Are you the victim or the master?
A lot of the time, we perceive things as happening “to” us. It’s a subconscious perception that implies that we believe life ultimately has mastery over us rather than the other way around. How are you perceiving situations? Are you the victim or are you the master? Overall attitude is a good measure. Day to day, do you feel happy and competent? Or do you feel despondent? Do you feel in control of your emotions and habits, or do they control you?
We as humans, especially living in an era of marketing and social media, have a tendency to employ a victim’s attitude toward our health, body image and fitness. Think about it: How much time do you spend complaining about the way your body looks and feels versus actively trying to change the things that bother you? It’s easy to feel stuck in a rut with your health, but remember, you are never stuck. If you’re bothered by the way you’ve been eating, you are always one meal away from getting back on course with your eating habits. If it’s a skipped workout, let it go and set yourself up to make it there the next time. If the rut is an accumulation of bad habits created over time, and you truly feel stuck, put yourself in a position where you ask for accountability. These things aren’t happening to you, they’re just happening, and you can change them to a large degree. The first step is flipping your mindset – beginning to say, “This doesn’t control me. I am in control here.”
If you consciously focus on viewing incidences as simply happening, rather than happening to you, you will find that although you may not have control over the actual event itself, you can control your reaction to it, directing your attitude, actions, and to some degree, the outcomes as well. When asked how she pulled out a win as an underdog in one of the coldest, windiest and most brutal American distance races in history, 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden said, “Control the controllables.” While all of the other competitors perceived the sleet and 30 mph headwind as destroying their race plans, Des not only accepted the weather, but charged ahead, running smart and focusing only on the factors she could control. Similarly, Macklemore, debatably a lyrical genius of our time, sang, “I can’t control life, but I control how I react to it.”
This truth is evident in even the most extreme cases, like the changes action steps and determination can make in the prognosis for cancer patients. Although most research says it’s a myth that simply having a positive attitude during treatment can have a desirable effect in prognosis, more research is showing that the will of patients to open themselves up to new therapy procedures, counseling and coping strategies can itself give patients the resolve needed to make saving steps forward.
We have very little control over actual occurrences in our life. These things have the power to make us unhappy, but even if we can’t change the actual circumstance, we always have the power to take steps in a direction we desire – whether that direction is better health, a better job, better relationships. If the same thing has been making you unhappy for months or even years, start telling yourself you can change it.
Especially in regards to nutrition, fitness and wellness changes, the New Year is a popular time for people to take steps in a new direction. If you’re unhappy with the way you eat, the way you look, the way you function or the way you feel, know that most of this is in your control, and you’re surrounded by coaches who are always willing to help you take the first steps to having the life you want.