Two Competing Sides of Your Mind

Simon Long

Simon Long

Simon is a highly experienced personal trainer and behavioural psychology expert
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By Simon Long MSc. Personal Fitness Trainer at Body Development Centre in Leicester and Leicestershire.


So tell me, does this sound familiar? You decide on a plan to move you towards your goal. You feel ready, motivated, good to go! But then, when the time comes to act, you find all of that drive has gone. That now, you only want to sit down, relax and make poor food choices. What gives!!


Well, it’s important for you to understand, that when it comes to making changes to reach your health and fitness goals, you have two competing sides to your mind. The side that makes the logical choices, let’s call it the Human. And the side that tells you not to bother in the moment, let’s call this one the Gremlin.


So what causes one side of your mind to drive for change, whilst the other encourages you to not bother? Well it’s all down to where their focus lies. You see the Gremlin is the older part of your brain. The more animalistic side, which focuses on your immediate pleasure and satisfaction. And truth of the matter is, eating the pizza over the salad, or sitting down to watch TV instead of going for a run, is always going to more tempting in the moment.


The Human on the other hand has its focus on the future. On what could be. This is the more evolved parts of your brain that allow you to ask “What if?”. This type of focus drives you to seek improvement. To become better than you were. It uses logic to work out what is the right path forwards and encourages you to set plans to work our how to get where you want to be.


So what do you do? One side of your brain is trying to convince you to be better, while the other side is convincing you to not bother. Well, the first step to success is to have a strong idea of what you are going to do, and when. You will find when you get there your motivation to follow through is low, but just ask yourself why you don’t want to see the behaviour through. When backed up in a corner like this, the Gremlin will use all kinds of excuses, but have a think as to whether any of them make logical sense. Chances are they don’t. So bargain with your Gremlin. Advise it that you will eat the salad first, but 5 minutes after you finish, if you still want it, you will eat the pizza too. If the behaviour is some kind of physical activity, then advise the Gremlin you will do 5 minutes of it, but if you feel like stopping after that then you will.


This might sound silly, but follow this approach, and you will find that more often than not, you make the right choice. It may not be perfect, but behaviour change never is. What it is though, is steps in the right direction!


I hope that was interesting for you! If you are based in Leicester or Leicestershire, and would like to benefit from Simon’s deep experience and education, then book in your free, no obligation weight loss and personal fitness training consultation today!