Currently hemmed in due to the Olympic torch coming through Southwark, my thoughts have turned to the Olympic legacy. One of the government’s aims is that the Olympics will enthuse more people to get involved in sport and thereby increase the health and fitness of the nation. There is however a big difference between doing sport and watching sport – supporting your national or local teams...often by shouting at a TV in a pub, celebratory (or commiserative!) pints in hand.
Lucy Mangan quoted a survey in Stylist Magazine this week stating that 99.99999% of school age girls in the UK had been put off exercise by bad experiences of PE lessons and school sports. Can watching super-fit athletes (sponsored by McDonalds) on the telly really change such long held beliefs – beliefs formed on muddy pitches whilst being shouted at by over-zealous instructors and perved on by acne ridden boys?
There must be some truth in the inspirational effect of TV sport however – every year during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, my local courts are completely full of people failing to get balls over nest and grunting loudly. For about three weeks.
Stylist magazine also challenged eight of their team to take on sporting challenges they’d aim to complete by the first day of the Olympics. Only three succeeded. Various reasons cited for the failure of the remaining five included not choosing the right sport, laziness and fitting it in around work.
So what is the answer? How can the nation beat growing obesity with such little will-power and commitment? In my humble NLP based opinion, the answer is threefold:
1. Tackle the entrenched beliefs you may have about sport and exercise that were formed at a young age. Ask yourself questions such as – When was the last time I did sport? What exactly was it about it that I didn’t like? Is that still relevant today? Is there a way of doing it differently that would mitigate that thing that I don’t like?
2. Set well-formed, achievable goals – before committing to a sport and a schedule that is completely unsuitable which will only serve to entrench your beliefs about you and sport, look at it from a different perspective: How much can I realistically fit in with my workload whilst maintaining a social life? (If the answer to this question is ‘none’, I suggest a good look at work-life balance!). What sport best suits my needs? What milestones can I put in to review my progress? (Expecting yourself to become an Olympic athlete within three weeks is not a reasonable milestone!) What could get in the way? How can I plan to handle these obstacles?
3. Motivation – Look at your motivation to achieve your goal. What are the effects on your health if you don’t exercise? What if you continue not to exercise for the next five years? What will you think about yourself? What will other people think about you? What if you do achieve your goal? What will that do for you? How will people’s opinion of you change? Asking these sorts of questions will clarify and amplify your motivation to stop ‘laziness’ becoming a factor.
Health and fitness goals are often blocked by poor planning and ‘stuck’ thinking. To really achieve you have to have the right frame of mind. A few sessions with an NLP Coach can help you address any limiting beliefs, set well-formed goals, and address your motivation to make sure you achieve.