Like a lot of people, 2020 not only changed my life, but also my body. I gained almost 20lbs (the farthest place to walk in the house was to the kitchen). Since the start of the New Year I have made a solid effort to lose weight and get in shape. My daughter and I rock climb, so less “extra” weight and more muscle makes it more enjoyable and less torturous.
I try to run three mornings a week on the days we don’t climb. I have been struggling now for three months trying to increase not only my speed but also my distance without success. I asked sporty friends for advice. One said I wasn’t hydrated enough, another said I was just simply out of shape and needed to give myself time…isn’t three months enough time? I researched online, finding information about the importance of protein in the diet and the need to eat prior to running.
I made all the recommended adjustments to no avail. I even considered going to a doctor, perhaps I was dealing with a serious health issue that I was unaware of until now.
But it all became clear to me this morning during my run (more accurately my very slow jog).
My body had gotten into a groove and not the good kind.
My body automatically jogged the same way each time. After half a mile I decided to focus on my legs. I started to imagine my legs pushing off the ground with more force and control on each step. After a few minutes of focus, my upper body began to naturally follow suit. After another minute, I realized I was in a proper running stride. I was actually running…not slowly jogging, but running!
I realized I was the one holding me back!
I fluctuated back and forth between what my body had been used to doing and finding my stride, but in the end I cut a minute off of my time. My current pace when I finished running was half of what it had been the last three months.
I was used to doing something a certain way and no matter how hard I tried, as long as I continued doing it that way, I was never going to improve.
The moment I focused my attention on improving one aspect the rest fell in line. Like I mentioned before, I felt myself slip back into the old groove. I had to consciously bring myself out of the old groove and back into my new stride. I continuously reminded myself why I choose to run. I only have so much time and need to make it count.
Knowing I have been holding myself back during running, made me wonder in what other areas of my life am I unconscious limiting myself.
We can be stuck in the same mindset for so long that we don’t realize the impact it can have on reaching our goals and living the life we want. Sometimes it takes a moment of clarity, focus or inspiration to make us recognize we are capable of so much more than what we think we are.
I didn’t realize I was the one limiting my own potential!
"Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
We have all heard of limiting beliefs, but what if these beliefs are unconscious? How do you change something you aren’t even aware of?
The below article from Forbes is a great short read on self-limiting beliefs. It mentions awareness, meditation, and daily affirmations as ways to shift your unconscious limiting beliefs into new empowering beliefs.
Five-Minute Refocusing Meditation
This simple five-minute meditation can help to refocus an aspect of your life where you are struggling.
Sit in a comfortable position on the floor or in a chair, close your eyes and take 10 deep, slow breaths. Once your body and mind have had the opportunity to become still, imagine yourself in a situation where you are currently struggling (ie: a morning run, dealing with children, issues at work, etc). Put yourself in that moment. FEEL yourself there…the smells, sounds, textures. Take your time.
Check in with your body. Are you tense, anxious, holding anger or frustration? Take three deep breaths and consciously relax your body in this visualization.
Begin to change each behavior or interaction as it happens. Be very specific and focus on the details.
Change your body language (if your arms are crossed in front of your chest relax them by your side or reach out to the person you are with). Change the thoughts you are thinking and the words you are saying (if you are running down a list of past grievances, stop and be present in this moment, this particular situation).
Remember WHY you are in this moment in the first place (to improve aspects of yourself, better a relationship, to learn or to teach, etc).
Continue through each moment taking time to refocus your reactions and your emotions. The first time you do this five-minute meditation it may take time to consciously focus on adjusting each individual element. But the more you repeat the visualization, the easier it will get.
“Visualization plays a crucial role in most of the processes that you can use to influence and reprogram the way your unconscious mind thinks because its primary language is images.” – Catherine Plano
Do this quick meditation once a day for the next week or two. The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, remember to take a deep breath and return to the calm feeling from the visualization. Focus on the details of each moment and make a conscious effort to step outside of the old groove and into a new stride.
It takes effort and constant awareness to change old limiting beliefs, but to quote the now controversial Dr. Seuss “Oh the places you will go”.