Our education system leaves little room to fully understand what makes us tick and generally we have to learn the hard way and have tears on the run. This in some way is not a bad thing as it enables us to learn from our mistakes and realign our approach to life.
I want to talk about how you can start to understand an important part of you that is called YOUR SELF CONCEPT. Your self concept is deeply rooted in your subconscious or as I prefer to call it your non conscious as there is nothing sub about this marvellous part of the human being. It is just not understood in a practical manner, although Jung the eminent psychiatrist produced excellent work on ‘The Collective Unconscious’ We all have a Self Concept and a Self Image. From an early age or as a small child the lid was wide open on your non conscious mind and everything went in and impressions were formed that become indelibly engraved into the pathways of your mind.
Ideas, suggestions, experiences went in, even if they were not true because your mind was like a soft lump of clay, it moulded into a formation that created a self image that influences how you behave today. By the time you became an adolescent, the lid slammed shut on your non conscious.
This became the initial platform of how you operated and behaved. Studies have show that in Ancient Egypt when a child was born everything was recorded until the child was fourteen as the Ancient Egyptians recognized that these early years were where the seeds were planted and the roots established until in later years the shoots started to come through.
The early years became an important formative time which influenced the child’s later years so it became very important as to what impressions were formed in these early years. Think about what goes in today. We all have an image of how we want to look like or who in this day and age we want to emulate and in my experience of training clients, many clients want to lose weight, de stress or increase their performance.
As an avid explorer and researcher with a thirst for knowledge I soon realized that you can have the best trainer, the best training and nutrition programme and still not necessarily achieve the results that you want, without addressing the cause of a situation as distinct from dealing with the results, which incidentally is why many clients give up.
As an example, lets take weight loss which is really fat loss, why is it that with all the publications, self help books, TV programmes that we still cannot lose the fat. A plausible hypothesis to explain this refers to our biology. Is our biology at fault? Well we are programmed to eat as much as possible in the unlikely event of a famine and this mechanism still exists as part of our biological make up.
Another aspect is that whilst we are all exposed to TV programmes, celebrity diets and self help books, it all takes place against a background of reinforced advertising that compels us to eat which satisfies our biological mechanism.
In order for any person who in this case wants to lose fat, they have to look at and change an important part of their Self Concept and Self Image. Firstly we all have a self concept and out from that self concept are mini concepts. Here are a few, I am sure you will have your own, in fact this is a good time to look at what your mini concepts are;
I am not attractive
I can never lose weight as I have tried all of the diets
I can never be wealthy
I can never achieve this
I can never be thin
Let’s take the example of a client who wants to lose weight. Clients who are overweight, see themselves as overweight, they behave like overweight people.
They do not visualise themselves as any other way. For example if you see yourself as a lean and fit person, then you behave as a lean and fit person.
Your brain is faithfully programmed to skip workouts, eat everything and anything [without the proper education] as it does not believe the image that you want to or can create.
Therefore eating junk food, eating sugar laden deserts over eating to the point of gluttony are all behaviours of an overweight person.Overweight clients in my experience see themselves as overweight, they behave like overweight people.
If you see yourself as a lean and fit person, then you behave as a lean fit individual. If you see you’re self as an underachiever then your behaviours will be consistent with that image.Your brain is faithfully self programmed to skip workouts as it does not believe in the image that you can create. It believes in the image and behaviour of an overweight person, therefore, eating junk food, eating sugar laden deserts, overeating are all behaviours of an overweight person who has not started to create the self image that is different to the current self image.
If you are to succeed at changing or transforming this mindset, then you are going to have to stop making excuses and start making changes on the mental and physical planes. Of course you have to change your lifestyle, of course you have to train, of course you have to change your eating habits, but the trick here is to start to change the self image that you have, which controls your behaviour.
You have to address the cause versus trying to change the result.You have to employ your energy into a new mental picture of you, whether it is losing weight, running an 8 minute mile or simply wanting to look and feel outstanding.
By repeating this new behaviour on a consistent basis the new mental picture you will eventually create, will establish new and positive behaviours as these behaviours are in you and are actually hard wired into every cell of your body. Let these unseen forces work with you and for you, but you have to be consistent in the application.
It takes 28 days to establish a new habit and 90 days for the shoots to come through.
Here are some practical steps that you can practically do and use.
Now I know with various clients they go from losing weight to gaining it back and can never understand why. Well there is the obvious, in terms of their eating activities and physical output.
But more importantly, the non conscious mind does not like losing things, so it will always try to get it back which explains why people who make New Yrs resolutions and decide to lose weight are usually reclaimed by their habits, which in fact is ruled by their non conscious.
So this is why it is so important to create this self image to superimpose the patterns that have been etched into your non conscious.
DO THIS – CREATE A PICTURE OF YOUR SELF IMAGE
Your self image is not just a goal, it is a PICTURE IN YOUR MIND. Make this picture clear, dynamic, vivid, utilise the gift and grace of your faculty and most importantly your faculty of imagination; it is the starting point of your self image. Release the old you, it is a ghost that continually haunts you as you consistently empower it.
It is time to dis-empower it and release the shackles of your old self image and you can do this by creating a PICTURE IN YOUR MIND. If this goal is not disturbing and invigorating at the same time then you are not in the process of a new reality. TAKE THAT LID OFF YOUR MIND.
CREATE A WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF YOUR NEW IMAGE
By writing this down, it takes you on a journey from the ethereal labyrinths and untouchable state of thought into a tangible state of form. Once on paper you are transforming this process from the mental to the physical realms.
Use what I call the three P’s – POSITIVE, PERSONAL and PRESENT.
Use a positive stance to ensure that you write what you want to achieve NOT what you want to get rid of.
Use the word ‘I’ Using Present, a current state of received attitude
DO NOT WORRY THAT IT IS NOT PERFECT…WRITE…WRITE & WRITE…YOU CAN ALWAYS GO BACK AND EDIT IT.
ACT THE PART- A great film that I like to illustrate is George C Scott as General Patton in the film Patton. He became Patton, he lived it. Act the part. Create the character and write the script, until it is real for you. You will feel resistance and awkwardness at this point.
You will feel like you are lying to yourself or you may feel like a fraud. You are the writer, producer, director and STAR of your own film. Take actions that are consistent with the new you.
Move closer to your goal by doing something everyday that your new self image would do. Ask yourself the question what would this type of person with this new body do? AND THEN DO IT! Act as though you are the owner of this new body and mindset that you are creating until it real. There is an old saying that I like which goes ‘Act as though I am and I will be’. You must take action. I am not advocating a Pollyanna positive thinking approach; however affirmations are a key step to creating your self image although affirmations without actions are the beginning of delusion.
Positive mental attitudes and affirmations and being positive do not generally work as they cannot support or act a crutch to the old self image. Look at the many publications on book shelves on PMA and weight loss as mentioned earlier.
So what I am advocating is positive thinking, positive affirmation, positive attitude, positive visualization, and the most important is POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT.
REINFORCE THE IMAGE DAILY…HOURLY – Reinforce the image and repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat as repetition is the mother of learning and the father of self image.
It took a lot of effort and many years for you or a part of you to develop your old self image and it will take at least 28 days of consistent efforts for the roots to manifest and then at least 90 days for the roots to shoot out from the ground for the entire world to see.
Be patient and persistent. Persistence conquers resistance. Remember there is a gestation period for everything.
In summing up
Visualise your new self image in a relaxed state by projecting it onto the screen of your mind as this will impress itself on your unconscious mind.Think in arenas that are constructive and positive for you as this will help you to dissolve the old image and solidify the new one. Thoughts like images are commands to your mind.
Be careful how you think and watch those I am this.. I cant do this.. Etc… YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT AND WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT YOU BECOME
Read your written goal at least twice a day, once in the morning and again at night before bed time as this will have a powerful effect on your unconscious.
Carry your goal card in your pocket or bag and every time that you touch it, read it and/or make a mental link to it, picturing the your new self image write your goal and update it every day as this will make deeper impressions quicker and results will be swifter.