The Pleasure & The Pain

Today I ran two miles! Okay, it was more like a jog. 😉 I’ve been out of an exercise routine and it’s starting to make a difference around my waist line. So I’ve made a commitment to get back into shape. (It’s also a little easier because the weather is getting warmer and I can run outside!) As I was running today I realized why I haven’t been exercising. Because it hurts! It’s tough getting into a rhythm when the legs are burning, the breath is heavy and the brain is yelling, “Why are you doing this to yourself? Are you insane?!” Around the one mile mark I wanted to stop. And I almost did! But a thought flashed through my mind that made a difference.

The idea was “Get leverage on yourself!”. It’s a phrase spoken by Anthony Robbins. It means that if you want to make a change, you need to make the change seem less painful than what you already have. In other words, you need to make your current situation seem unbearable and envision your desired change as intensely pleasurable. As a result, you will propel yourself into action.

For example, when I was jogging and a part of me wanted to stop, I looked at my beliefs. I realized that I believed jogging an extra mile would just feel excruciatingly painful and wouldn’t really help me get into better shape. I also believed that stopping the jog would feel wonderful and pleasurable. Once I realized this, I found a way to change my beliefs. I said to myself, “If you stop now, you’ll stay out of shape and you’ll just get fatter and depressed.”

Immediately, a part of me became alarmed while another part of me sarcastically replied, “Oh really!”

So I added a sales pitch: “But if you run an extra mile, you’ll feel a runner’s high, a sense of accomplishment and healthier!”

I started to become intrigued, but the idea of continuing to exercise still seemed more painful than stopping.   So I added a visual image and a feeling to the thoughts. I imagined myself with a huge pot belly sitting in a darkened room in the middle of the day while a TV flickered the latest taping of  Dr. Phil. “This,” I said, “is what will happen if you stop jogging right now!”

I felt slightly upset. The idea of having my life dissolve into a depressed, gigantic mess was unbearable. So to perk up my spirits I thought about what life would look like after the second mile. I imagined myself as a muscular and super toned athlete looking at myself in a mirror while golden beams of sunlight poured into the room and made everything glow. “This,” I said, “is your destiny if you keep exercising!”

At that moment, I got excited. My entire body seemed to fill with joy, and I just kept running! The second mile wasn’t easy. I kept wanting to stop. But the new thoughts and images motivated me to keep going. Finally, I reached the two mile mark and I couldn’t believe it. I was flooded with joy and did the only thing that made sense at the time — I yelled, “Wa hoo!” 🙂

So what about you? What’s something in your life that could use some leverage? Maybe you want to get that bikini body you’ve always wanted (guys, you know I’m talking to you! ;)). Maybe you’re tired of the work you do and you want to pursue your dream job. Maybe your relationship has fizzled and you want to add more romance into the equation. Whatever it is you want, you’ve got to change your perspective to make it a reality. The fears of uncertainty and pain are what’s been stopping you. They’ve been making it easy for you to slowly suffer in resignation. So flip the tables! Start finding ways to see those extra pounds, that 9 to 5 monotony, and that boring relationship as uncomfortably painful. Make it so unbearable that you are compelled to take action to change it. And envision your desired future as incredibly pleasurable so that you’ve got motivation to stay in action. It all starts with a thought shift. So what are you waiting for? Get leverage on yourself!

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