“There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.”
Have you ever wished that someone would help you recognize your true potential? Help you raise your game to the next level? Help you to gain some clarity in your life? Or just give you that shot in the arm that you need to start making changes in your life?
Critical Concept: Hedging your success. Your models and standards are powerful predictors of your success and happiness. The little voice inside your head can often tell you to stay on the couch. We are hard-wired to be lazy. When food was at a premium, your goal for the day was to find enough food to last until tomorrow. For the fortunate majority of us, this is no longer the case.
We are programmed to seek pleasure, move away from pain, and do it all with the greatest economy of energy. In regards to our internal GPS (Bonfire Genetic Positioning System), the suggestion of running a marathon is preposterous. Unless there is food under that dumbbell, you are not programmed to pick it up. If there was a crocodile in the pool with you, it would make sense to swim as fast as you can. Otherwise, expending all of that energy voluntarily is purely ridiculous. Unless you think about it.
The human mind thrives on challenges.
We are comparative animals. We love to compare ourselves to others. In fact, we know ourselves through others. We form our identities, self-image and self-worth by watching and comparing ourselves to others. And we want to be good. In fact, we want to be better.
Psychologists report that our identities are a reflection of how we perceive ourselves relative to others. We have models that set standards for us in every aspect of our lives. Since childhood, we’ve watched our mothers, fathers, siblings and friends, and studied their behavior. We have been shaped by the standards created by our environment. And we continue to be shaped.
Choose your environment wisely, as it will powerfully influence your experience.
Our environment is made up of people, places and things. We should be careful to choose environments that create the type of influence that we wish to experience. It is important to seek out those people and places that inspire you to move towards becoming the person that you want to be.
We have always watched the herd. We take social cues from those around us and we wish to be like them – and be liked by them. “We want to be connected, accepted and respected,” says author Tom Decotiis (Make it Glow).
In fact, influence masters insist that it is easier and more effective to change the environment than change people. Change the environment and you change standards - and, ultimately, performance.
To create the life that you want, create the environment that sets the standards that lead to that outcome.
Who do you spend time with? Where do you spend your time? What do you spend your time doing? Are these all in alignment with what you are trying to create?
Are you are trying to become the healthiest, fittest person that you can be? Does your environment set the right standards for that? Do you have a support system that makes it easier for you to be successful? Are you following a proven system of training that sets clear performance standards for you? Do you know what you’re doing today or where you are going with your fitness tomorrow? Are you measuring your progress?
You don’t get what you want, you get what you measure.
Research has revealed strategies that create greater chances of success in every endeavor – especially fitness. Measuring and recording your performance is a critical step in establishing tangible progress. Comparing your outcomes against a clear standard is vital behavior in progressive training. A Bonfire best practice is to clearly define your goals and objectives, set written goal dates, and use a compelling reward and penalty system. Publicly profess your intentions. Our personal identity is closely tied to our want to behave consistently in the public eye. Identify a person of influence in your life and tell them about your goals and standards. If you truly value their opinion of you, this can be a powerful contributor to your success. Put these clear standards in place and stack the deck in your favor.
In order to stifle that inner couch potato and achieve your ideal fitness and health goals, you must recruit the robust sources of influence that goal setting and clear standards provide. As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?
One of the best things that you can do right now to ensure success with your commitment to exercise is to start to make it a public experience rather than a private one. There are a whole host of benefits that can help you get better results with your fitness or help ease the transition of adding more movement in your life.
Having a partner to exercise with on a regular basis is a great way to improve your results and enjoyment. You could find a walking or running partner, a friend to go to the gym with, or someone who enjoys similar types of physical activities as you. An exercise buddy can help you:
Stay on track and hold you accountable to your exercise routine
Help keep you motivated and encouraged
Help build a strong friendship and make exercise more fun!
Something that has been gaining popularity recently is organized exercise and supervised group classes. Facilities like Crossfit gyms, YMCA’s, Bootcamps and other fitness programs are finding that coached exercisers in group programs are enjoying the following benefits:
Positive social atmosphere
Tons of fun!
Patient information published in 2005 in the Journal of American Academy of Physician Assistants also recommends that people exercise with a partner or group because they “are more likely to stay on track.” The group encourages exercisers to involve family members, friends, and even pets, as “dogs need exercise too.”
Other benefits of group fitness:
You’re more likely to complete a well-rounded exercise routine and get a potentially tougher workout. A class can help you move past a plateau — if you want to push yourself a little bit and improve. Other exercisers who might be in better shape than you can help create what is called a vicarious experience to motivate you. Exercising with others can make you want to be your best and achieve better fitness and overall health.
The combination of improving your fitness, meeting new people, and learning a new skill produces an excellent confidence boost, too. You’ll start to feel better about yourself and feel that nothing is too difficult for you to achieve. New research suggests that for some (but not all) people, finding workout buddies can even help turn fitness into a pleasant addiction by triggering chemicals in the brain that elicit the same feelings as dancing and laughter.