You may hear me talking about the IBSHIC on occasion. That is the ‘Itty Bitty Snotty Committee’ that lives in your head and says negative things to you. Some people have really loud, vocal, mean IBSHICs and some people just have small whispers, but I suspect that we all have those negative conversations where we are hard on ourselves.
You make a mistake and those voices are right there: ‘I always do this, why can’t I get that right? I knew I was going to blow it, why even try…’ You try to drop some weight, but then you go to a friend’s and end up eating a whole bunch of whatever….. Next day on the scale, the number is up, and here comes IBSHIC: ‘you are such a loser, you have no willpower! You are going to be fat forever!’ I sure hope that your IBSHIC isn’t as mean as that…. But I can say that mine certainly has been.
It has us asking questions…. ‘Why do I always do this to myself?’ ‘Why do I gain weight so easily, when losing it is so hard?’ ‘Why can’t I be fit and healthy?’
You are headed to the gym, because you are TIRED of the conversation and decide to DO something about it. Boom! Flat tire. IBSHIC jumps in right away: ‘Why do I have such bad luck?’ ‘Why do these rotten things always happen to me?’
The next day, you get to the gym and sit in the car having second thoughts. IBSHIC says: ‘Why did I let myself get this way? Everyone is going to stare at me. I am so out of shape, why did I even think I could do this?’ ‘I hate my body.’
We could get really deep into the psychology of this but suffice it to say it is a weird form of self-preservation. IBSHIC isn’t necessarily bad, just an old recording playing over and over again, trying to protect us, keep us safe. Where you are right now might not be what you want, but it is what you know. You know how to navigate this life, because you have been surviving it for a while now.
The new ‘proposed’ life is scary. It is full of people you do not know, living a life you can’t imagine (yet). Those ‘fit people’ that look so great and have so much energy and look so happy. IBSHIC will say: ‘What if I fail?’ ‘What if I make a fool of myself?’ and all sorts of things…. With one purpose in mind – to STOP you. In some misguided way, to protect you. I wrote about this a while back, but after my near death crash at the world championships, I spent a lot of time and effort to find out WHY I crashed. My IBSHIC got programmed when I was a kid, and thinks I am a loser. When I was in the race and 10th in the world and working my way up the line, the theory is that my subconscious made me crash out of fear that I would succeed, and that was more scary than crashing.
The way through this is to start asking better questions, and there is a really powerful reason this works. Your mind, in particular, your sub conscious is REALLY good at solving problems and creating solutions. Your subconscious isn’t very smart though – it just does what you tell it to. If you tell it you want to stay safe – it will do that. If you ask it why you are so out of shape – it will look for answers and provide them. If you ask it why you have bad luck, it will look for things to prove that.
So if our brain is SO powerful, that it can go to work on its own, solving problems without conscious thought or effort, what if we give it BETTER questions?
‘How can I enjoy getting really fit?’ ‘How many new friends will I meet in Boot Camp?’ ‘What can I do to make my body strong and pain free?’ ‘What foods do I love, that will support my Best Body?’ ‘Why am I so healthy?’
What if we started asking questions like that? What if we put our super computer subconscious to work solving problems that got us to our best life?
If a negative comment or thought comes up, we must IMMEDIATELY reject it. ‘Thank you for sharing…’ and then flip the script and substitute the opposite of whatever negative concern came up.
Fact: The thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that we don’t consciously reject, we unconsciously accept.
Ask better questions, get better answers.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and the owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.