The habit of who you are

Picture somebody going up to their friend and saying, “Hey do you want a cigarette?” The friend then says, “no thanks, I’m trying to quit.”

This is a pretty standard response, but we need to understand something about this as human behavior.

Let me ask you a question, is the person that said ‘no thanks’ a smoker? Yes, for sure, and they’re trying to quit, but the habit they have is that they are a smoker. We are clear that they are a smoker, and they happen to be trying to quit.

Quitting is a process, but as an identity, they are a smoker. By comparison, if you came up to me and said, “hey coach Scotty do you want to smoke a cigarette?” My answer would be an instant “no thanks, I don’t smoke.”

Do you feel the difference there? That’s a dead-end talking to me because I am a non-smoker. I don’t smoke. There’s no question where I’m at with that, and there’s no further conversation required. If you think back to the smoker who’s ‘trying’ to quit, there’s a little piece there where they’d actually rather still be a smoker, but they’re trying to quit.

If we look at the word ‘trying’ in the dictionary, ‘trying’ is defined as strain causing hardship or distress. That’s talking about examples such as you’re a trying young person, or you’re a trying young man, or perhaps, these are trying times, but that’s an association with that word. Trying also means putting effort towards something, but we need to realize that it’s weak and it’s not very definitive. Yoda always said “Do or do not; there is no try,” and he’s right.

What if somebody comes up to you and they said, “would you like a cinnamon bun?” (or a plate of cheesy nachos or whatever your non-health food addiction is), and you reply, “no thanks, I’m trying to lose 10 pounds, I’m on a diet.” We need to ask the question are you a fit, healthy person? Or are you an unhealthy or overweight person that is temporarily doing this thing to achieve this goal, and as soon as you achieve that goal, you actually can’t wait to go back to being a person that eats whatever they want?

Do you feel that energy shift? “no thanks, I’m trying to lose 10 pounds.” Grammatically, those are ugly words. ‘I’m trying’ says hardship, suffering, loss, ache, and challenge. The next part, ‘I’m trying to lose….’ There’s another terrible word in this case. Lose. Lose is negative, and loss is bad. Nobody wants to lose. We never want to lose; we don’t want to be a loser; we want to be a winner! That sentence is gross; it’s ugly, it’s deflating, it’s self-defeating, painful, and it’s temporary.

What if instead, you flipped it so that when somebody said, “hey do you want a cinnamon bun?” (or plate of nachos), you said, “no thanks, I don’t eat that kind of food now.” That’s a big change! That’s done. That’s a do, or do not situation now, it’s Yoda-like. It’s a stopping response.

If you ask an athlete “hey do you want to eat this (whatever unhealthy junk food)?” They will mentally switch it to: ‘make me sick and tired and reduce performance and training potential.’ Their response will likely be “no thanks, I’m training and I don’t eat that.” It’s a dead stop.

If we think, how would a healthy person answer this question and just embody that attitude. Saying, “I don’t eat that stuff anymore,” or “I don’t do that,” changes things. When facing the question, “would you like some of this” the answer is easy, “no, thank you, I really appreciate your offer, but I don’t eat that stuff now.”

You may, of course, run into a person (maybe family) that might play the game of ‘why not?’ but you could just say: “I’ve just made some choices now, and that food doesn’t support me for what I’m up to and so I just don’t eat that food anymore.”

It is fundamentally different. “I don’t eat that.” “I don’t smoke.” “I don’t drink.” “I don’t do drugs.” It is infinitely more powerful than “I’m trying to quit” or “I’m trying to lose.”

Just powerfully be who you want to be, and start that habit of simply being that person. You’re not ‘trying’ to be that person; you ARE that person. Be definitive and cut off the opening.

Can we ever indulge in the things that do not move us toward our goals? Of course. You are an adult, and you get to choose. Depending on the addictive nature of the item, it can be a slippery slope, depending on where you are in the process. When the new habit is fresh, it is best to avoid the temptation.

Happy Training!

Coach Scotty

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