Sometimes it seems like you get to a certain point…reaching towards your mission, getting closer to your goal or goals and it happens. You find a way to ruin it for yourself. You mess up, you make that same mistake again, and again, and you wind up blowing it and taking five steps backward. Soon, you get back on your plan, make some progress and once again, you wreck the progress and go take more steps backward. This seems to happen over and over again, no matter how hard you “try.”

It could be eating things you know you shouldn't eat or going out drinking one too many times. Many times it is missing workouts or just dogging it when you are actually working out. For many people, it is all of these things. It has a cumulative effect. Although all of this is in your control, so many times we still do the same old things that tend to sabotage our success. But why?

I believe it is an inner conflict or struggle going on that most of us are not even aware of when it is happening. Intellectually, we know we should or shouldn't…intellectually it can make complete sense to go to your workout, but physically we are tired. Emotionally, we tend to feel a certain way about working out, or not working out for instance. This reaction is based on the conflict and which “self” wins out at that moment. It is almost like we have three people living inside of us and all working against one another. The ‘mental you’ knows that you should not eat that, the ‘physical you’ wants to eat that, and the ‘emotional you’ is caught in the middle and usually has the final say. Many times we act based on our emotions.

If your three selves don’t operate in sync, there is turmoil and resistance and that usually ends badly for you. It is only when we can get these three selves working together can we really stay disciplined and on track. I know, this sounds “trippy” and way too psychological right? Well, maybe it is, but it is an important thing to understand about yourself so you can learn to deal with those issues and keep moving forward.

So, just how do we deal with these three selves and stay on track? The first step is awareness that it is happening. Hopefully reading this will make you think and understand that it is happening, much more than you have realized in the past. The second thing is to help these three selves come together and function as one unit. When that happens, staying disciplined and on track is much easier.

First you have to realize that your physical self is not always in charge, nor is your intellectual self. When you feel hungry and you are craving that dessert, the physical self just wants it now. The intellectual self knows you are not supposed to have it and fights the physical temptation. Now, the emotional self attaches a strong feeling to eating that dessert. In many cases, the feeling is good and your intellectual self loses out, and you eat the dessert. Apply this to missing a workout, or whatever else you can think of…it all works basically the same.

As I said above, awareness is a huge step in dealing with things like this, but it is not always enough. Here are a few strategies that might help:

1. Plan ahead, ALWAYS! – Know what you are going to eat tomorrow. Plan your meals. If you do that, there will be much less conflict. Even if you (physical self) wants the dessert, the choices are limited because you have planned ahead. The intellectual will usually win here. When it becomes more of a habit, no conflict will result.

2. Be prepared ahead of time! – Doing things like keeping your gym back in your car or putting on your workout clothes as soon as you wake up, helps keep the mental self dominant (in the case that your physical wants to skip the workout)

3. Be accountable – Tell a friend what you are planning to do each day before you do it. For example, let a friend know that you are going to workout each day this week. Tell them that you are going to let them know when you do and also when you don’t. This strategy works well because you are now accountable to someone else. This will usually keep the mental you stronger. If the body doesn't want to train, but the mental knows the deal you made, your emotional side will not want to face the “pain” of telling your friend that you didn’t do it.

Once you form some habits of eating the right way, sticking to your training regiment, and working hard each time out, the 3 selves will start to work together and there will be much less friction between them. When that happens, things are easier to do and stick with.

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