose, the more specific a person is on how he/she will accomplish the actions that lead to achieving the goal, the more likely he/she will lose the weight.

Be very specific on your action plans.  Ask yourself the five “W” and an “H” questions.  What are you going to do?  Why are you doing this action?  When will you do it?  Where will you do it?  Who are you going to do it with?  Finally, How are you going to do it?  Once you have these questions all laid out, put your action plans in your calendar and set reminders on your phone.  Look over your plan.  Are their any obstacles to accomplishing the plan as you laid out?  Address them now.  If you say you are going to go to the gym at 6 am every morning but your schedule has you getting to bed at 2 am, your plan probably isn’t going to work for long.  You are better off addressing these issues before you even start.

I’ve recently published a book Greater Than that is very appropriate for achieving New Year’s Resolutions.   Greater Than is the first in the series The Little Book Series for Big Success.  Each book in this series is meant to be read in under an hour and is constructed in a way where you can start applying its techniques immediately.  Greater Than give thirteen different tools, techniques and strategies that will help you reach your resolution goals.

Please like or share if you know someone who needs a little help with their resolutions.  We all could use a little help once in awhile.

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