June 30th, 2011 by Digestive Detective
Can’t and don’t. Out of all of the 4-letter words in the English language, these two are by far the most insidious. Use of these words perpetuates a negative mindset; a state of stagnation that paralyzes anyone who speaks them regularly and with conviction. It is within these words that dreams are never realized; risks never taken; goals never achieved. Verbalizing them fortifies a mentality already inherent in the speaker that prevents growth and progress.
If you believe that you can’t, then you won’t. If you think you don’t have what it takes, be it skills, resources, knowledge, or status, then you will never take steps forward – you’ll remain mired in whatever situation you undoubtedly loathe and resenting those around you that seem to be “doing so well” or “have it so easy.” Now it’s true that some people have certain advantages, but nothing is more of a disadvantage than to begin with an attitude of despondency, inadequacy, and futility.
You may be familiar with the famous Zig Ziglar quote, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” Lou Holtz sums the same concept up in an equally straightforward fashion: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
We all have abilities, sometimes it’s simply a matter of discovering what those are; however, if you start off with the belief that you lack the ability to accomplish a task or goal, then chances are you never will—you’ll never reach that point of believing in yourself and your capacity to achieve that goal. If you don’t believe in your own capacity to change, then nothing that anyone else does or says will help you. If you don’t have a sense of ability to achieve, then you’ll have no motivation because you’ll already have resigned yourself to failure before you even begin.
Motivation comes from within—it’s internal. It is the driving force that is responsible for what we do or don’t do – what we feel we can or can’t achieve. To harness your own personal, internal motivation, begin with this simple “exercise”:
1. Sit down with a pen and piece of paper in a quiet space void of distraction. Take your time and think of what your WHY is for creating and/or improving your health & wellness. It’s ok to have multiple WHYs, just keep in mind that they should all be a reflection of the purpose you have for yourself in life. Your WHY should not be about others. Your WHY should not be fleeting or temporary in nature. When you realize your
true WHY, it will become crystal clear; it’s part of the vision for your life.
Write down your WHY. Even when you think you are done, keep writing. Write anything and everything that ties into how you want to feel, function, look and live. What will the new you FEEL LIKE? What will you LOOK LIKE. What will you be empowered to do once you achieve your goal? Run a 5K? Volunteer for an all-day event with your favorite charity? Have playtime all day long once a week at the park running around with your kids? The more compelling the reasons, the more likely you will be to adhere to the steps that will ultimately lead you to your goal.
Finally, the overarching principle that prevents you from uttering those dirty 4-letter words can’t and don’t is your attitude. Thomas Jefferson once said, "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on Earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." Attitude is everything – it serves as the catalyst for change or the chain that binds you to inertia. For some, a positive attitude comes naturally, for others, it must be cultivated. Begin each day with an attitude of gratitude, taking account of all the good things you have in your life and all the resources you have at your disposal to achieve your ultimate goals in your health, fitness and lifestyle.
Check back in tomorrow for my next blog that will feature an empowering exercise on gaining perspective and fostering an “attitude of action.”
Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, FDN is a certified personal trainer and lifestyle coach as well as a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist. He is the founder of www.digestivedetective.com – a comprehensive health, fitness and training website that provides articles, podcasts, fitness videos, webinars and customized online training/coaching for individuals seeking to improve the way they feel, function, look and live.