Okay, the holidays are past, so there are no more excuses. Maybe you’re thinking about a trip south and dreading putting on the bathing suit when you know those Christmas cookies are puffing up your patootie. The ads for gyms and slimming programs are screaming at you to get your butt together – well, to get a hold of your butt – well, to do something about your butt.
Maybe you’ve been down this road before, enduring the diets and pouring sweat in the latest fad masquerading aerobics as entertainment. I like dance or swim aerobics of any form, because somehow if it’s dancing or swimming it’s a lot better than just gasping torture. And besides, it’s good to be fit, right? But on the other hand you’ve got life stuff to juggle and it’s hard to get yourself out to the pool or the dance aerobics class in the dead of winter. Ugh.
Around you there are people who can eat what they want, and never put on a pound. (I married one – what was I thinking?) Okay, so there’s stuff about metabolism and genetics that is just grossly unfair, but surely there is a way to make this weight thing less painful? Or to get off the hamster wheel of gain weight and torture yourself then gain weight then torture…
Since I’m all about self-mastery – and getting your subconscious to do the work so you don’t have to – I figure it would be useful to understand why the subconscious parts of you that control things like your metabolism, body chemistry, cravings and physical activity would want to sabotage your all-important relationships with your bathing suit, and your mirror, and your self.
An internal conflict occurs when you have conflicting beliefs or values. Now, here’s where it gets tricky – the conflict that occurs may not be about what you think. Here’s an example: back in the day, a few extra pounds were a sign of prosperity. Only the wealthy had access to enough food to put on pounds. Fashion trends come and go, with the ideal for the physical form as dynamic as hemlines. Your subconscious mind does not do fashion trends, in fact it doesn’t really do updates unless you learn to reprogram it. (Yes, you can reprogram your subconscious with important tools like Campfire and Unlock. Reprogramming your subconscious so that your behaviors support your goals is fundamental to self-mastery.)
#3 Internal Conflict: Weight and Wealth
Your subconscious wants those extra pounds to protect you, because your subconscious is all about survival. Your subconscious would experience a diet as a threat because it’s deprivation – okay, fair point – and it will actively interfere. Have you ever had that moment where you realize you just ate something, and you don’t remember eating it? Or, you are in the process of eating something at the same time you’re thinking you shouldn’t be eating it? What you are experiencing in those moments is your subconscious overriding your thoughts with the drive to survive. It’s not about to let you starve, and it doesn’t care if you could stand to lose a pound or twenty.
For your primitive brain, the program is eat when you can in case food becomes scarce, like the next crop failing or a neighboring tribe stealing the food stores. If you want to see the effects of this programming in action, all you need to do is observe common behavior at a buffet or a big dinner, where a lot of people are groaning they’ve eaten too much.
It sounds weird when I say that the solution to this internal conflict is to teach your subconscious that your food access is safe. And yet, if you understand the programs running in there, it makes sense – if your subconscious knows that you’ve got secure food, it won’t need you to pack on pounds. Your subconscious also needs to know your status is safe, so that you don’t need pounds to prove your prosperity. What could your subconscious be taught to recognize as prosperity instead of a bigger butt? (And doesn’t that explain a lot about SUVs?) You can use the Campfire Tool to teach your subconscious a new association with prosperity.
#2 Internal Conflict: Take Care of Everyone
Your subconscious is all about survival, and it considers the well-being of your tribe critical to your survival. Back in the cave the tribe helped with the practical realities of survival, when someone had to gather firewood while a bunch of other guys took their spears to the hunt. In modern times you have multiple tribes, including family, work tribe, friends, maybe a book club or the ladies who all drag themselves out to the dance aerobics together. Your subconscious programming was designed for one tribe in one cave. Until you reprogram, your subconscious really doesn’t get priorities or schedules. Your modern, cognitive brain understands things like ‘after work’ and planners and laundry day. Your subconscious will nag you about all the things that you have to do all the time – and doesn’t that explain a lot about what goes on in your head some days?
You could be the most organized person in existence, with the ability to manage all the people and demands you are juggling and still make healthy meals and get to the gym and coordinate your outfits – except then we’d know you’re really an alien, ‘cause that’s not normal – so for us humans, there are usually too many balls to juggle and often that niggle that there’s something more you should be doing, or something that you should be doing better. Those shoulds come from your subconscious, because it doesn’t understand prioritizing or scheduling, and it really thinks you should be taking care of everyone and doing all the things all the time. Since it’s impossible to do all of the things all of the time (unless you are an alien, which doesn’t count) this creates stress and stress causes fat.
Teaching your subconscious about schedules and priorities won’t work, because it’s not wired that way. What will work is defining requirements in a way that satisfies your subconscious so that your subconscious can support your plans.
#1 Internal Conflict: Other People’s Priorities
Have you ever had that moment when you’re feeling harried with your to-do list, and up to your eyeballs in something important, and you realize that everyone else seems like they could care less? Sometimes it’s the scramble to make the house look less like a frat house after a kegger and more like civilized people live there. Sometimes it’s the scramble to get things working at work when the people who have what you need to get your part done are busy changing their dental hygienist appointment. Sometimes it’s dear friends who decide to change the plans last minute as if you hadn’t juggled 47 things to make this weekend work. Meanwhile the kids are playing video games and really not interested in clearing their junk and the co-worker is doing a better job organizing a going-away lunch for someone than doing their job (and you can’t help wishing it was them going away) and the friends are really great people but they don’t seem to get that your life is too hectic for whims.
Every choice you make about your schedule and priorities is coming from your perspective and your values. As much as your perspective and priorities are reasonable and logical, there is no one else in the world with the same point of view as you. That’s it, right there, the stopping point. It’s really hard, because you know you’re right. And you are, for you.
Then the arguments start in your head. Surely, anyone wants to live in a clean house? Well, consider that it won’t be too long before your kids are off to live elsewhere, and frat house or not, it’s probably going to be a dump until… well, you’ll see, won’t you? They may take some pride in their own place, and it will look something like their bedroom… hmm. Okay, but you decided at some point to clean up your place, so surely they will too – well, but how much of your cleaning is for you and how much is about what others will think if your house looks like a bomb struck? Does anyone actually enjoy housework? Okay, but are they secretly aliens? Or do they enjoy the results of their housework, and that feeling of accomplishment that lasts for as many seconds as you get before someone gets hungry?
What about the co-worker? Shouldn’t they want to do a good job? Well, most people have jobs to earn money. Some people take pride in their work. Some people consider their social life at work much more important than actually doing the job – they’re usually last to leave the coffee-maker chat.
The problem is that other people have different ideas about what is important. And, even if they say all the right things, the real evidence of their priorities is in their behavior. The friend who reschedules your lunch date a couple of times is telling you much louder than any words that something is more important than you are. And sure, stuff happens like a sick kid or a car off to the garage, but bottom line – something else is more important than you are. Life happens, and you may have to reschedule too, but your subconscious is busy feeling threatened.
Any time something can be interpreted as a threat to your status in the tribe, like a change of plans or a co-worker who isn’t giving you what you need, or kids who bar the doorway with their sneakers and backpacks – all this normal life stuff is experienced as a threat by your subconscious. And now, threatened about your status, it will go looking for ways to secure your status like proving you have enough food for a big butt and generally interfering with your plans.
I think the biggest challenge is teaching your subconscious to feel safe with other people’s priorities. Since teaching your subconscious is the route to getting it to do what you want for you, I’m game. Are you?
Getting Your Subconscious to Do Stuff For You
How can you start? Try the free Allowing You Unlock Tool, which is designed to help you get out of your own way. If you’re not into meditation, simply play it while you do simple tasks like folding laundry.
Ready for more? Sabotaging behaviors are rooted in subconscious Rebel reactions, so use the Rebel Quell Intensive Workshop to learn to release those sabotaging behaviors.
Self-Mastery is about reprogramming your subconscious to support your goals, so that you can feel good about you. Why work hard when you can get your subconscious to do it for you? After all, it seems to get you to sweat and eat stuff you didn’t plan to eat and procrastinate for you, why not use it to your advantage? It can be a lot more fun going dancing with the girls when you feel good about you.
I like to do things the easy way.