We all know what we should do. Not a huge fan of that word. It’s a weak word used by people that have developed the habit of being undisciplined. Should, try, only, and just are trap words. When someone says, “I’ll try” they are politely saying no, I am not going to do it. When we say to ourselves, “it’s just one cookie,” we are giving in to weakness and temptation. When we say, “It is only one workout,” we are obeying weakness. Eliminate these words from your vocabulary, especially your self-talk. They weaken your resolve by making the transgression seem inconsequential. They make weakness more palatable.
Every time we use these trap words we are feeding weakness. Everything matters. Everything we do shapes our character, and either feeds our discipline or our weakness. Everything we do can be categorized as disciplined or undisciplined action. We are either doing what is in line with our goals, or we are not. Eliminating these words will raise our expectations and standards. When we say, “I will eat better and log my food,” we are making a promise to ourselves. When we say, “I will work out each morning,” we are making a commitment to ourselves to do it.
When we say “I should eat less and log my food,” we aren’t committed. We are acknowledging that our values aren’t in-line with our goals. We are not making a promise to change our behavior. When we fail to do what we should do, we are a little disappointed. We get upset with ourselves when we break a promise we make to ourselves. Trap words avoid disappointment by avoiding commitment. We want to make a promise to ourselves. We want failure to be painful. Trap words lessen the pain by lowering your expectations. To improve the quality of our life, we must raise our standards.Trap words lower our standards.
Make a promise to yourself. Write it down on a piece of paper, and read it each day. When we give in to weakness, we should put it on ourselves. We must make failure painful so we will do what it takes to avoid disappointing ourselves. Our desire to do anything is driven by our desire to avoid pain and seek pleasure. If you want to change your behavior, you must make the old behavior painful. People will go to great lengths to avoid pain.
Early in his career, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s calf development lagged behind the rest of his physique, so he decided to cut off the pant legs on his training sweats. He did this so that everyone could see them. By exposing his calves, and thus himself, to painful ridicule at the gym, it helped him work harder to bring-up this lagging body part. He knew that if he couldn’t improve his calves, he would never become a champion, so he made having puny calves as painful as possible.
When I was an overweight adolescent, striving to get lean, and I was tempted to eat dessert, I developed the habit of pinching my waist. It was an unpleasant reminder of being overweight. It wasn’t pleasant, but it helped me to connect eating dessert with the pain of remaining trapped in a body I didn’t want. We must make maintaining the status quo more painful than the sacrifices that must be made to raise our standards.
The reason we fail to raise our standards in any area of our life is that we find the status quo tolerable, or at least more tolerable than doing what is required to raise our standards. Trap words like should are used to avoid the pain of disappointment. They help us to lower our expectations and standards. Trap words make weakness more tolerable.
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you. People will do more to avoid pain than they will do to gain pleasure. – Tony Robbins
If we are habitually using trap words, it means that we aren’t ready to make the necessary changes to our decisions and behaviors that are required. When we use these words, we are expressing that our resolve is lacking. We are saying, our values are not in line with our goals. We are FINE with the way things are.
If we want to stop using trap words; if we want to raise our standards, we must begin by making the status quo intolerable. We must find a way to make a strong connection between our decisions and the resulting pain they cause us. We must make low expectation and standards unbearable. It isn’t complicated. It is simple, but most of us are so averse to pain that we won’t do it. Pain is a powerful tool for self-mastery. Pain can use us, or we can use it. Use pain to raise your standards.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”— Tony Robbins
If you really want to raise your standards, grab a piece of paper, make ONE promise to yourself. Choose the most impactful change you can make to raise your standards. After you have completed that, brainstorm ways of making the old behavior painful. One way is to add a layer of accountability.
Tell someone about the promise you have made to yourself. This will make breaking our commitment a little more disappointing. This added layer of accountability could be the little extra push you need. Often times we are more willing to disappoint ourselves than someone else. Telling someone about our commitment will make breaking our promise that much more painful. I recommend we use our desire to avoid pain to our advantage. Use pain to raise our standards.
Best wishes and Best Health!
Change your habits, change your life!
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- 7 Change Strategies for Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle
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The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.
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