In the UK it will hopefully getting warm enough to venture outside again soon and no doubt many people are already starting to think forward to the summer and getting back in shape. However, the thought of eating more vegetables, less chocolate and running every day does little for our motivation (especially if you too are in unseasonably arctic conditions).
Well, have you ever heard the expression ‘healthy body, healthy mind’? What we need is to use our heads and find a fresh perspective on getting fit! As author Marcel Proust said, ‘the real magic of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but having new eyes.’
Step 1: Identify Different Points of Reference
Create a Mind Map, representing the perspectives of some very different people. You can use people who are directly involved with getting fit (such as a personal trainer or dietician) or, to really get those creative juices flowing, you can use completely unrelated or fictitious characters such as Harry Potter, the Queen, Captain Kirk, Leonardo da Vinci, a dog, an alien, to name but a few. The more varied the perspectives, the broader your base is for generating new ideas.
Step 2: Explore Each Viewpoint
Everyone has a different view on life. Consider how each of these individuals would view the challenge of getting into shape. Pretend that you are that person, and in this guise, think about what advice you would give to someone who wanted to get fit. You can ask yourself some of the following questions in order to think what each perspective would say.
•What would they see as the important factors?
•What aspect of the issue might they focus on?
•How would they describe the challenge?
•How would their description differ from mine?
•Would they even think it was worth doing in the first place?
Mind Map the different possibilities of what each person would say. Remember it doesn’t matter how absurd each comment may sound, as they can provide jumping off points for much better ideas.
Step 3: Generate New Ideas
Next step is to review your map and see what new ideas you can take from it that might actually work…
The Athlete is obsessed with being the best. For him fitness is something that comes naturally and he takes for granted. He wants to refine that fitness to be great at something. However, what I can take from him at my embryonic stage of fitness is to set goals, work with other people and learn new techniques. Maybe I could train with some friends or learn some amazing new technique like ‘dunking’ a basketball?
The Superhero sees the good in everyone and can try and motivate you. However let’s face facts, heroes like Superman didn’t really need to know anything about fitness because he could already lift up cars and out-run trains. What I can take from the superhero is that living a good life requires more than just physical fitness? Perhaps my focus on fitness should not be all-consuming.
The Teacher is there to educate you on what is a healthy daily diet and amount of exercise. Remember when we were children, we could not choose whether to do exercise or not, we had to do it several times a week in gym class. The teacher made us. What I can learn from the teacher is to do some exercise every day and to eat everything in moderation. So if I do some exercise and eat a bit less of the bad stuff I will inevitably start to be healthier and fitter.
The Doctor is an authority on everything to do with health and so is an excellent perspective to use. The main thing a doctor will focus on is the benefits of losing weight, the reduced risk of disease and illness. From the doctor I can gain more motivation through reasons to get fit and advice on what foods to cut down on. Perhaps looking at this as more of a lifestyle change, rather than a diet will keep me motivated?
The Father will be the most honest (and sometimes the most harsh) with you. They will tell you if you have put on weight but will also give the most tailored advice for you specifically. From him I get the advice to stop being lazy, but do something that you are going to enjoy. Indeed there is no point in me trying to get fit if I hate every minute of it, as this will just cause new problems.
Reflecting on different perspectives can help you to come up with new and inventive ways to solve any problem, not just how to get yourself fit. Sometimes (imaginary) perspectives of people that are completely unrelated to your problem can give you the best advice. Whenever your ideas have dried-up and you seem to be going round and round in circles give this technique a try to kick-start your imagination and take yourself in new and wildly different directions.
As one season ends and another begins now is the perfect time to effect positive change in our lives whether it be by thinking yourself fit or undertaking another personal development challenge, such as learning a new skill or language. Remember to always look at the challenge from multiple perspectives, and when you come up with a genius idea then feel free to leave a comment.
I’m off to the gym!← iMindMap 6.2 out now 3 Steps to Revive an Old Project →