11/26/2012 03:34 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2013

Upgrade Your Mind's iPod!


A wise man once told me, "Be careful of what you say -- your two ears are the closest thing to your own mouth!" You may not be aware of it, but you are constantly talking to yourself. Sometimes you may actually find yourself talking out loud, but usually your voice is internal. This voice is like an MP3, a round-the-clock play by play (interpretation) of what's happening in your life, predominantly based upon your history.

The voice might be cautious and very sensitive to threat if you grew up in a chaotic environment like I did. Growing up not knowing where a threat was going to come from, my brain was conditioned to see threat everywhere! You might hear your voice say, "I don't trust my new supervisor. She's out to get me. I'd better watch my step," which is similar to the voice of a fearful child. It can sometimes be more benign: "Traffic light's green, time to drive on," similar to what a mature adult would say or do when the light turns. It can be a positive voice bringing you toward your potential: "That project looks phenomenal! You did a great job! You've outdone yourself -- you should take on a bigger one now!" focusing you on the good and possibilities. Day after day, client after client, I find that most people who struggle with their weight have a negative recording playing planting seeds of doubt and despair: "You're so stupid. You would never be able to have someone like him in your life. Oh, and there's no way you'd have the discipline to get in shape, either!" Your inner voice may just create a feeling, but it's the words you put to it, then meaning you give, that matter. Whatever the feeling is, you must learn to be vigilant in your interpretation of the feeling! We often interpret things through the lenses of our past experiences, what our parents and peers have told us about us -- things we had no control over! Your inner MP3 is a powerful force in your life, and what you may not realize is that you now do completely control it -- it's your voice on the MP3, no one else's, as you're telling yourself these positive or negative things now!

Our internal MP3 is a reflection of our beliefs about ourselves, and it will definitely shape how we respond to others and opportunities that come our way. If we don't flood the MP3 with positive affirmations -- focusing on our strengths, the qualities we admire in ourselves that we admire in others -- our MP3 may be a totally negative recording, saying things that then cause us to feel absolutely terrible about ourselves and our future, never trying anything out of fear of rejection, failure, and the idea that ultimately no one will love us. This MP3, if not properly re-recorded, can end up pushing us into a downward defeat whirlpool that culminates in depression, self-hatred, and even self-destructive behavior such as overeating or drug or alcohol abuse.

The good news is that you can reverse this downward spiral, no matter what or who originally began it. When you realize you own the voice, the mental "iPod" and the outlet it's plugged into, you can instantly change the track to a different one, ultimately changing the way you see yourself and experience your life. You can learn to turn the volume down on this iPod, or perhaps simply take it out and put in a much better one. We become that which we think about, so reinforcing the positive messages and bringing yourself to a place of self-confidence enable you to see and take advantage of all the opportunities around you. We get that which we look for. If you're looking for what's wrong because of the voice in your mind, you'll find lots to support the negative. When you begin to make a recording in your mind of what you're blessed with, your focus will change entirely, putting you into a resourceful state to maximize your innate talents and opportunities. When you start feeling self-confident, you're not looking for something to change how you feel. You are in a place where you are ready to be your best and achieve your dreams, whether those dreams are to succeed in business, sing on The Voice, stop your bad eating habits and take control of your health -- finally ridding yourself of that excess fat.

We become what we believe ourselves to be. Our reality is our perception. One of the strongest traits in human psychology is the need to stay consistent with our identity -- the way we define ourselves. The trouble is many people have let their history, their abusive parents and peers, define who they are and find themselves living out a blueprint they themselves never designed or intended. I know what it feels like to be told you're worthless, different, and a loser -- I once weighed 360 lbs and didn't have any friends or any self-esteem. If I had bought into that belief system, I would never have tapped my potential nor be living the extraordinary, blessed life I now live. When you believe you are a worthless person, you don't see a problem with being overweight, unattractive and unsuccessful, since you don't believe you're worth anything in the first place! "Why make time for exercise or try to lose weight? It won't make any difference," becomes your mantra and attitude. You don't deserve better becomes your core belief -- it becomes the lense you look through to see the world. Your actions will make sure you stay in that unhappy state to prove that you're right and you are who you think you are -- worthless! On the contrary, when you realize that the truth is you are a worthy person no matter who your parents were, what happened to you as a child, and that you deserve to be healthy, happy and fit, your actions will match with your beliefs and ultimately bring you to your goal! When you accept you can change in a millisecond -- the moment you make the decision to stop the bad choices and replace them with new ones, you begin to create a legendary life. But how do you make yourself believe something you don't actually feel? Aristotle said that by acting virtuous, one becomes virtuous. To follow that thought to its conclusion, you act confident and positive until you become confident and positive. In other words? You fake it 'til you make it! You look for someone around you who is living life to the fullest. How do they think? What do they focus their minds on? What actions do they take consistently? Having worked with thousands of people in attaining their goals, from Academy Award-winners to stay-at-home moms, I've found a key to lasting change is focusing on what's great about your life as it is now -- not what's missing or what happened to you in the past. Our culture has bred into our citizens the idea that people are broken, and some beyond repair, because of what's happened to them. That is not the case, in my experience! I have seen men and women who've been overweight their entire lives turn around in one moment through their interaction with me -- because we stopped the negative voice on their MP3 and put in a better one. No longer was the incessant, critical voice ringing through their head. In their moment of clarity, they realized who they really are and what they're truly capable of -- anything they can dream of!

A perfect way to start is by deciding to turn off the old MP3 and upload a new one. Start paying attention to what you are saying to yourself. For most of you reading this, you're no longer a child dependent on your parent's approval -- or anyone else's, for that matter -- to survive. This is your life, own it by designing it the way you want it to be. As soon as you hear something negative, stop and change it to something positive. If you see a picture of a fit person, for example, and you hear yourself saying: "I could never look like that," then stop that thought! Instead, ask yourself: "What do I need to do to have a body like that? How would I need to eat? How often would I need to exercise? How can I find out what that person does? In fact, I know I already do have a body like that, I just have a layer of fat on top of that great body and I have to burn through it!"

Get your goal to become a burning desire, a magnificent obsession that you think about constantly and work toward. Be conscious of how you speak to yourself. Turn every "I'm stupid" into an "I'm brilliant!" and distance yourself from the peers who don't reinforce the wonderful parts of you. Be careful who you let influence your thinking -- we tend to adjust ourselves to those we're around since we love them, settling for their expectations even if ours are far greater. Remind yourself of your achievements, no matter how small.

When you begin this journey, you may be amazed at how often you put yourself down. What is truly amazing is that you would never speak to your friend, your child, your cousin or neighbor like this, but you think it's ok to say these mean, dark, hateful and nasty things to yourself! Keep in mind that you will be living with yourself your entire life. That may sound self-evident, but think about it. You can never leave yourself -- no matter where you move, who dies that was mean to you -- wherever you go, there you are! Other people come and go; parents grow old and pass away, children grow up and move away; good and harmful friends come and go in and out of our lives, but you will live with yourself every second of every day. Why not make that relationship a positive one? Why not help and encourage yourself to succeed the same way you would help and encourage your child to succeed?

If your son were starting to exercise and feeling like it was beyond him, you'd tell him you knew he could do it, you'd tell him to just take a few more steps, or lift that weight a few more times. If your daughter were learning gymnastics, you'd tell her how proud you were of her and that it doesn't matter if she falls off the balance beam, that's how people get better at something.

It's time to start talking and treating yourself the way you talk to those you love. It's time to start loving yourself. It's time to change the MP3. The music and voices are outdated. You need to update your track as often as you update your iPhone or iPod! Unfortunately, most people update their iPhone more than they do their minds. A few months down the road, you'll realize you were right when you said all those positive things. You'll see all sorts of evidence supporting these true beliefs of your goodness and ability. You did succeed. You do feel self-confident. And you know you've got what it takes to stay there. Speak faith over your life and start to find the evidence to support you are meant for great things. Visualize your life, your body, your relationships as you want them to be. Focus on what's great about you and them already and build upon those things.

You are here for a reason. Our Creator, regardless of your religion, has a purpose for everything on this planet -- including you. Nothing is coincidental. You have a purpose, and it's your mission to live it -- start now by getting healthy.

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