I did a few coaching calls this month with people who follow my channel. And as I expected, everyone I talked to already knew what to do to get to their goal physique.
But they still wanted coaching. They thought they were still missing something which was preventing them from getting results. They asked questions like if they need 20g extra protein in their diet. Maybe that’s why they’re not building muscle. Or if they need to add another day of cardio. Perhaps that’s why they’re not getting lean.
Those things were actually pretty irrelevant.
They were not missing an important piece of the puzzle like a calorie deficit or strength training. The reason they were not getting results was much simpler: They were not doing what they knew they should do.
I’m sure you can relate to that. We all know better. We know how to lose fat but for we keep eating high calorie foods. We know how to earn a promotion at work, but we don’t go the extra mile. We know we should save some money but we still buy stuff we don’t need.
The question is why?!
Why we Don’t Do what we Want to Do
Modern psychology shows us that 95% of our actions are habitual. This means that 95% of what we do happens without conscious thought. What really controls our behavior is the image we have of ourselves in our mind. That image is the pattern by which we live our lives.
I learned this from a seminar called “Your were Born Rich” by Bob Proctor – one of the leading authors and speakers on human potential.
At one point in the seminar Bob said something I shall never forget: “The part of you that knows is not the part that controls your behavior. Long term habit change is NEVER the result of a strong willpower. Long term results are always, ALWAYS equal to your self image.”
Have you noticed that? Have you noticed that your life is exactly the way you picture it in your mind?
You have as much money as you see yourself having. You have the type of clothes you see yourself wearing. Your home looks the way you picture it in your mind. And of course, you have the type of physique you see yourself having.
Maxwell Maltz was the doctor who popularized the study of self image psychology with his best selling book Psycho-Cybernetics. After working with hundreds of patients, he came to the conclusion that our self image controls our behavior like a thermostat.
During the winter you set your thermostat to maintain a certain temperature – let’s say 70°Fahrenheit or 21°Celsius.
If the temperature gets a few degrees below 70, the thermostat detects the deviation from the set goal and turns on the heating system:
When the temperature reaches 70, the fire is turned off.
Your self image works exactly the same. The picture you have in your mind is the goal your behavior is programmed to maintain.
What is your Current Self Image?
Here is a good test to see where your self image is programmed: Picture yourself at the beach this summer. Do you see yourself ripped and muscular or as you look now?
If you see yourself as you are now, did you ever deviate from that image for more than a few months or weeks? Probably not. You may have gotten lean for 2-3 months but then you went right back to your self image.
The way your self image controls your behavior is by taking the form of your voice of reason. Every time you start getting better or worse results than you think you should get a voice in your head starts convincing you to go back to your old ways.
When getting lean you may get thoughts like:
- I’ve hit my macros perfectly the last two days. I’ve earned a cheat day.
- I think I can have another dessert today. I’ll eat less tomorrow.
- Wow I’m getting too small. I should stop cutting.
You must understand that those thoughts are not yours. They are created by your old habits, trying to correct the deviation from your self image.
How your Current Self Image was Created
Our mind is divided in two parts: the Conscious Mind and the Subconscious Mind. Both affect the actions of our physical body.
The Conscious Mind holds your mental faculties: reason, imagination, will, memory, perception and intuition. This is the part that thinks, imagines, and makes decisions.
The Subconscious Mind has a different role. First of all it controls the functioning of the body like breathing, pumping blood, healing wounds, and so on. But it is also the place where your habits are located.
The subconscious mind takes the repeated actions of the conscious mind and makes them automatic. The reason it does that is so that you can perform those actions without thinking, leaving your mental faculties free to focus on something else.
Let me give you an example you can all relate to. When you learn how to drive, all your conscious attention is focused on pressing the pedals, turning the wheel, looking in the mirrors, checking the dials – in other words making sure you don’t crash.
But if you repeat those actions long enough, they become subconscious and automatic. Now you probably can drive steering your knee while talking on the phone. When an action becomes subconscious your conscious attention is free to be directed on something else.
Your Self Image is Subconscious
Your self image is nothing but a multitude of habits and is located in the subconscious mind. It has been planted there like anything else – through repetition.
If you’ve been exposed to an environment where people always talked about poverty and how difficult it is to earn money, through repetition those thoughts have been planted in the subconscious mind and became part of your self image.
If you’ve been exposed to an environment where food is abundant and many people were overweight, through repetition those thoughts have been planted in the subconscious mind and became part of your self image.
For example, did you know that the chances of becoming obese increase by 57% if a close friend or family member becomes obese? That’s because you’re constantly exposed to their way of life and ultimately that becomes your behavior as well.
How to Change your Self Image
And finally we get to the practical part. There are two known ways to change the self image:
- A powerful emotional event
We all heard about those people that completely changed their lives after a powerful experience. A car accident, the loss of a loved one, public humiliation, an unexpected victory, having a baby, losing your home – any of these incidents can be life-changing.But we can’t control them. So instead of waiting for something like this to happen to motivate us to change our lives, we’re going to use the other way.
- Autosuggestion: Constant spaced repetition of your goal This is when you repeat an idea or image long enough that it is taken over by the subconscious mind and becomes your habitual way of thinking. Besides emotional shock, repetition is the only known method of influencing the subconscious mind.
For getting lean I propose two methods of autosuggestion:
1. Carrying and reading a goal card every day
2. Constantly watching videos related to fitness and personal success
The Goal Card Method
The Goal Card method is simple. It involves writing your major goal on a card that you can carry loose in your pocket and reading that as many times as possible during the day. It should be read at least two times a day, before you go to sleep and right after you wake up.
The reason you carry it loose in your pocket is so you HAVE to touch it several times a day and remember your goal every time. If you put it your wallet or in a drawer you will forget about it most days. Every time you read it, the image of yourself in possession of your goal will pop up in your mind. Repeat that long enough and that image will become your self image.
I picked up this idea from Bob Proctor and he picked it up from Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich the most successful personal development book of all time. Here’s how Napoleon Hill explains the way the goal card works:
Any definite chief aim that is deliberately fixed in the mind and held there, with the determination to realize it, finally saturates the entire subconscious mind until it automatically influences the physical action of the body toward the attainment of that purpose.
Your definite chief aim in life should be selected with deliberate care, and after it has been selected it should be written out and placed where you will see it at least once a day, the psychological effect of which is to impress this purpose upon your subconscious mind so strongly that it accepts that purpose as a pattern or blueprint that will eventually dominate your activities in life and lead you, step by step, toward the attainment of the object back of that purpose.
Napoleon Hill explains that through constant repetition the image of your goal is taken over by the subconscious mind and it becomes your self image. When that happens, the actions you feel like doing are those that will produce the realization of you goal.
In other words instead of getting the urge to cheat and go back to your fat self image you will get the urge to stick to your diet and get to the lean self image.
That’s what happens when you read and carry this goal card with you long enough! The image of your goal will dominate your thoughts and your every action will be directed towards the attainment of that goal.
How my Goal Card Completely Changed my Life
I first learned about this idea in the spring of 2013 when I was watching a video from Bob Proctor. At one point he said: “I guarantee that if you write your goal on a card, carry it in your pocket and read it at least twice a day that goal will become reality.”
When most people hear this they say “Oh come on… another bullshit infomercial.”
But I said “Hey why not give it a shot? I’m going to write a big goal on a card and carry it with me every day for five years. If it doesn’t work I don’t lose anything, time will pass anyway. But if it does work, I’m going to win BIG.”
Because I still in high school and had no idea what I wanted in life or what I enjoyed doing, I wrote down a financial goal. I said I wanted to earn 30k dollars a month in passive income by the time I’m 25 years old. That was a big goal for me because here in Romania the average monthly income is about $600.
That goal scared the shit out of me and I couldn’t see how it could possibly happen. But I kept reading the card every day.
Because of my goal, 2013 ended up being the most depressing year of my life. Every day my goal card was reminding me to ACT, to START DOING SOMETHING but I was afraid and I was constantly procrastinating. I felt like a failure and with that came the feeling of guilt.
But I kept reading the card.
And…yesterday my business achieved that goal. We made more than 30.000 dollars in sales with the launch of ShredSmart this month.
Whatever you write on the card and read every day for several years will become reality.
How to Write your Goal Card
Now, your final objection may be that X fitness YouTuber that you follow doesn’t read a goal card every day and look how ripped he is.
There are two kinds of people in this world that achieve outstanding success in any field:
- the unconscious competents
- those that became competent by choice and study
Your favorite YouTuber is almost certainly an unconscious competent. If you asked him why he’s disciplined and committed he probably couldn’t tell you. He loves fitness so much that it doesn’t make sense to them why other people wouldn’t want to work out and get in shape.
But if you were an unconscious competent too, you wouldn’t be reading this program. You need to use autosuggestion to “artificially” transform yourself into a fitness person. So you can BE YOURSELF and stay in shape.
That’s exactly what I did as well. Fitness was not always a passion of mine, I created myself into “Radu the fitness guy”. Unlike my friend Greg O’Gallagher for example who embodies fitness (he did pushups and pullups ever since he was 6 years old and started lifting weights at 13). Greg was an unconscious competent.
Here’s how my first goal card looked like :
Of course, it’s written in Romanian. The translation would be this:
“I’m so happy and grateful now that I earn 1000 euros every day!
In exchange for this money I offer the best services I’m capable of, I study and I develop my skills every day. Collaborating with multiple partners I create a system that functions without my presence and creates passive income from multiple sources. I offer excellence in everything I do and I only move on to something else when I’m done with the current task. I believe in myself with all my heart and I know I can do anything I set my mind to.”
That’s what got me off the ground. I currently have a different goal card but the concept is the same.
Here’s how to write a goal card:
- At the top of the card write your goal and a date by which you intend to achieve that goal. Be specific. It’s not sufficient to say “I want to look great”, you must be definite so the picture you get in your mind is clear.
- Underneath that, write what you intend to give in return for that goal. There is no such reality as something for nothing. Your goal will be achieved at the expense of your effort.
- Describe the conditions in which you want to achieve that goal. In my example you can see I described that those 1000 euros a day must be profits, not wages and they must come even without my presence. I also said I want to work with multiple partners, not alone. You must describe the conditions in the same way. If for example your goal is 8% body fat describe that want to get to and maintain that level in an enjoyable way, having delicious meals every day, eating out and being free to choose your meal portion and schedule. If you don’t define these conditions, your subconscious mind may get you to 8% by having you eat tasteless protein and veggies out of Tupperware every 3 hours and never eating out.
- You may place pictures of the people that inspire you at the bottom of the card (optional). I always found other people inspiring but you may be different.
Here’s how a fitness goal card might look like:
Once you reach your fitness goal you may change the goal card and set a business or personal goal instead. After all, you probably don’t want fitness to be the dominating subject of your thoughts forever.
Watch videos related to fitness and personal success
You probably heard of the idea that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. That’s true but it doesn’t necessarily mean spending time with them in real life.
If you can’t surround yourself with success models in person, do it through internet videos, articles and podcasts. You will unconsciously start to act like those people. For fitness, find a few fitness guys and follow them on YouTube and social media. I personally follow these guys. For personal success I recommend you follow any author or entrepreneur that inspires you. What I personally use is a program from Bob Proctor called 6 Minutes to Success.
This program is designed to send you short educational video every day on all important topics: personal achievement, money, relationships, education, discipline. The price is pretty high, it’s 50 dollars a month but for me personally it has been invaluable. I’ve been in it for 2 years.
You can also find many of Bob’s programs for free on YouTube. For example the Born Rich Seminar is available for free on their channel.
- The reason you fail to achieve your fitness goals is probably your self image
- You will never be able to maintain better results than your self image
- To change it, you must use autosuggestion
- The forms of autosuggestion I recommend are
The goal card method
Surrounding yourself with success models in real life and online
6 Minutes to Success is the program I use to expose my mind to good ideas every day. Bob Proctor’s material is what made me understand how our mind functions and how we can change our habits.
I highly recommend you check out this program. Here you can find the free presentation videos.