How do you understand control? What does it mean for you to “be in control”?
In the dictionary, control is “the power to influence or direct people’s behaviour or the course of events”. Here’s another definition: “to order, limit, or rule something, or someone’s actions or behaviour”.
Notice how control is technically about power over things that are external to you? It seems like a fleeting, oxymoronic idea: the ability to control factors external to you. Maybe this is why desire for too much control can become problematic, or being a “control freak” is not a desired state.
What I’ve realized after a lot of trial and error in managing my nutrition and health is that we can remain committed to our goals without being attached to the outcome. It is in fact the detachment from a future outcome (detaching from control) that you are able to be in the best mindset for results.
When you reset your mindset to a more positive state, you move away from anxiety and fear and can focus more on the positive and productive.
Letting go of control can actually help you achieve your body goals. It may seem counterintuitive, but on a biological and psychological level, it makes sense.
People like the feeling of being in control. We’re often trying to control things external to us or outcomes we can’t truly predict.
But there’s a huge difference between striving for control and striving for empowerment. When you’re empowered, you feel strength and confidence that comes from within.
When you’re striving for control, you are obsessing about a future state, which distracts you from being present.
If you’re not sure how to get started, don’t worry. It takes some practice but a couple of small steps will go a long way and stick with time.
Here’s one way to do it: priming. They say that in sports, 90 percent of performance is mental.
Athletes who outperform another often have insignificant differences in their physical abilities. When athletes are asked what the single most important factor is to impacting their performance, they almost all say it the mental game.
Same goes for when you are trying to achieve personal goals in fitness and nutrition. You’re are not any more or less capable than someone else physically to achieve body goals (though most people hold this limiting belief), but someone who may move along quicker or with greater ease likely has overcome the mental game in a way that you haven’t.
When athletes practice priming, they do mindfulness exercises that train their brain to focus and to eliminate any distractions. One of these distractions is the attachment to a specific outcome (control).
Here are the steps you can take to prime:
- Mindful breathing.
Ideally in the morning before you start your day, practice meditating or simply taking a quiet moment to breathe and step out of your thoughts. It can be as little as 5 minutes a day to start. Quieting your mind in a way creates a “clean slate” for you to tackle your day with energy and focus for results.
- Body scanning.
Athletes practice body scanning to become fully attuned to their body. It helps them to understand their body’s current state, what parts are holding tension needing release, and what parts need extra attention. Do this to merge your mental with your physical body so that you are really able to “listen to your body” as you use it to get you through the rest of your day.
- Clearing mind clutter by letting go of internal and external messages that district you from your goal. You may be holding subconscious limiting beliefs about how far you can get toward achieving your goals, or others may have unintentionally fed you beliefs that tell you you’re less capable than you actually are. These are all just distractions. Let them go.
To learn how you can identify and clear your personal weight loss blocks, you always have the option of booking a private session with me.
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