By: Anthony Zataray

Have you ever tried to improve something about your life? Maybe tried to lose weight? Or perhaps get a better score on a video game or a better GPA in school? What were the challenges of achieving these improvements? What makes progress so hard?

Last summer, I finished up my final year of junior college and got a scholarship to play basketball at Greenville University. I simultaneously got offered a new job as a service technician for pest control in Colorado for the summer. Things were picture-perfect in my eyes, because at this point in my life I had accomplished my goals for my post-high-school three-year plan. Everything was going well, but then I became unhappy with my weight.

I stopped working out and began eating more because I was going out a lot more, enjoying my last days being home and being around my family. I fell into unhealthy eating habits and became lazy. During the summer, my weight started to show, and as I looked in the mirror it seemed to appear everywhere. I stepped on a scale, and I weighed the most I had ever weighed in my life. Spurred toward change, I did my research on diets and quickly started to follow one, I worked out one to two times a day, and I cooked my own meals. Within weeks, I lost a significant amount of weight and it was amazing; I developed an addiction to the process, and I dropped my weight down to the same weight as I was freshman year of high school. My muscle tone was great and for the first time in awhile, and I was finally happy with my body.

This might be a familiar story to some: working hard at the gym, having a strict diet, and making progress, but then letting all of that progress fizzle out because of other responsibilities. This is a shared human experience because everybody has a comfort zone. These comfort zones include video game scores, social atmospheres, GPAs, or scoring averages in a sport. These comfort zones fuel your self-image. If you remain inside of your comfort zone, it is impossible to elevate yourself above the image you already have. If you think you are an average student, then you can never become a great student.
To improve your self-image, you must stretch outside of your comfort zone by filling your subconscious with new thoughts and images, having your goals in mind as if you have accomplished them already.

Build up who you believe you are and focus on past wins and successes. This will help to build confidence and reaffirm a new self-image. It starts to redefine your self-image by challenging who you are, what you are capable of, and what you deserve. This is successfully done through constant repetition and affirmation. You believe what you emphasize; through repetition your subconscious will began to believe the affirmations. Then your conscious mind guarantees that your external experiences will match your internal belief system. This is self-image psychology.

Losing weight or gaining a new body image is not just about committing to a workout plan and a diet; it is about boosting your self-image. This is because low self-image means low motivation, and conversely, high self-image means high motivation. If there was ever a time you attempted something and came up short, it may have been because you didn’t truly believe in yourself. A self-image is a monitor of your comfort zone. It works like the regulator of an air conditioner in a room; if you set the room temperature at 72 (the comfort zone), the regulator will allow the room to get to 74 degrees or to 70 degrees before it either cools or warms up the room. The same goes for your self-image: it regulates your comfort zone. In other words, when the self-image gets either below or above its preset image of you, it will regulate it with either better performance to compensate or lower it to bring it back down to its fixed image.

So, next time you try to improve an aspect of your life, make sure that you use this knowledge to improve your self-image. Doing this will not only help with attaining your goals, but keeping them long term as well. Self-image is an undervalued aspect of achievement; every person that has great success has an astounding self-image because it automatically equals great confidence, motivation, and resilience. So start building and start achieving.

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