This post is by Guest Blogger, Chad Demchik.Chad is an IFBB Men's Physique Pro, ACE certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach. Chad has a degree in kinesiology and health and a teaching certificate in physical education and health. You can follow Chad on his page and on Instagram @chadfitness. Read Chad's post below about how to use neuro association conditioning to set and reach your health and fitness goals.
One of the lessons I learned to obtain my goals is that you have to change how you feel about certain situations in order to obtain the end result. In other words, don't focus on instant gratification.
For example: Eating a box of doughnuts.
Short term effects: Tons of sugar, great and sweet taste, sugar rush, release of endorphins and instant gratification.
Long term effects: Bloated, sugar crash, excess in calories, uncomfortable feeling, guilt.
Your short term pleasure= long term pain on negative behaviors.
To overcome this battle, associate enough pain to eating that box of donuts in the moment. Then ask yourself if eating the box of doughnuts is in alignment with your desired outcome/goal? If you associate enough pain to a situation, you can overcome these temptations or struggles through Neuro Association Conditioning (NAC).
NAC is described as-
1) The need to avoid pain.
2) The desire to gain pleasure.
The brain makes neuro-associations within the nervous system that instantly determine the meaning of a situation, people, things and emotions. An example would be touching a hot stove. After touching the hot stove a few times your nervous system will associate the action with instant pain(negative neuro-association). NAC can help you condition yourself to make positive neuro-associations that will support your goals. This will lead you away from behaviors that may have been inhibiting your success.
Steps to get started: First you need to get leverage on what you want.
1) Know what you want/define your goal.
2) What do you need to change in order to reach goal?
3) Define what is preventing you from changing
4) Interrupt the pattern that has been holding you back.
5) Condition, create a new association.
For example- 1) I want to lose 5 pounds. 2) In order to lose five pounds, I need to increase physical activity, lower caloric intake and stop snacking on doughnuts at work. 3) The doughnut sitting on my desk each day at work has been preventing me from changing and I feel like I do not have enough time to go to the gym. 4) To interrupt this pattern, I will place the doughnuts in another area of the office where I do not constantly see them and I will do a workout DVD at home 3 days a week. 5) If I follow this plan I will feel more in control and I will be closer to reaching my goals.
Practical Application Example- GOAL: Exercise on a consistent basis.
10 Reasons- I will exercise on a consistent basis in order to…
1. Feel better, 2. Reduce cholesterol 3. Fit in my old jeans. 4. Etc…
Associate a negative association if you do not exercise on a consistent basis-
If I do not exercise on a consistent basis… I will increase my risk of heart disease, I will have less energy, I won't be able to do well in 5k, my stress will sky rocket.
Associate a positive neuro-association is you exercise on a consistent basis-
If I do exercise on a consistent basis… I will improve confidence, feel accomplished, etc.
Now make the first step and create a plan of action. Remember to focus on the journey and process, not just the end result! Things will not always go smoothly. Be flexible with yourself and stay as consistent as possible.