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Fifteen ways to keep your Pilates practice on track!
It’s Brain Training for Pilates!
The Brain is a greedy little organ. It’s opinion of itself is so great that it wants to hog all the oxygen, glucose and nutrients of the body for itself. It doesn’t want the body to use energy in doing exercise at all!
This is the Central Governor model that explains why marathon runners collapse in exhaustion just before a marathon finish line! The brain is saying, “that’s enough! Stop! I’m not letting you do any more – I’m shutting you down” – this is why we can’t run ourselves to death – the brain stops us!
The brain is also a great excuse generator: “I don’t have time”, “it’s raining outside”, I’ll just have a bite to eat first”, are all examples of the brain telling our body to not exercise and use valuable energy.
So here are fourteen ways that we can strengthen your brain muscles so as not to make excuses so easily.
Repeating affirmations is a powerful technique sometimes used in psychology of repeating a phrase so that it gets drilled into the unconscious. Here’s an example from self-help psychology:
“It’s my life, my body, my brain and my choice. I can start to learn to be more independent and self reliant. I am overcoming my addiction to other people’s opinion of me.”
You can use an affirmation during the day. But, to stay on track, you’d have to repeat it, and repeat it often. Muscles that are used get stronger, now we’re strengthening our brain muscles.
Here’s one that might help you with getting your Pilates practice up and running on a regular basis:
“It’s my life, my body, my brain and my decision. I can start to take more care of my body so that it gets stronger and not weaker. It will last much longer helping me stay in good health throughout my life!”
To understand the power of repeated affirmations, think about the power of prayer in Islam in which the call to prayer is repeated five times a day.
Meditate and use imagination.
Take a few minutes to imagine yourself doing your Pilates practice. Can you do some Pilates exercises in your mind’s eye? Can you recreate the same connections?
I’ve heard from reliable sources that just ten minutes of meditation a day can have a very powerful effect!
Book a time in your schedule.
Set aside a rock solid, immutable time that you’re going to do your Pilates practice. Don’t let anything get in the way of it. See one simple trick that can help you with this: click here
Create a trigger.
People talk about triggers as a cause of bad habits, so why not use that same idea to create a positive habit? If your going to do your Pilates practice first thing in the morning, for example, why not deliberately brush your teeth beforehand, or create another simple everyday habit that funnels you into your new habit?
Share with a friend that will hold you accountable.
Make sure that your friend is reliable and has the necessary assertiveness to hold you to account without making you feel shitty (can I use that word?) about yourself.
Make the task manageable.
Is the challenge you’re setting yourself actually doable? If you know that you won’t spend 30 minutes on your Pilates practice, decide to do just ten. When you find that you can manage that easily, review the challenge and increase it.
Create a definite start (and end date if necessary).
Put things into place and a start date in your diary Create a sense of anticipation around the challenge!
Create an end date, so that the challenge is bookended and though it may feel almost impossible, there is an end in sight. That’s why the “One simple thing you can do that will Totally Change your Life” lasts just one week.
Find inspirational people to be with or watch.
It’s really easy to find inspirational people on social media and the internet. My long time favourite has been: Jean Claude Nelson.
Accept that you will fail.
We are all human. Be kind to yourself because it won’t all go swimmingly and there will be times when you fail.
Be prepared to get back on track when you do fail.
Good old fashioned grit and determination are powerful tools: exercise that brain muscle with old fashioned grit and determination and get back on that horse! What you practice, you get good at! So don’t practice what you don’t want to get good at!
Avoid situations that make failure more likely.
If you’ve planned to do your Pilates practice early in the morning, then don’t go out for a boozy meal the night before. You’ll be unable to persuade yourself to do much the next day.
“This too will pass”…
You never regret workout that you did, but you’ll always regret a workout that you didn’t do! This discomfort of fighting against the brain’s power to make us lazy is designed to persuade us to not be active and it’s very powerful! But it is transitory and will pass sooner rather than later!
Reward yourself for making progress.
Silence that inner critic and say lovely things to yourself if you find yourself beating yourself up about not being very good, or missing a day. How do you feel after a session compared to before the session? Say it to yourself, write it down in yor journal. Make it part of your (several times a day) affirmations.
Spend more time with positive people and less with negative people.
If you can predict that your pub buddy will laugh at you for doing your Pilates practice, you’ll be laughing on the other side of your face when,after a few weeks people start to notice differences about how you look!
Display your goals on your wall
It old fashioned, but it’s a way of getting consistent reminders about what we’re trying to achieve.