Did you know?…There’s a conspiracy to make you fail.
Well, really it’s a conspiracy to take your hard-earned money. And then set you up for failure. So they can take your money again later on something bigger, and better that’s going to stop you from failing again.
(There are a couple of ways to beat this conspiracy – which I’ll get to below.)
The conspiracy of January
And this conspiracy goes into a massive blitz in January. Every single year. And you might have fallen for it, once or twice.
If you have ever ended up with exercise equipment that became a clothes line. Or a juicer that’s now in storage. Or you’re an ex-member of a multi-level nutritional supplement company…you know what I mean.
Don’t get me wrong: all of this stuff is great.
If you’re still juicing. If you’re still working out on the home gym. Or if you’re consistently getting your morning protein.
But most of us just can’t do it. We can’t keep our January “resolutions” beyond the start of February. And it’s because of the conspiracy.
The conspiracy to barrage us with the idea that if we buy something – we can get either “get more” or “be better.”
Better abs. Better nutrition. Better relationships. More time. More energy. More savings. More productive.
It’s the same kind of thinking that has the rest of the country convinced that a better drug is going to lead to better health. And not just better revenues for the drug company.
How they make you fail
The secret of the conspiracy is to get you to believe that by having the right tool (The Gut Buster 3000) or the right environment (the heated pool at the gym) – then you’re going to magically overcome every reason why you haven’t achieved your resolution already.
They get you to agree with one fact, while forgetting another.
You agree, it’s true, you can tone your abs in just three minutes per day with the right equipment. But then you forget it can also happen with no equipment. Zero.
Just the floor and you.
And it can start December 1st just as easily as it can start January 1st. No Gut Buster necessary.
But, maybe you’re thinking – or you’ve thought at one time: If I get the Gut Buster 3000, then I’ve committed. I’ve told myself that my gut is going bye-bye. If I get the Gut Buster, then I know I’m serious.
Okay, you’re right about that. There is something to staking your claim. There is something important to saying “The time is now” – and proving it to yourself. (More on that later.)
But you can do it without necessarily buying anything….at least not until you’re ready.
First you have to overcome the false belief created by the conspiracy that you need to change something on the outside, rather than changing something on the inside.
So, how do you do this? How do you beat the conspiracy?
Here are a few strategies – and by the way, these aren’t the only “secrets” – but a few ways that might help you. Or maybe help you help someone else.
(We are all in this together.)
Three secrets to getting six pack abs (or your version of six pack abs)
1. Be honest about what you’re doing.
You’re not losing weight. You’re not creating a better relationship with your kids. Or learning a second language. Those are the results of what you’re actually doing.
What you’re actually doing is becoming a different person.
You are changing your own behavior. Something that very few people ever really attempt to do, unless serious circumstances force them to.
The weight doesn’t come off, and the relationships don’t get better, and you can’t speak a different language unless your brain and your behavior change.
Be honest – what you’re doing isn’t easy. But there are ways to make it easier.
2. Make new habits easy, and old habits hard.
The brain and behavior scientists say that right around 40% of our day, or greater, is just us doing what we do.
You have patterns of thoughts and ways of doing things that you don’t really have to think about. They just happen.
Turn the cold water on before the hot. Make coffee before you check your messages. Right leg into the pants before the left.
There are a lot of really easy habits you won’t have to change- but some you will.
And the people who sit around and study this stuff say the easiest way to create a new, good habit, is to break that new habit down into tiny, tiny habits.
Make a new, good habit, which seems hard, into a bunch of little habits – that seem easy.
So, for example, let’s say you wanted to eat less sugar. Your average resolution would be: “I’m going to eat less sugar in 2017!”
How do you turn the old habit of “eating sugar” into the new habit of “eat something healthier?”
In order to break the new habit, into a bunch of tiny, easy habits, you have to know a few things about the old habit…
Like how much sugar do you really eat? When do you normally eat sugar? Why do you normally eat sugar? Who do you normally eat sugar with? In what form?
Once you answer questions like these about sugar, you can make the big, scary “avoid sugar habit” into smaller, easier habits like:
- Storing all sugary snacks in a different area of the house (like in a Tupperware bin in the basement) – which makes the bad habit harder because it breaks that small “I’m just going to look in the cabinet” habit into “I’m going to trudge down stairs and pull that bin out because I’m that motivated to have sugar” habit.
- Adding more wholesome snacks to easy-to-access places…already opened (single serving packs) or cleaned (fruit)…like out on the counter, in a bowl, right below where you used to keep your sugary snack stash.
- Carrying a back-up “treat” when you’re offered dessert – like a package of dried fruit, or even a sugar-free lollipop, so you can do the physical action of moving your mouth and tasting something sweet, without feeling left out.
(No, sugar-free isn’t ideal, but if you’re pounding a bag of M&Ms every afternoon, it’s a step in the right direction.)
Slowly arranging your day differently to avoid that time and place where you cave into your sugar cravings.
For example, if you turn into a sugar starved Werewolf at 9 pm while watching Netflix, then your new tiny habit might be: having a piece of fruit after dinner, with a tall glass of water – or get in bed to read at 9 pm – or brewing a caffeine-free tea to sip on at 9 pm – or stretching your hamstrings in front of the TV, instead of sitting down.
3. Stake a claim on something you can measure.
The third conspiracy beating strategy is to stake a claim on something you can measure.
What does that mean?
So let’s say you want to run a 5K in the summer, but you can barely walk a mile.
One way to stake a claim, besides going out and buying the most expensive running suit, shoes, and hiring a running coach, is to create a reward (or punishment) for yourself….
For example, you take $100 (or even $500) and put it into jar held by a close friend. You give your friend instructions – “If I don’t walk 7 to 10 miles per week for the first four weeks of January, then you get to donate my money to a politician I don’t like.”
You can measure how much you are walking, and you can even give yourself a deadline to accomplish it. There is no fooling yourself.
You have staked your claim. And you can make it even more powerful by making it public. You can announce it on Facebook. Or email five friends.
“If I don’t walk at least x amount of miles in four weeks, then I’m giving money to so-and-so.”
The pressure is on.
Now, if you are successful, you can spend that money on new running shoes, or some other reward. Or keep it there for the next milestone, “If I don’t run 7 miles per week in February…”
Creating a risk or reward for a small, measurable habit – especially in public – is an alternative way of staking your claim than the one offered by the conspiracy.
They want you to purchase the $1,500 home gym in order to prove it to yourself that you’re serious.
All you really have to do is set a small measurable goal, and put a little bit of money on the line.
How to defeat the false beliefs of the conspiracy…
In order to avoid the trap of just buying something else, believing it’s going to make you a better person – why not start becoming a better person? By…
- Admitting you are in fact, trying to become a new person by changing your behavior.
- Changing your behavior by creating new, tiny, easier habits to replace the old habits.
- Staking a claim in your success by creating a reward and punishment for doing or not doing something you can measure.
You can get the $1,500 home gym, or the swanky gym membership, or the $300 juicer in the spring. For now, just work on changing one thing. One simple thing. And when that’s successful, use that success to propel you to the next positive change.
It may not give you six pack abs by spring break. But let’s be honest and admit that probably wasn’t going to happen anyway.