There are two little words that destroy many a day's health choices, Making progress on your habit, or just getting things done:
I’ve said it myself, I've heard it from team & my friends, here’s a few of those conversation that hinder your progress
Now, you may be reading some of these and thinking well what’s wrong with that?… and if it once in a while, so what, right? But how often do we use this kind of justification?… If you struggle to get stay in shape, then probably more than you realise.
Psychologists call this behaviour moral licensing: you give yourself permission to do something "bad" because you've been "good". Not only do we indulge in actions that aren’t aligned with your goals, but you also felt you deserved them, so you didn’t feel bad at the time or sometimes at all with this at it’s heart, self-sabotaging behaviour!
When you look back at what you are rewarding yourself with, you can be left with the awful aftertaste of regret.
What was I thinking? How did I end up ditching Friday's session and overindulging with that food… I'd prepped everything as well!, oh man!, It started out so well!..
Or maybe worse through autopilot you mindlessly miss some of those negative actions and wonder “why am i not getting anywhere?!”
This down feeling may lights up a few Negative mindset .. The defeatist mindset comes into play i.e. “I give up, why bother!” . which can lead to the What the Hell Effect
Be warned, It doesn't have to be anything you’ve actually done either; even thinking about a good thing you've done or even, get this, going to do! can get you to fall into this mindset trap… But, you can revoke your license...
So, what’s going on?
As with many mindset traps we're quick to beat ourselves up for our apparent lack of willpower;
However, the reason why we struggle so much with self-control is often not some innate weakness of our characters, but just a little lack of understanding of how our minds work.
Gretchen Rubin, the author of "The Happiness Project," says “Moral licensing acts like a loophole, letting us wriggle out of establishing new habits like working out, eating healthy, or getting a side project off the ground.
"Loopholes matter, because when we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes," she says. "We look for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation.
Gaining a little insight, added with a touch of self awareness you’ll begin to catch yourself in the act of Moral licensing and thus be able to make a choice and avoid employing the loophole.
To help you with making a better choice below I’ve researched and laid out a few key perspective to help you not so easily succumb.
And if you want to go into this deeper this it's all supported by research cited in the book The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal PhD & Mindfulness Based Eating by Lynn Rossy PhD ( A Great READ)
But wait before you go on ... Remember getting yourself in the best shape means training the brain…So take your time, read, learn and commit this to memory… and if it helps after follow this link (Moral licensing) to print out your own copy to refer to while you are absorbing these invaluable insights.
Revoke your Licence!
1. Remember that choosing certain actions is about commitment to your underlying goals, not about being “good” or “bad.” In the case of healthier eating & more exercise, you need to see both actions as independent steps that are necessary to achieve your weight loss goal i.e you can’t out train a bad diet/ relationship with food. They are not different sides of a
scale but steps on a journey. Your goal isn’t to achieve balance but to keep moving forward. See both as essential parts of meeting your fitness goals..
Important note: the reward or food/drink: you are not banning yourself from eating puddings and the like, It's a matter of balance and a little awareness when your eating so before you eat.
Asking yourself, is this what you REALLY want?, If you decide yes, slow down your eating & Savour the experience of enjoying your food.
You may find that you decide not to reward yourself with food, but if you do want pudding or bubbles you won’t feel the need to overindulge to enjoy the experience... and better yet you'll lose that bitter aftertaste of feeling bloated and being full of REGRET..
2. Don’t ask yourself “How good have I been?” or “How much progress have I made?” when you’re deciding whether or not to give in to doing something not aligned with your goals. Instead, ask yourself “How committed do I feel to my goal?” and “Why am I choosing to resist temptation?” According to The Willpower Instinct, people asked the first set of questions are more likely to act in conflict with their goals, while those asked the second set aren’t tempted to do so.
3. Act as if. If you decide you are the type of person who wants to do the actions aligned with your goals But you go around thinking you’re a bad, lazy & self-indulgent person you’ll be reinforcing that mindset! That thinking will make consistent change a frustrating struggle & you’ll constantly look for ways to undermine or to “get away with” something.
See "8 Mindset traps" and become more aware of the above negative mindsets and challenge yourself to make your goal part of your Identity, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.
When you realise that you ARE the type of person who wants what’s best for yourself and to live in line with your values and goals, taking actions that undermine your goals will no longer seem like a treat, it will be a betrayal of who you are. Working on your fitness, getting your food right, or making head way on your personal projects won’t be something that you have to do, but something you get to do!
The best project you'll ever work on is YOU!
Coach Paul | TheTeamworkout| Stafford