We all have them. Limitations that we place upon ourselves that more often than not become self-fulfilling. "I can't lose weight." "Eating right is just too hard for me." "I'm just not good at exercise." Take a moment to reflect and think about any mental blocks or barriers you have created in your life. It's basically negative self-talk, ideas or attitudes that you have developed over time that you are comfortable with. These barriers are either preventing you from achieving your goals or are serving as excuses for why you aren't. Either way, they need to come down.
Here's what inspired this post. I've lost a lot of weight over the past several months. I've also gained some muscle. Yesterday a friend told me about their chin-up routine and I basically said "That's great for you! I'm at a healthy body weight and fat percentage for me, but at 220 pounds, I don't see myself doing chin-ups any time soon. I don't have the upper body strength." He said "You can do it, you just need to work up to it."
That got me thinking...was this chin-up barrier physical, or mental? I was scared of trying and failing in public. I was letting my prior view of myself as a fat, out-of-shape person cloud my reality as a fit in-shape person. As I watched the other guys in the gym do chin-ups I always thought I wasn't in their league.
When I got to the gym this morning, I was a bit nervous and excited. Instead of starting with my normal assisted chin-ups, I went over to the normal (unassisted) chin-up bar and looked around. Nobody was looking. I held the bar and just hung there for a few seconds to gauge whether it was even possible to lift my weight. I read somewhere that if you jump a little first, that it's easier to get a start. I figured I had nothing to lose, I could prove to myself that at least I could do a single chin-up and work up from there. I jumped and was able to achieve the first...then the second, and a third, fourth, fifth, sixth and stopped at seven. SEVEN?! Sure, I didn't have the best form and I didn't lower myself all the way down each time, but I just did SEVEN chin-ups! Then as I did my circuit, I did another 7 and then 5. That's 19 in one workout.
So obviously my barrier was mental. It's a good example of how we let our minds get in the way of first visualizing then achieving our goals. This doesn't just apply to fitness, it is everywhere in our lives. Any time you resign yourself and tell yourself "it will never be any different, it will always be this way" basically you're building a mental barrier. I like this quote:
Don't let artificial mental barriers hold you back from your true potential. Rethink your goals, rekindle your dreams, and with your feet firmly planted in reality, test the barriers and break them down.