Most of the time, Ramit teaches us to be rich. He probably hasn’t realized he has also been teaching us to be fit.
There are certain things that we automatically believe about ourselves that dictate our behavior one way or another. Ramit calls these invisible scripts – the roles or assumptions that determine our way of life.
- I’m introverted, so I’ll never be able to get a really great job
- I’m pretty nerdy, so I don’t have a very good way with the ladies
- I’ve got no arms or legs, so I will never make a difference in the world
- I’m blind, so I can’t possibly do anything exciting
- I’m not xxxx so I’ll never yyyy
These will only be true for you as long as you let them. The good news is these can be rewritten.
Figuring out your scripts
The first script that I had to confront was I had an emotional attachment to food. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t break whatever mystical connection I had to food. Honestly it’s still hard at times, but there are steps I’ve taken – that you can take too – that make it easier to cope. I’ll get to those in a bit.
The second script was “I’m fat, so I’ll never be an athlete.” Justin Hamade has been trying hard for a year to encourage me to work out like an athlete. I think it’s a not-so-secret goal of his to make me into one. The thing is I’ve never believed I could look or feel like an athlete. Not until fairly recently, anyway.
I’m sure you can think of some challenges that are really just scripts that have been written into your life by default but could really use some changing. Take a few minutes to come up with some.
Sometimes the only way you will do something that doesn’t come natural to you is to make it almost impossible not to. That’s how you rewrite your scripts.
Rewriting the script
I’ve said before that “wanting it” isn’t enough. You’ve got to make decisions – and keep them – in order to affect any change in your life. That’s true with anything; for me, and probably most of you reading this, it’s especially true with my health. Too much of our lives have been spent being unhealthy and being OK with it.
But now you want a change, so you have to make decisions. You make decisions change the defaults in your life, and you make it easy enough to do them.
There are three different scripts I believe you can rewrite. Let’s get into each one.
Script #1: It’s too hard to eat right all the time
It’s not hard at all, you just haven’t figured out how to make it easier. There are a ton of strategies you can put in place, like planning your meals out for the week, buying in bulk and preparing it in bulk, or simply just eating the same thing every day for a week.
Eating the same thing every day isn’t sexy, but no one ever said it was going to be sexy. If you plan ahead, though, you can get some pretty fancy meals out of it. The best part is you don’t have to think about it, so you have just proven this script is a lie.
Script #2: I don’t know how to work out correctly, and it hurts when I do it.
That script might actually be true at first. 🙂 But rest assured it doesn’t have to stay that way.
You can join a gym and get a trainer. You’ll never have to think about workouts again, because they’ll plan it all for you. You could do some blog searching for workouts to get some ideas and write a plan down for yourself.
There are even websites that are designed around creating workouts for you. You literally have to know nothing about working out; all you have to do is get up and do it. For a couple examples, check out maxcapacitytraining.com and dailyburn.com.
Script #3: I’m in this by myself.
It’s true that no one will care about your health the way you need to, but it’s not true at all that you’re in it alone.
If you’re a slow-carber, 4-HBTalk is a huge community of people in your boat. Sign up there and start talking. If you’re not a slow-carber, you can find a forum of people interested in weight loss in the style you’ve chosen to follow. You can start a blog and get people reading. Sign up for twitter and join our conversation there!
All you have to do is open your eyes, and you’ll see that you’re not alone and encouragement is all around you, even when others are not willing (or able) to encourage you.
Proof that it can work
Two of the examples I listed above are real-life people who should be considered handicapped but do amazing things. I won’t even pretend to think getting fit comes close to the things they’ve been able to do, but they’re great examples of not following the scripts they “should” have followed.
But to prove that even an average guy can do this, I’ll briefly talk about what I have been able to do by rewriting those three scripts.
Because my wife and I planned our meals better, bought in bulk, and prepared enough to last a couple days, I simply don’t fight cravings when I don’t have to think about my food because cravings don’t exist. We both eat right, and the changes that causes extend to other areas of life as well including work and sleep.
I couldn’t afford the gym anymore, and while I liked going it was just too much. When my back wasn’t hurting, I was doing MaxCapacityTraining (and when my back is better, I’m going to start again). It’s great because it’s 4 workouts, 16 minutes, and you can modify the movements if you have to. No thought involved, and anyone has 16 minutes. It’s often a struggle to get up and do it, but it’s totally worth it once you get going.
Finally, as you can tell I’m pretty convinced I’m not in this alone. I’m blessed to have my wife supporting me, but I also have all of you guys. There are hundreds of people that read this and my tweets, and many of you do an excellent job at calling me out when I’m not performing. To make my accountability even stronger, I’m going to start a monthly fitness report at the end of this month.
What are you waiting for?
You’ve got nothing against you now! Write down the invisible scripts that you need to change, and determine how you’ll change them. For accountability, feel free to leave some in the comments!