Sometimes our desire to change ourselves stems from a deeper place than the need to be healthier or wealthier. We want to change because we don't like ourselves. Often, we want to become someone we feel is more worthy of being honored -- by ourselves and by others. But to accomplish lasting transformation, the strongest tool we have is self-love.
Get faster. Happier. Thinner. Accomplish an amazing feat. All are common goals. But when we work from self-doubt, we can harm ourselves, inflicting injury by over-training, not eating, rushing progress before we're ready. Such setbacks can erode our self-confidence and stall our sense of momentum and hope. It's a circle of negativity, and we may think we can escape it if we just dig a bit deeper. But the best way out of negativity is positivity -- a sense of joy that is based on loving and honoring our selves.
Self-love gives us the inspiration and peace of mind to not only change, but stay consistent. Here are four tips for motivating ourselves not through self-doubt, but self-love:
Turn need into peace
When we need to change because we have negative feelings about ourselves, we lose our sense of inner peace and make way for fear and self-doubt. Return to a place of peace by telling yourself, "I'm OK, even with the things I may still want to change in the future, and even with the problems I may have right now." This works like vitamins for the body -- it nourishes the soul and gives it love, the starting point from which you can take better care of yourself, give more love to family and friends, and become more connected to mother earth.
Go for the "wow"
The Huichols believe mother earth is just as alive and loving as a mother who gives life and love to her child. The earth sustains and nourishes us with the power of love. Just as we foster our connection to family and friends, we can foster our connection to the earth. You've probably already experienced the feeling: looking at mountain peaks, or meadow grass swaying in the breeze. That's when your heart and soul are feeling love both for that place and from that place. In that "wow" moment, your problems and worries are replaced by a sense of love and powerful connection. That is the beginning experience of a fit soul -- a soul strengthener that will inspire you to keep going -- from a place of self-love.
Turn I can't into I can
Saying "I can" brings self-confidence right away. It washes away doubt and preempts the fear of failure, making room for self-trust, strength, peace, and empowerment. You're anchoring yourself by giving fuel to the soul -- which in turn sparks a desire to work out, to learn. It makes anything, such as a tedious tutorial or a boring workout, into something empowering. I can becomes I did, becomes I will again. That positive message brings resiliency and strength -- which enables you to keep making the changes you want to make.
Never be bored again
Boredom dulls the soul, robbing us of enthusiasm for what may come next. But the Huichol never get bored. To them, life is ever-changing, filled with remarkable moments they are grateful to witness. Even waking up in the morning is considered a simple gift. Basic routines are chances to experience something new. So when you do something you find boring -- a workout or chore, look for the tiny differences within. Consider that fact that doing it means you're alive another day. Remember the endless variations within the perpetual cycle of the seasons. When you realize that repetition offers the promise of amazement, there's no room for boredom.
Working on a fit soul is just as important as working on a fit body. You'll sense the improvements in both. The body becomes leaner, the soul calmer. The lungs gain power, the mind gains resilience. You run farther without fatigue, and tackle life's hassles without anxiousness. You lose weight and lose worries, make new social connections (such as workout partners), and deepen your connection to the earth. That's self-love. It will take you as far as you wish to go.
Hear Brant Secunda and Mark Allen discuss how to achieve Fit Soul, Fit Body at Hollyhock Vancouver. Public event, Friday Oct 2 (7-9 pm); Program, Saturday, Oct. 3 (9:30 am - 4:30 pm). For info and registration: www.hollyhock.ca
MORE ON HUFFPOST: