Aug 30, 2019

The power of taking charge

"Take charge", "Take responsibility", "Be self disciplined" - these phrases have so much power that they make a tremendous difference in our lives, especially when it comes to our health.

Whenever my Yoga teacher goes for a vacation, I usually end up relaxing and skipping my practice. I would wake up late and do my household work without any hurry. Once the classes resume, I would realize how my stamina levels have dropped drastically. The first 3-4 days after a break would be so tough and challenging. This used to be the routine in the past 4 years.

When we got a break in Jul, I decided I would practice Yoga by myself at home. Though I did practice a bit, it wasn't intense and I wasn't pushing myself. Then a friend and I decided that we would practice together in the same place and at the same time as our Yoga class. We have been practicing regularly for the past 3 weeks and also been pushing ourselves (though not as much as our Yoga teacher). This experience has brought in a sense of happiness and accomplishment. 

I reflected on the article I had written earlier on willpower. The feeling of accomplishment comes from the fact that my thoughts (I want to stay fit) and my actions (going for practice when my teacher is not around) are in sync. 

Many people who follow my blog articles regularly have written to me asking, "What you are saying about junk foods is all very true but I'm not able to give up. I feel addicted to them and find comfort in them whenever I feel upset/sad/angry. What should I do?"

It is the conversation we have with ourselves that we need to change. If we tell ourselves, "I'm addicted. I can't give up on junk food", we adopt a victim mindset. We give more power to the junk foods. Instead, if we tell ourselves, "Junk foods are designed to be addictive. I take responsibility of my health and I don't want to eat them", we start adopting an empowered mindset. We are in charge and we decide whether we should eat junk foods or not. You notice the difference here?

Similarly, we have so many conversations in our day-to-day lives where we adopt a victim mindset and sulk in self-pity mode. I had written a detailed article on the same topic. Do check it out if you haven't.

If we observe the thoughts that run through minds, we can notice such patterns - "I'm so tired today, let me skip my workouts", "I'm emotionally upset, I need that piece of chocolate to feel better", "I had a tough week, let me binge-watch this series tonight" etc. The problem with these patterns is that the actions we take tend to have repercussions, mostly laden with guilt. The more we succumb to these thoughts, the more we feel bad about ourselves. 

Let's ditch the victim mindset and adopt an empowered mindset. It is a simple switch in our thought process, that's it. 

James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) shared a tweet yesterday that I found quite relevant in this context.

Let's start telling ourselves - "I take charge of my health", "I'm solely responsible for my health", "I'm a self-disciplined person and I motivate myself to get fit" on a daily basis. Trust me, you'll see the magic unfold in your lives.

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