How setting the wrong goal can make you fat

Something to consider when creating a goal to lose weight: the focus of your goal is more important than what you say you want. Most people who come into our studio often start with wanting to lose weight—meaning they want to get rid of the thing they don’t like (i.e. their love handles, flabby stomach, etc.). This is normal as it usually takes a strong dislike of something in order for the desire of change to happen. Not to mention, it has to be a big enough problem to create the willingness to pay hundreds of dollars a month to rectify this problem. However, one must understand that your brain thinks in pictures and concepts, not words. Losing weight often comes with the focus on getting rid of the fat, not getting lean, which are two totally different images. If I was to say the word “elephant” you more than likely saw the picture of an elephant in your mind, not the word “elephant.” If I said NOT to think about an elephant, you would still think about an elephant (in order to NOT think about it you have to first know what you are not going to think about).

Also understand that when you focus on something enough (consider how often you look right at the very thing you don’t like when you look at yourself in the mirror) your brain then is wired to find matches of that. For example, someone once told me that we see, hear or read the word “monkey” every day. I found that very interesting so it made a large impact in my mind. By virtue of it being a large point of focus in mind any time “monkey” showed up in my experience I took immediate notice. I have no clue how many times prior to hearing this that “monkey” appeared but now that it was in my awareness my brain filtered it out and it was now in my conscious awareness. This is done through the subconscious part of your brain.

So consider if your goal is to get rid of thing you don’t want (fat, flab, etc.) you ultimately have to focus on the thing you don’t want and that then becomes the very thing your subconscious will then try to find a match for. You can also think of your subconscious like your personal secretary whose sole job is to make your life easier by finding and bringing you things that you ask it to. But remember, you’re asking in the form of pictures, not words. Your brain doesn’t hear the words “don’t want” or “get rid of.” It takes its commands like someone who doesn’t understand language.

Imagine you have a secretary who does not speak the language you speak. Let’s say you want your secretary to get help you get rid of your love handles. So in order to help your secretary know what you wanted to do you showed her a picture of your love handles. You may tell her you want to get rid of those but because she doesn’t understand your language, she only goes by the picture (the picture of your love handles). So now she is doing everything she can to help you manage the picture you showed her. She brings you foods that would be a match to having love handles. She would line up activities that would be a match to having love handles. All the while you are trying to do things that you have learned are the actions to get rid of love handles—like exercise, dieting, etc. But because your secretary is in the background trying to help you run your life by lining you up with things that matched the command you gave it, you are in conflict. You are working against each other.

You can also liken it to a travel agent. If you simply told a travel agent you don’t want to be “here” anymore they wouldn’t know where to send you. However, if you knew you wanted to somewhere warm you would be heading in a more specific direction. If you could tell him that you want warm with palm trees as opposed to cacti then you would help narrow down locations. If you then told him you wanted to stay in the Caribbean as opposed to the Mediterranean you would be even more specific. You get the point. The more you know where you want to go and make that your dominant focus the more every part of you will be working toward success rather than the elimination of the problem.

In the next post I will offer some things to consider when setting your goals and some mental exercises you can do to help program your subconscious so it works in line with what you really want.

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