Breaking the shackles!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Almost all motivational classes I have attended in India use the following analogy to explain perceived restraints. Elephant represents one the God's in the Hindu religion. Several (South) Indian temples, own elephants which are raised and trained to take part in worship, particularly during ceremonies and festivals and to bless!! people visiting the temple.

In most of these temples the elephants are kept chained when not being worked or trained (Personally I consider this an act of cruelty). The chaining is in fact used a means of training or conditioning the animals right from the day the calf is brought in. Studies have shown that, once conditioned so, even when the chains are replaced by a flimsy rope the elephant does not try to break it and that they rarely try to move away from the distance permitted by the original chain inspite of more length available. Mentally conditioned to the restraint!!

Mental conditioning or self imposed limits is nothing new, right? Well I have been thinking about the nasty habit I have - smoking. For several years now I have been saying, not meaning, that I have to quit but never tried except for once, long back, and failed. Maybe I had resigned myself to the failure and started thinking that I can never quit, that I am not strong enough, not determined enough to quit??

Last night I tried this little thing to break out the self imposed limits - the result was amazing. For 4 months now I have been consistently burning 250 calories (as shown in the machine) after 20 minutes of HIIT on the elliptical trainer. Not once I able to go past 260 cals. Was this because this was the limit to my endurance or was I limiting myself? Yesterday, I made a simple decision to keep my eyes closed during the high intensity portions of the routine (2 mins) so that I don't see the strides per min or the calories burned. Guess what? After 20 mins I had burned 330 cals!! Exertion level was almost the same as the previous day. The toughest thing was to keep my eyes closed every other 2 mins. Simple truth but it has made me realize that I can change myself for the better if I decide so and if I do not set limits, real or perceived, on myself!!

I had decided so when I joined SP and the results are there to see. I am consistent in my workouts; I eat healthy, well most of the time, but getting there. I feel really good about myself and it shows. Come Sep 24th (nothing special just a date) I will be free of smoking too.

I joined SP to make a lifestyle change and I am getting there. This would not have been possible, this soon, without the resources in SP and more importantly my spark friends - their support has been incredible. Actually, it was a spark friend who gave me the push that resulted in me setting the (smoking) quit date. Special Thanks to you, Vicki.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I liked the story of elephants with self imposed restrains. Thanks for the comparison. Good Luck with quitting to smoke. If you were in the US, you would see awful commercials that show what happens or has happened to smokers with actual people who are in the sorry state telling you not to smoke, would scare your pants off! You can do it and I have the full confidence that you will succeed in your goals. My brother stopped smoking after no idea how many decades of it, and is so happy! He had started a nose bleed which went away completely, his BP came to normal. If worse comes to worst, you could always go for the patch which works for sure although, an easy way out. My DH's cousin, who was like my own brother used to smoke like a chimney pipe outside the OR being a surgeon. He just decided to quit one day thinking what if there were no cigarettes available at all in the world!!! Genius...never touched again!!

    You go Sathish!! emoticon
    4196 days ago
    Hi Sathish

    Thanks for sharing your observation with us

    Every time we model an object, we define its purpose, characteristics and behavior. In doing so, we also implicitly define what it isn’t. The thing is, this holds true for all our preconceptions too - including who we are and what we’re capable of,and more importantly, who we’re not and what we’re not capable of.
    Most of the limitations we have are self imposed based on how we choose to see ourselves or how others see us and the labels which we have given ourselves.

    sorry could not stop myself to add my two cents

    4201 days ago
    I am thrilled to hear this, Sathish! You are one incredible guy and YOU are working miracles! And - the feelings are mutual!!! MY Sparkfriends are the best! I could not do it without YOU!
    4201 days ago
  • SAASHA17
    hey Satish,
    loved the blog..well its always like that..well why dnt u quit in intervals...well gud luck with it...and btw way to go on the calorie burn!!woohoo..

    thanks for ur comments on my feed..well i rarely get 10points and if u notice i have been on SP for almost2 hoon yaar!!!

    Well have fun and take care and please dont close ur eyes during workout..look away..or cover the meter with ur towel..tats what i do...

    4201 days ago
  • *MADHU*
    Vicki is one of the emoticon
    4201 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/27/2009 1:07:36 PM
    Excellent blog! And it is so true~ I do believe that we put self-imposed limits on ourselves and get into a comfort zone. And once that happens, it takes extra effort and determination to move out of our comfort zone. After all, noone likes to be uncomfortable.

    I recently quit smoking, so I totally understand the struggle. Good luck to you. And the Classy Quitters Team here on SP is a great place to get the encouragement you need! Good luck and congratulations, both on surpassing your calorie burn (moving out of your comfort zone) and on your decision to quit smoking.

    4202 days ago
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