We are all given the amazing gift of choice. The person you saw at the pool with “washboard abs” wasn’t born with them…they could attain a beer belly if they wanted. Quite honestly, they choose to have an attitude of self-worth and pride for their body, they believe they are worth it. When excuses arise or temptation seems easier, their choices are a reflection of their attitude and having the right attitude gives you a fighting chance to achieve your goals. What’s your attitude? Do you go to the Dentist about as often as you exercise? Do you despise green food on your plate? Or are you content with maintaining an un-healthy lifestyle? Whether you admit it or not, you have CHOSEN an attitude toward everything in your life. You see life through your own eyes, based off of the attitude you have toward everything in it. So, why not choose to have a positive attitude toward things that will make you a better person and choose a negative attitude toward things that hold you back from becoming who you can be?
Those who choose to use this gift and learn its positive power find success in vast quantities that go far beyond the riches of the material world. Should you choose an attitude of optimism, empathy, love, compassion, forgiveness, etc. you will put yourself in situations and around like-minded people, those that share a similar attitude towards life. The same is true of the opposite. If you’re unhappy with where you are at, it wouldn’t be a bit surprising if the people you spend the majority of your time with have a similar attitude toward their life. I’m going to change the saying to “one bad attitude spoils the whole bunch.” WE ALL have the power to change our attitude. You have the power to shut down your engines, get back to neutral and DECIDE to re-direct the course of your life. If you can’t do this for yourself, who can? It’s not easy, but YOU are the intangible factor in your life, in your health and fitness, more than anything else.
Every day we make a decision to take the ‘fat’ or the ‘fit’ path. Every single day we are ALL faced with this decision numerous times. It may not come naturally, sure, some of the decisions we make are out of habit. If you’ve reached for a donut (insert your favorite food choice here) when you’re hungry for the last 10 years, chances are you will reach for a donut again. But YOU have the choice. Since attitude is typically reflected in a person’s behavior (according to Webster’s dictionary) then this behavior screams one of three things about your attitude deep down. Either you don’t think you are worth being healthy (self-loathing), you don’t care (blatant disregard), or you don’t believe snacking on donuts will harm you (ignorance). (I’m going to disregard option 3 because if this is you, we’ll address this nonsense another time.) As for the other options, changing this attitude will change the behavior you carry out. Choose to change your attitude and you will change your situation. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
It’s not impossible to lose weight or be healthy. It’s important for me to mention here that to me “being healthy” means that within your control you make your best effort for good health- there are definite exceptions that go beyond our control, and for those situations I pray for healing. For the rest, and vast majority, I assert the importance of taking control of your attitude. You won’t always be overweight because of your metabolism or your age, you’ll be overweight because you tell yourself you will be. You won’t always be sitting on the sidelines while your kids ride their bikes or play soccer because you don’t have time to stay in shape, you’ll be there because you keep choosing to be. I assure you, there are older, busier, and poorer people out there than us that choose to lose weight, have their health, and be fit. I’ll say it again…success doesn’t choose people, people choose success. And they choose a positive attitude.
Maybe you are wondering, “How can we change our attitude?” I’d like to offer a few suggestions that I’ve seen work firsthand. First, we can’t shut ourselves down. Take this thought for example, “I’d like to lose weight but I don’t know where I’ll find the time to exercise.” So many of us talk to ourselves this way. We’ve automatically come up with a reason we can’t achieve what we’d like to. We’re making an excuse for why we can’t lose weight so we don’t have to even start (read “Do Excuses Control Your Life?” for more on this). That attitude is self-sabotage. Instead of allowing this to dictate the course of your day, take a second to gather yourself and take out the negative self-talk (it does NO good anyway). Replace it with a positive spin such as, “I’d like to lose weight and I know it would feel great to have time for a little exercise.” With this phrase, finding time for exercise is at least an option and it’s an option that will make you feel great. You’re much more likely to pursue something that brings you positive emotions rather than something that carries an attitude of negativity. You’ll be amazed at how this begins your change of attitude toward yourself, your life and your fitness. If you change enough negative attitudes to positive attitudes you will begin to notice that not only are you feeling happier, healthier, and more joyous on the inside…Your physical surroundings will begin to change as well. At first it takes effort to change this thought process, you may have to step in and rephrase your way of thinking a lot, but like anything it becomes a habit. Next, picture yourself having accomplished a goal. Let’s say you’d like to drop a pant size. How will you feel when your clothes no longer fit? How will it feel to have others ask if you’ve lost weight? Allow some of the emotions to come into your mind. It feels good. If you can start to think AS IF you’ve already achieved this, you will begin to believe it can be accomplished. When you believe it can be accomplished, your attitude towards it changes. When your attitude changes, it is reflected in your behavior. Your behavior is what got you into your situation in the first place, so changing it is the only solution.