YOU have a choice. In every instant and every moment, you have a choice. Hopelessness is the feeling you get when you believe there is an absence of choice. The reality is that a choice, however limited, always exists.
You choose what goes into your mouth to feed your body. You choose how little or how much to move your body each day. You choose in what form you move your body. You choose how to fill your day and what to prioritise. You choose who to listen to and believe and who not to.
Yes, you choose practically everything, even when it seems like you do not.
Recognising, accepting and understanding you have a choice can often make a significant difference and in many cases, become a breakthrough moment.
It gives you ownership of your circumstances, be it good or bad. Some of us, of course, don’t want that ownership, so we will fight to hold on to the belief that we don’t have a choice. It’s easier, because we can blame something or someone else.
But once you have ownership, you can do many things and begin to create change.
If your beliefs are too rigid then it’s harder to allow change to happen. Some of our beliefs are so ingrained that they’ve become patterns of behaviour – default actions – and we don’t even realise it.
To have an inflexible mind, though, can create an inflexible body. I should know. My mind may be more flexible now than ever before (as an adult), but I spent years on the other side, thinking something was a certain way and adamantly defending it.
You cannot learn with a closed mind. As late martial arts legend Bruce Lee once said, “The usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.”
How does all this relate to the Amazing 12? I shall explain.
Every situation, especially the challenging ones, are opportunities for learning and growth. In the Amazing 12 those opportunities are plenty. But we have to choose whether to use them to help us rise or let them leave us defeated and deflated.
We also choose:
•What’s most important in your life.
•To give up or continue.
•To give your best or worst.
•To be positive or negative.
•To be open-minded or closed-minded.
•To learn new things or stick with what you know.
•To do what you are good at or work on what is your weakest link or makes you most uncomfortable.
•To fix a problem or let it continue.
•To go to bed early and be rested or stay up late.
•To tell the truth or lie.
•To be honest with yourself or to lie to yourself.
•To investigate what you are told or just believe everything.
•To trust or not to trust.
•To step out of your comfort zone or remain within it.
•To be committed or not be committed.
I could go on. Most, if not all, the above choices relate to the Amazing 12 Chichester and the journey my foursome are on at the Core Results Gym.
I’m now at the end of week 3 of the Amazing 8 for Catriona and Reg, while Jemma and Jade have completed week 1 of the Amazing 12.
I see progress in them all the time. But do they recognise their own progress? Do they prefer to reflect on what they did not achieve rather than what they did achieve? It, again, comes down to choice.
“I can’t believe how much stronger I have become in just five days,” said Jemma following the final session of her opening week.
“I can really see my progress,” said Catriona after one workout.
It’s certainly been a fun and interesting week. The groups have become larger. The personalities are so different. The strengths, weaknesses and levels of experience and expertise are varied. How they choose to respond to my instructions varies. How they choose to react to their own efforts and results is fascinatingly contrasting.
They all made a choice when signing up for the program, taking a decision, for whatever motive, to create change.
Some will resist the training and nutrition protocols more than others.
Jemma, 29, a combination of enthusiasm and anxiety, is often concerned about if she has done a movement properly or projects difficulty before she has attempted a task. She doesn’t want to let anyone down. Her lack of confidence at times affects her concentration. But I look forward to witnessing the change as her confidence improves.
Already I’ve noticed it. Even after one week she’s stepping up to the bar and getting on with a movement without giving me those am-I-doing-it-right? glances.
Jemma wants to be good and, like Catriona, is impatient about it. Jemma, almost excitedly, is already thinking ahead to the end of the 12 weeks and the results she may achieve, but I try to bring her back into the present. That’s where everyone’s focus needs to be for the best results and the most satisfaction.
For Jade, who’s a PT, good athlete and footballer, I see how she fights with herself to do her absolute best. She sets high standards. Maybe even unreasonably so and often feels disappointed if she doesn’t reach the target she has set for herself.
Catriona is similar. It makes me chuckle to see Catriona get annoyed with herself. I don’t mean that in a nasty way. I just know it’s self-inflicted and, eventually, Catriona will be at peace with it.
Jade, the youngest of the group at 22, dislikes cardio. Catriona loves cardio. Jemma hates to sweat. Catriona loves to sweat. Jade’s a sprinter-type, so doesn’t relish multiple reps (which is why it will be good for her to do them).
Big Reg, who is already talking about doing the 12-week program in September, doesn’t complain. “No matter what we’re doing, I know I just have to get on with it,” he said.
“The program is phenomenal. It’s incredible how your muscles are able to quickly adapt.”
Reg has already lost the best part of a stone in weight. Even if something’s a struggle, he gives his best effort. He is moving so much better, even though this week, working in pairs or small groups, Reg found it tougher going. The girls are driving him on. Having a training partner has a way of providing extra motivation.
Sometimes, though, if someone doesn’t achieve the number of reps I ask them to shoot for, they might label themselves (in their thoughts) ‘a failure’. Or they may think they are not doing well enough.
So I find myself a lot of the time trying to keep the boat steady, so to speak – to manage all those self-depreciating thoughts and stop them from spreading.
They are all very encouraging of each other, but often not enough to themselves.
For me to get results – both immediate and lasting – I try to help identify the areas which are holding someone back. Often, though, it’s in our heads. Our bodies will respond to the training – if our heads/thoughts don’t get in the way.
Training doesn’t just apply to the body. “One can’t build physical strength without mental strength.”
Therefore, choose what serves you best, not what works against you. That requires training, too.
Bruce Lee also said: “The mind is a fertile garden – it will grow anything you wish to plant – beautiful flowers or weeds. And it is with successful, healthy thoughts or negative ones that will, like weeds, strangle and crowd the others.
“Don’t allow negative thoughts to enter your mind, for they are the weeds that strangle confidence.”