How To Defeat The Voice In Your Head That Wants You To Fail

The voice inside my skull told me this is too painful — retreat! Give up! Go back to bed! Here’s how I dealt with it.

Man with his hands on his head, thinking. For article by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

5 Weeks To Fitness Day 3

The voice inside my skull told me this is too painful — retreat! Give up! Go back to bed! Here’s how I dealt with it.

Yesterday evening I ran a slightly hilly 6km course. I felt much better than Day 1, but all the while, I considered how I could get out of doing the daily strength work and still save face.

I thought about dropping it entirely and doubling up tomorrow. I thought about dropping the third round because, well, you have taken on too much, Larry. I considered how if I kept to the challenging program, I would fail and that I’d be doing myself a favour if I accept that now. “Go ahead”, the voice in my head said, “cut today’s workout short, you’re asking yourself to do too much, this is too extreme. Besides, you’re working hard; you deserve it”.

So I thought of this public commitment, ignored it and kept going.

What is that voice inside that tries to destroy our chances of consciously making a change? It can’t be me; I know what I want. So who is it?

In everything, there must be a difficulty; without it, those things we wish for would drop in our lap in an instant. Where would be the enjoyment in that? Instead, there must be, as there is with all things in the universe, a gestation period. Momentum in the new behaviour must take time to build just like it did for the negative behaviour that must be replaced.

I’m reminded of a Buckminster Fuller quote;

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”

There must be challenge. To expect it to be comfortable is naive, and to give up because it’s not easy is weak and merely shows a lack of resolve. Yes, I accept that many people fail because they take on too much, but what’s lacking fundamentally in many cases is a lack of grit, determination, intrinsic motivation, and resolve to do what’s necessary — to enter the fire.

So instead, get comfortable being uncomfortable, because every positive change you ever want to make will be challenging beyond belief. There’s no way out of it other than to let it pass. It will get better, it always does, but to identify with it and call the pain yours will defeat you.

It has to hurt!

Besides, there’s pleasure in pain.

When we challenge the body, consistently push it beyond its prior limits, every cell is screaming. The tiniest elements of our organism are consuming fuel at a rate beyond what it ever needed before, exhausting reserves. Cells go pop like bubbles at a children’s birthday party, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So your body hurts for a while until it can find a new set point. When it does, the body finds homeostasis once again. But this time, your physical and mental capacity to withstand challenges has increased.

Keep this going and your mind and body progressively find a higher and higher set point — you become fitter and psychologically stronger.

image of 5 weeks to fitness day 3 stats by Larry G. Maguire

Stats recorded using My Weight app for iPhone. I enter my details here on a nightly basis, and the app produces a nice layout and graph of my progress. At the start of Day 3, all stats are going in the right direction

Stats from Day 3 weigh-in;

  • Weight: 87.4kg

  • Body fat: 15.9%

  • BMI: 27.58

Instead of weighing-in at night, after the days work, as I mentioned yesterday, I will weigh-in from now on in the morning. It makes better sense. This morning both weight and body fat are down, and I’m happy about that. Gains are good right now, but I have no doubt they will slow — I expect it. Here’s a graph of my performance so far.

Image of a chart showing my weight loss progress over 35 days

You can copy and download this chart and associated spreadsheet here. Enter your stats in the fields to map your progress or edit the spreadsheet to suit your needs

Download the weight-loss progress sheet here. (Open the file and click file > make a copy to make and save a copy)

Day 3 Food

Breakfast: This morning, I had a cup of strong coffee. I might have a banana before I leave and on the road, I’ll likely grab another coffee somewhere later.

Lunch: I probably won’t eat lunch, I’ll instead graze on fruit and nuts over the day.

Dinner: I don’t know what I’ll yet eat this evening. It will likely be meat and vegetables of some kind. I like the frozen sweet potato, parsnip and beetroot from Strong Roots. I might fry a few eggs and have them with these.

image of Strong Roots mixed root veg

Here’s a complete list of foods on my menu. (Click file > make a copy to make and save a copy of the food list).

Day 3 Exercise

There is no run tonight in my program; it’s all bodyweight strength work. Depending on how I feel, I might add in a couple of other stations just to push things out a bit.

Exercise for today

  • 3 x 10 x Pressup rotate

  • 3 x 10 x Jump squat

  • 3 x 10 x Front lunge

  • 3 x 10 x Burpee

  • 3 x 10 x Hillclimbers

Other workout options;

  • Kettlebell swings

  • Kettlebell snatch

  • Crunches

  • Pull-ups

  • Rollouts (from the knees)

Here’s a complete breakdown of my exercise regime for the five-week period. (Click file > make a copy to make and save a copy of the exercise regime).

I’m feeling good today. I have plenty of energy, and I’m still enthusiastic. Muscles are slightly sore, I know I’ve been doing some work. As things pick up later this week, especially on Sunday, I expect muscle soreness to increase.

That’s all I’ve got for now,

Until tomorrow, 👋

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write regularly on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters

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