Mental attitude

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The greatest impediment to make a change in your life is going to be your mental attitude.  On the path to success,  you will continually try to undermine yourself and get back onto your old path.  Its not your fault, its just the way evolution has designed your brain.  Your chance of success increases significantly if you adopt strategies to deal with your unconscious-self trying to derail you.

In this section, we will cover a few strategies that you can use.

Future Cost

Our brains are wired to take what is in front of us and largely ignore any future cost.  Indeed, the whole western economy is built on this characteristic.  This is why we overspend, gamble, smoke, take drugs, overuse alcohol – the pleasures of ‘now’ are much more important in our minds than the potential cost.  You cannot bring logic in to help you here, its not much help.  We are wired to consume.

I have heard countless times, “I can’t give up (insert x or y or z), I enjoy it too much.”  Even when a person ‘knows’ that it is causing them harm, they will continue to consume it.

Why would you switch to low-carb eating when you have to greatly limit the pleasure you get from eating carb-rich foods?  How can you possibly do without them?  Does this sound like you?  Even if I showed you evidence that it is destroying your organs, your brain, your memory – you would likely continue to consume those foods.  Again, its just the way your brain is wired.

The problem is that, in our minds, a pleasure or pain that is ‘now’ is so much bigger and more important than a pleasure or pain that is far in the future; and we will almost always ignore the future cost.  The future cost is “very small” in our minds, while the “pleasure of now” is “really big”.  Big beats small.

There is a powerful strategy to deal with this impediment to our success – we have to make the future cost “really big” in our minds so that it stands a chance of competing with the “really big” pleasure.  To do this, you can employ the following steps:

  1. understand  and acknowledge the real cost that you will pay;
  2. think about what it feels like to pay that cost;
  3. really imagine paying that cost – in your imagination, put yourself into the scenario where you are now paying the cost;
  4. really feel the emotion (hurt, pain, anguish) that you would feel in that situation; and
  5. acknowledge with anger and disgust the path that led you to paying the cost and feeling the pain an anguish.

For example, a real cost of carb consumption is the destruction of your arteries and veins which often results in heart attacks and/or strokes.  It is a really big risk.

Really imagine yourself lying in hospital with your children surrounding you.  They have tears in their eyes and try to comfort you but you cannot acknowledge them as you can’t move your arms and you can, only manage a grunt.  One grunt means ‘yes’, two means ‘no’.

A large chunk of your brain has been destroyed by the clot that has lodged in your brain.

You realise that you will likely spend years learning how to walk and talk, if you ever do.  You realise that you won’t be able to play with your kids.  You won’t be able to walk your daughter down the aisle.  You wont be able to …

Really feel the pain and anguish you would feel in that situation and really kick yourself that you did this to yourself.  Acknowledge that it was continuing to  eat those things that you knew were ‘bad’.  Feel your anger that you could be so misguided.  Feel your anger that governments even allow these foods to exist.  Feel your anger at the (tempting) food itself.

Do this periodically and it will be hard to ignore the future cost.  The key is to really feel the emotion and make the future pain as real as you can.   Each time that you repeat this exercise, it strengthens your resolve and helps you to stay on the path to success.

Negative Association

To be continued