As I started to write this post I immediately hit a block… generally writing is something that comes fairly freely to me. I find it enjoyable and satisfying. Today it appears I’m going to have to work a little harder to achieve that sense of accomplishment!
Perhaps a block or desire to procrastinate is a trigger you can relate to?
It brings out the mindless eater in me…
“Oh, I’ll just suss out the fridge… forage through the pantry… or have another coffee.”
Completely irrational. I’m not hungry I’m just following a long ingrained and unhelpful habit.
Once I become aware that the current trigger (Block = Food!) is not serving me, its time to find its alternative trigger.
A simple little switch.
The effective trigger for me to write turns out to be setting a timer for 30 minutes. Something about having a deadline, and knowing I can stop then, just makes it easier to knuckle down.
I guess it’s like compiling an awesome playlist to get you through your training session, 45 minutes of your fav tunes, no stopping, no skipping until you’re through.
You encounter numerous triggers every single day. Each can utilize either pain or pleasure. And each can work in your fat blasting favour OR to your detriment.
Utilising PAIN. I used to be seriously addicted to diet coke and protein bars. I’d turn to this fake-fix whenever I was feeling stressed. The thing is I felt like a hypocrite consuming that crap. Like I was as fake as the chemicals I was guzzling. So I created an intervention trigger.
An emotionally charged PAINFUL addiction breaker!
I consciously associated those fake foods with a person who I absolutely did not like, trust or respect. Actually that’s putting it delicately (I really detested that person) and he, as a person I considered to embody ‘fake’ became my trigger for those fake foods. I thought of him when I wanted them.
That was around 3 years ago, I haven’t had diet soft drink or protein bars since, and I won’t.
Utilising PLEASURE. Perhaps you have a song that is already a really positive trigger for you? It instantly takes you back to a certain time or perhaps a certain person?
Whenever you hear it you feel amazing. Use it. That is the song to have as your ring tone or perhaps to play just before you walk into work… or into the gym.
Let’s make this actionable in 3 steps:
If triggers are going to be at play in your life then make sure they are to your maximum advantage.
It’s about being more intentional.
First step is a trigger audit.
Take a day to recognise and ideally document when you are responding to a trigger rather than the positive outcome taking an action will give you.
Perhaps walking in the door is a trigger to eat as it was for me? …or going to the movies? …or watching your fav program? …or someone offering you food? (NOT taking the home baked cookie does not mean you don’t like the person offering it to you, it means that cookie isn’t going to help you get where you want to be with your health!).
Moving on from food, how about if your mobile is a trigger to check Facebook and email …just the sight of it gives you that urge to see what’s happening? Disabling internet access from my iPhone was a great move.
It means I now check social media and email at set times with a set intention rather mindlessly getting sucked in whenever I have a ‘free’ moment.
Consider these triggers:
Day of the week. Time of the day. Feelings. People. Events. Things. Senses.
Second, start small and decide the ONE current trigger that would be of most value for you to upgrade.
Where are you currently lead by a trigger to an action that is hurting your health AND now that you’re aware of it what can you do instead?
Finally, Emotionally intensity is key.
The only reason my fake-food-addiction-breaking-trigger (!) was so effective was because I utilised a whole lot of emotional intensity. As a side note this is a great opportunity to turn negative emotions to your benefit. It’s like the anti-mentor concept. Thinking of someone you DON’T want to be like can be a pretty powerful motivator!
I’ll share one more of mine to get the ball rolling however I’d absolutely love to hear yours?
When I first started as a personal trainer 8 years ago a client no-showing for their session became a trigger for me to feel crap. I’d be a tad resentful that I was there at ‘stupid o’clock’ prepared and ready to go for them… and certainly disappointed that this would set back their attainment of the goal they were working towards and likely make it even harder for them to get to their next session.
Feeling rubbish about something that is not within your control is an absolute waste of energy.
So I decided a client no-showing = more time for my own training.
Even if I had training planned for later in the day. It got me feeling positive again and gave me more time later to get other stuff done… like perhaps an extra nutrition strategy for that no-showing client!
It’s like the canceled meeting that becomes a trigger to waste time chatting or online or simply getting sucked into your inbox. Once you’re aware of the mindless ineffective activity that can creep into your day as a response to a trigger beyond your control then you can choose instead that a cancelled meeting (or no-showing client) = extra time to work on todays number one task.
At a simple level you can think of triggers as complex equivalence. Or is that an oxymoron?
Anyway (!) when it comes to having the best fat blasting advantage in day to day life I LOVE COMPLEX EQUIVALENCE.
A complex equivalence is when you make one thing mean another thing.
So ‘exercise’ MEANS ‘pain’ (not so effective!)
or ‘salad’ MEANS ‘boring’ (again, that’s a really limiting way to see it)
My question to you: “Are your complex equivalence and triggers making it easiest for you to take the actions that will give you the results you’re seeking?”
Here are some of my complex equivalence that do just that. I’m not holding them up as an example of what’s right (they are 100%-made-up-beliefs!) rather I’m sharing because they 100% get the results I’m after and you can manufacture equally effective personal complex equivalence.
=> Intervals MEAN I get to feel confident rocking short shorts.
=> Awesome food 90% of the time MEANS I get to enjoy as much red wine/vodka as I like.
=> Soy in my coffee MEANS flabby thighs.
=> Getting a lift home MEANS walking next time will be even harder.
Ok, over to you… and today I’ll be specific: I’m curious to know what ‘celebration’ triggers for you?
I believe taking the time to celebrate your success’s is vital – it’s a work in progress for me! – is it something that you do well? And, if so, what are the actions you take when triggered by a reason to celebrate?