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Words Matter...

I was talking to someone the other day about a set of before and after photos she had seen by one of the people she follows online.  The results were impressive, to say the least.  The person in question had shed a LOT of weight, had changed not only their body, and their quality of life.  It was a great story. 

As my friend talked about wanting to do the same, something about her language struck me as odd.  She was using phrases like “Oh that’s an incredible transformation”, and she repeatedly used words like “incredible”, “amazing”, “unbelievable”, etc.

After our exchange I got to thinking about why her language struck me as odd, and it occurred to me...

She had two scripts that were operating simultaneously in her mind, fighting for available resources…the first was that of simply being impressed with the success of another person and being happy for them.  The second, happening on a separate track, but very much at the same time, was the thought of seeing themselves in the same situation as the person they are impressed by and…quite literally…not being able to picture themselves achieving the same thing. 

In part, I believe this stems from a fitness culture that places the most value on the “dramatic change” via a “quick fix”.  If forces a mentality of equating BIG results to either BIG effort over a short period of time, or by way of some magic fix.  This is why most people bounce from diet to diet, or from gym to gym.  It is why we have a billion dollar supplement and nutrition shake industry…all symptoms of a failed way of thinking.

When thinking about the person that posted their before and after pictures,  no one celebrates the fact that an entire year or more likely lapsed between the before and after picture.  No one talks about the rainy nights they drove themselves to the gym when they didn’t want to, or the multiple times they decided not to order the pizza for dinner and opted for the healthier meal. 

I guess my point is, it is incumbent upon us as coaches to celebrate the PROCESS with our clients.  To first get our client to BELIEVE they can accomplish what they hope to set out to do.  Then to realistically outline the journey, and show our clients that goal achievement comes via linking numerous small steps together in succession…over the long haul.   

The first step in understanding how to manufacture a successful transformation in yourself starts with fully understanding, accepting, and owning the path that you will need to walk in order to achieve it.

If your coach tries to sell you on any other starting point, or tries to give you a shortcut…you should look to make a change there right away.  You are doomed to continue riding the ups and downs of short lived successes backed with the frustration of not being able to maintain your progress over the long haul.

~Coach Shane