A few months ago a friend wanted to get in shape after the long winter (which is still not over around here, by the way!). She asked me for some general fitness and nutrition advice and it soon became clear that one of her major problems was to keep the motivation to stick with her program once she had started it. This is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome and it’s not to be taken lightly.
I see a lot of good advice in blogs and magazines about how to stick to your fitness goals, but as artists, we have a slight advantage in that our powers of imagination and visualization can be used to help us in a big way. And since the human brain is designed for the capability to have imagination, anyone can use this principle to their advantage, whether they call themselves artists or not.
Often when people feel they’d like to get in better shape, it’s basically conceived of as a goal. The problem with a goal is that it’s really a temporary thing. Like getting to a certain point and then you’re finished! Then it’s back to the usual. I was discussing this with Boris and he said, “When you finish a painting, you’re not finished with art. It’s just On To The Next Painting! That’s because you think of yourself as an artist—it’s your identity, not just a painting.”
If you want to make a commitment to yourself to live a healthier lifestyle and get the most out of your amazing brain (to produce more amazing art!), you have to think of yourself as an active, healthy person. I’m not talking about just repeating words like “I’m strong! Yeah, I’m a badass!” or something equally poetic, but really creating a feeling in your mind that it’s who you are. Think of how it is when you’re working on a piece of art, you allow yourself to be so absorbed into the world of your subject that it becomes reality in your mind. Do the same thing with the image of yourself as a healthy, athletic person and you’ll send clear messages to all of the cells in your body to act accordingly. If you remember to think this way consistently for a long enough time, your body will basically “re-wire” itself and these thoughts will be there as your brain’s default setting. It’s the first step and, though it may seem too simple, it can make all the difference down the road.