Henry Ford says “whether you believe you can or can’t, you’re right.” One of the biggest roadblocks to fitness success that I’ve seen in both myself and others are the limiting beliefs someone can tell themselves like “I don’t have enough time,” “I don’t have enough money,” “I can’t stop myself from eating junk food,” “I hate exercise,” etc.
When a person tells themselves these things, their brain will literally not let them see any other alternative. And I’vefound it doesn’t really do someone any good to tell some “just think positively” without showing them how to actually go inside their brain and change their beliefs.
The technique I’m going to share with you is my #1 technique to overcome excuses, unlock creative problem solving abilities, and will ideally be used in every area of your life you want to improve. If you took this piece of advice and ran with it, I believe it could be the answer to everything that you feel is holding you back. That’s not an exaggeration. This technique is what changed many areas of my life, not just my health.
Before I understood how the brain worked, I would often tell myself things like “I hate healthy food and I can’t give up my favorite fast food meals.” Then I realized that these sorts of beliefs are created and reinforced by the language that runs through the mind, often subconsciously.
Each day we tell and ask ourselves all sorts of things. These things could be “I don’t have enough time.” “I’m a failure.” “Why can’t I overcome my junk food cravings?”
“I can make time to exercise twice this week.” “I am successful.” “What do I love about eating healthy foods?”
The one thing I’ve found can turn everything around is simply changing one’s language patterns from disempowering statements and dis-empowering questions to instead asking high quality questions.
One reason this technique works is because I can’t tell you what will work best for your life. Instead, the best answers and solutions for you will always come from within yourself, even if it takes the help of someone else to draw it out of you.
Here’s an experiment. Try saying these things to yourself and see how you feel:
- “I don’t know what to do.”
- “Everything is hopeless.”
- “Why is there never enough time?”
- “What is wrong with me?
Be honest with yourself, even if you haven’t ever made these exact statements in your own life, have you ever told or asked yourself something that made things seem impossible or extremely difficult? Have these things ever at times been things that you really knew weren’t totally true?
Let’s replace these with with “empowering questions.” See how you feel when asking these things:
- “What’s one simple thing that I can do right now to start moving me forward even more?”
- “What can I do with the time I do have?”
- “What healthier foods do I enjoy?”
- “How can I make healthier foods taste even better?”
- “Why am I getting even more fit each day?”
- “How can I make getting fit even more enjoyable?”
- “How can I do the best that I can?”
Now, as a tip, try asking questions that can improve your outlook on life in general like:
- “When have I been successful in the past?”
- “How does it get even better than this?”
- “Why is everything working out for the best even if I can’t see it?”
Let’s take the sample question: “What’s one simple thing that I can do right now to start moving me forward even more?”
The answer doesn’t have to be something big. Maybe it’s just doing 5 jumping jacks in the morning or replacing a candy bar with a piece of fruit.
Then keep asking the question regularly and build up more and more. One could then ask “could I do 10 jumping jacks a day and add in 10 pushups?” If the answer is yes, one would do that.
When that is comfortable, one would ask themselves “could I go even further?”
Not all questions will have an obvious answer right away. Let’s say you ask “how can I make exercise extremely fun?” and you don’t come up with an answer. Some questions will either not have a clear answer, or will be too outside of your current knowledge zone for you to determine a solution.
Then try another question like “How can I make exercise at least a little more enjoyable?”
Perhaps that’s by listening to an audio book while exercising or setting up a friendly competition with others with prizes for whoever makes the most progress in their exercise routine. The great thing is, whatever answer you come up with will be your own.
The point of this is not that asking one question will solve all your problems just like one workout won’t get you a dream body. It’s the consistent practice and making it a habit that will change your life.
Thomas Edison failed over 1000 times when creating the light bulb. The reason he succeeded is because inventors are naturally curious.
He said that each failure was a success in getting closer to finding a solution. Rather than saying “I messed up, I’m a failure.” Or asking “why do I never succeed?” He may have asked “given that this didn’t work, what can I do differently that will move me closer to creating this light bulb?” “What do I need to learn or try to make this work?” Etc.
What you focus on expands!
If that’s problems, you’ll see more problems. If that’s potential solutions to problems, you’ll start to see more solutions. Not always right away, but eventually the brain will start to see new things and make connections that you could have never thought of before.
Here’s another example:
“What’s one healthier food I can enjoy, afford, and have time to eat?”
Perhaps that’s just eating one apple a day. If that’s all you can do to change your diet for the next month, that’s great! Even if one still eats a bunch of junk food, the point is not to get the perfect diet over night. It’s to be in the practice of constant forward motion and growth so that, a year later, one has made a noticeable difference. (It will likely happen much sooner though!)
No matter how seemingly insignificant the step forward is, it
will start to snowball. This is more about changing
psychology and language patterns than it is one’s physical
body at first. Apply this to every area of your life, and it will
be impossible for it not to change for the better.
Use your own questions and you’ll discover your own answers.
This advice is worth more than gold if you truly apply it to your life.
If struggling to find a good question, you can always ask yourself “what’s a good question to ask?”
In all my years of studying health, psychology, and personal development, I’ve found this simple insight: The answer is a question.