You Can be a Navy Seal Too!

I talk to my clients daily about how powerful our thoughts are. Every decision we make – whether to eat the cookie or the apple; go for the bike ride or watch television – come down to the power of our mind. At the fork in the road we are naturally wired as humans to seek the most pleasure yet conserve the most energy – which can result in us leaning towards the television watching. If this is a newer behavior, the pull towards the comfortable activity will be even stronger we can’t draw on any positive internal feelings we have around the harder activity because we haven’t tried it enough times to be fully aware of them. Not to mention work was stressful today, we feel tired after a longer commute home, we have dinner to make and laundry to do. It’s been an exhausting day and so we deserve to sit and relax tonight. We’ll go for a bike ride tomorrow right?

We are very good at justifying why we deserve to reward ourselves with indulgences, but what is interesting is that the instant gratification we feel after we chose to eat the cookie only lasts for a short period of time. We get a hit of endorphins in our brain but before you know it that feeling is gone. If we continually struggle to follow through with our health goals, guilt or fear of failing can build up so much that it starts to cause us more stress and we end up in this vicious cycle of making self-indulgent decisions.

I believe that guilt is an emotion we should not fear but rather welcome. I tell my clients it’s our internal accountability system. It shows up when we choose to go the opposite direction of our goal. “Hey wait a second, you said you were going to ride your bike tonight after work and now you are choosing not to go? Really? Are you sure you want to do this?” It’s at this moment we need to recognize we are in control of our decisions and depending on how we choose to look at it-we are the one making the decision to follow through with our goal or not. Nobody else is responsible for the choices we make. This is the pivotal moment where true magic can happen if we have the courage to be honest with ourselves and own our actions. If we can consistantly be mindful of this decision making process in any arena of our lives, we can achieve whatever we set our minds to conquer.

When my clients truly internalize this concept, their lives begin to transform in a way they never thought was possible by learning to celebrate their slow and steady accomplishments. This process doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t come without fighting through uncomfortable feelings. But persistence does pay off and when it does, it is incredible.

I always like to share real life scenarios with my clients so they appreciate they are normal human beings just like the rest of the world. So I was excited to share the story about a documentary I watched called “The Secrets of Navy Seal Team 6”. I was watching the grueling training program the trainees go through and kept thinking they have to be in pristine physical shape to survive this training program. The trainers were explaining only 25% of trainees complete the training program so the failure rate is very high. One of the most important aspects of the training program is to figure out where each individuals’ breaking point is. They are constantly throwing curve balls at them during the training process to see if they will break. This process is deemed imperative as they need to know that the 25% successful applicants will be able to keep a level head in real life situations, no matter what gets thrown their way. What struck me is that they said everyone thinks physical fitness is really important but 90% of the endurance required to be successful at becoming a navy seal is mental endurance. Can you believe that?!

So the past month I have been sharing this story with my clients and they have all turned into navy seals! The power is within each and every one of us to consistently make the decision to commit to the behaviour that is in support of our goal.

What are you waiting for?

November 5, 2014