Dieting From The Inside Out
Mike Millner on Building Intrinsic Motivation & Learning How to Enjoy the Process | DFIO Ep.268
About Today’s Episode:
Welcome back to a brand new episode of Dieting From the Inside Out! Today, you guys are in for a really big treat—especially those of you who really love the inner work, the deeper psychology behind why it is you do what you do and why you're struggling.
Our guest today is Mike Milner. Mike is a friend and mentor of mine, a world-class coach, and a wealth of knowledge—especially when it comes to the deeper work.
We get into a lot on this episode and this interview is a bit heavier, but I know that, as always, you guys are going to get a lot of it.
00:00 Intro & About Today’s Episode
01:37 Our Sponsors
5:44 About Mike
08:01 On Being Stuck
13:04 Where Do You Start
17:33 Building Intrinsic Motivation
21:04 Why People Avoid Deeper Work
25:55 Why the Identity Shift is Important
31:38 How to Shift Your Identity
40:34 Where to Go From Here
44:54 How to Enjoy the Process
50:12 What Mike is Excited About
52:38 Outro—Freebies & How to Apply for Coaching
Transcript (click to expand)
Mike Millner on Building Intrinsic Motivation & Learning How to Enjoy the Process | DFIO Ep.268
0:00:00.0 Mike Millner: Since the dawn of time, time has always passed and random shit has always occurred. It is as predictable as anything else, they're two things that you cannot beat, and yet, so frequently we're like, "I'm gonna beat time and randomness. I'm gonna set up a plan where it has to be done in a certain amount of time and everything has to go right," and you're putting time and randomness against you instead of putting them on your side.
0:00:27.1 Jared Hamilton: What's going on, friends? Welcome back to a brand new episode of Dieting from the Inside Out, if you are new here, welcome to the show, I'm Jared, I'm your host of the day. Now you are in for a very big treat today, for those of you who really jive with this inner work, the deeper psychology behind why did you do what you do, why you're struggling, and if you really like this kind of like dieting from the inside out, stuff that we talk about, you're gonna love my next guest. My guest today, his name is Mike Millner. Mike is a world-class coach, he is a wealth of knowledge, he has been in this game for a hot minute, especially digging into this deeper stuff like we like to talk about here, which is why I wanted to get him on the show. Mike's a friend of mine, he's a mentor, and he is really, really good at helping people, especially when it comes to this, like I said, this is deeper level stuff. The psychology behind why it is you aren't getting to where you wanna be, why you sabotage unconsciously, why it's you...
0:01:19.7 Jared Hamilton: You'll be doing well and something happens you... It's like you go completely unconscious and you wind up right back to where you started, we get into a lot of that stuff. Today's interview is a little bit heavier, a little bit deeper, but I know you're gonna get insane amounts of value out of it, so you will want to stick around for the whole thing. Now, before we get into all of the meat and potatoes, so to speak, of the interview with Mike. I do wanna have a big thank you to the sponsors of the show. Sponsor number one is FlexPro Meals. I'm telling you the easiest way to my heart is to feed me, so FlexPro is amazing guys. I talk about it every week where it's one of those things when it comes to your food so much of the case is, it has to be convenient. If what you're doing is not practical for your life and it's not convenient, you're not gonna do it, but the reality is most people are trying to force this and it's not working. And this is why most people struggling who have schedules like mine, that's just crazy, it's unpredictable, you're traveling, you're bouncing around from place to place.
0:02:15.3 Jared Hamilton: You may have kids and you're running to soccer practice and dance and school, and overtime and work and all this stuff, so you're already spending time in drive-thrus. You're already popping into gas stations to get something to drink and like a protein bar or Granola bar. Well, things with FlexPro makes it even easier because they're shipping all these meals, they're ready to go, they're right to your house, they're macro-friendly, they're calorie friendly. They're made by a chef and they taste amazing. I can't tell you how many times I'm between calls going on my way out of the house, just getting home, and I just grab one, pop in the microwave three minutes and we're ready to go. And it keeps me in line with my goals, and it honestly also saves me money. If you're into saving money, you're already spending $14 a meal going through Wendy's drive-thru, and then you have to wait for the drive-through, all this stuff.
0:02:56.7 Jared Hamilton: You can't even go into a gas station and buy a couple of bars without spending 10 or $12, so maybe not bars, it just depends, but you get what I'm saying. It's time expensive and money expensive to just play the drive-through and stopping in game. At the end of the day, it makes it harder to get to your goals because you're gonna be in way more calories, you're gonna feel shittier, and it's just not gonna work out very well. So FlexPro, it just meets all these criteria and helps you on all these different levels. So if you're into that kind of thing, definitely check them out at the link below or go to flexpromeals.com, but if you use my code HamiltonTrained, past tense, yeah, there's the button around here somewhere, you'll save 20%, which saves even more money, which is pretty cool. Then we have our second sponsor, which is 1st Phorm. I have the logo with the little... The little, I mean the shirt with a little logo on it today. If you're watching the video, fun fact, you should be watching the video of the show on YouTube.
0:03:46.7 Jared Hamilton: But a huge thank you to 1st Phorm because like we were talking about with life being all over the place, and things not being so convenient, we need to put some supplemental things in our day-to-day, most people that we work with client-wise have a hard time getting their protein intake in, so having a protein supplement is really, really, really key. Most people aren't getting... There are like five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day, so having either like a green supplement or a multi-vitamin to help with your micro-nutrients is really helpful. Most people, if you're feeling... You go to the gym after work or first thing in the morning you're tired and something like a pre-workout helps. That's the thing is there are so many places where supplements are helpful or needed, they're never an end-all be-all kind of thing, but they just make your life better and more convenient when they are used appropriately, so if you're not sure how to use supplements or where to get started or what you might need, there's a YouTube video below, but also I want you to have a place where you can go to that you know it's the best way.
0:04:39.8 Jared Hamilton: It's the best stuff you can get, the quality's there, the safety is there, the accuracy is there, it's been tested, all of the things because the hard thing with the supplement industry is it's not regulated by the FDA, so this is where a lot of shady shit can happen, so company... There's companies like 1st Phorm who will publish their own third party studies on the product, their actual brick and mortars versus in someone's basement or whatever. I just wanna make sure you're getting what you need, that's high quality, that's going to make your life better and easier, it's not gonna upset your stomach, it's not gonna make you feel like shit. 'Cause that's the thing is a lot of supplement companies, that happens, so I want to have a spot where our people, our clients and my following can go to that I know they're taken care of, so that's why we work with 1st Phorm, and it's the best thing ever. Be sure if you are in need of that, want to look into that more. Go use the link below, and it means a ton to me.
0:05:30.2 Jared Hamilton: And as always, if you ever have any questions, I'm always here for you. Now, before we get into the episode with Mike, be sure and subscribe wherever you're listening to this on and yeah, I'll shut up now and bring Mike on and I'll talk to you in just a second.
0:05:44.7 Jared Hamilton: Well, I appreciate you doing this, man. I know this is very long overdue. I've been meaning to get with you and get you on the show, 'cause you and I both talk so much about the mindset, the head space, the psychology and 'cause like at the end of the day if that stuff's not in check, we all know that nothing magical is gonna happen long-term. Before we get into all those goods, if you would tell everyone a little bit about you, like who you are, your story, and all that kind of stuff.
0:06:06.3 Mike Millner: Yeah. I have been in the industry for a little over a decade. Started as a personal trainer, found that most people were struggling with nutrition like myself, and that was what led me down the path of becoming a nutrition coach. I now have a nutrition coaching business that I've had for about five years and yeah, it's called POP, Peak Optimization Performance. I named it after my grandfather, who I called Pop Pop, he unfortunately passed away right before I started my business, so I wasn't sure what I wanted the name to be, but I knew I wanted the acronym to be Pop.
0:06:39.7 Jared Hamilton: I love that.
0:06:39.8 Mike Millner: In his honor and it all kinda started for me through my own journey with fitness and nutrition and struggling with body dysmorphia and disordered eating, and just a horrible relationship with food and exercise and body image, and led me to a very dark place. I had been an athlete my whole life and was never concerned about the way that I looked or anything, I just had the typical young, fast metabolism until I didn't. I gained a lot of weight very quickly and did a lot of things wrong, the 1200 calorie diets, restrictive protocols, eliminating food groups, being obsessive and hyper-focused on clean eating and counting macros down to the gram and telling friends I couldn't hang out because I would stay home with my chicken and broccoli and all the things. And it just had a significant impact on my relationships, on my health, on my well-being, on my happiness, and crawling out of that dark place was what led me to wanna pay it forward. And I didn't know exactly what that would look like, but I had... There was a guy at a local gym, and he was like, have you ever thought about being a trainer? And I was like, well, I haven't, but now that you say that, it sounds pretty cool, so he kinda showed me the ropes and got me started and I really haven't looked back since.
0:07:51.8 Jared Hamilton: That's awesome, man, I love that. I didn't realize all, I knew some of that story, but that's how mine was too. I started off as a trainer and all that kind of stuff. So that's super cool. One thing that you said though, that perked my ears, and I think this is a piece most people miss in this journey, because I think when people come from a place they've been suffering for so long, they don't realize how bad it really is. It's kind of like watching your hair grow out, you just don't know until it's really long, but when you said that it was affecting all these other areas in your life, your relationships, your work, like everything, touch on that a little bit more if you would, 'cause I know, do you see that with your clients a lot, where their issues being stuck, can't get this shit figured out is bleeding into everything else?
0:08:33.8 Mike Millner: Yeah, yeah. I like the hair analogy, except for me it's my hair is falling out and it's happening faster than I would like. It's one of those things where I had a moment, I tell this story pretty frequently, my oldest sister almost lost her life to anorexia, and then she became an eating disorder specialist, so she's a therapist now, very well known, very well respected in the field of eating disorders and she sat me down one day for lunch and was like, hey, can we have lunch together? We go to the restaurant, I order a salad, like hold the croutons, hold the dressing, hold anything, just give me the lettuce and grilled chicken, but don't cook the chicken in oil or butter, just give me plain grilled chicken and some lettuce. And she was like "actually, this is what I wanted to talk to you about." And she was like, "have you ever heard of orthorexia?" I was like "o, what is that?" She's like "well, it's when somebody becomes so obsessed with eating a certain way and eating what they deem is clean, that it starts to impact their health and their well-being, and it can be pretty severe, significant.
0:09:45.6 Mike Millner: And I just wanted to bring it to your attention." And of course, I get all defensive and I'm like, "I'm just trying to be healthy and fit, and why can't I take care of my body and do it..." whatever, so completely fell on deaf ears. Anyway, I knew in the back of my mind that it triggered something, 'cause she was 1000% accurate, it's like when somebody pokes that place that you don't want anyone to touch and you're like, no, I'm hiding this for me, you're not allowed to see this. And she exposed it. It was really uncomfortable, and then I started to notice that I was married at the time, and my wife would ask me, "you wanna go out for date night?" "Should we book a trip?" We love to travel, and I just kept saying no to everything. I was the worst person to be around because I felt like if I couldn't control my nutrition, then everything would just fall off, and all this work that I'd lost 80 pounds and all of that would go out the window and I would gain the weight back and there was so much fear around food. And my wife at the time brought it up to me, it was like "you realize that we haven't been out in however many months, we haven't booked a trip and however many months..." She's like, "even when your friends from high school who you haven't seen in years you stood them up and you were fine."
0:11:01.0 Mike Millner: "You told him you were sick, I know you were fine." And again, I was defensive, and it's one of those things where the truth when it hits you and you try to push it away, it only is a matter of time until you recognize the pattern that exists, and noticing that there was a wedge in my relationship with my wife at the time, there was a wedge in my relationship with my sister, there was a wedge in my relationship with my friends, and I'm the problem, I'm the common denominator. What do all those things have in common? Those relationships they all involve me. So yes, I can say that it was a huge divide and it was something that I really had to come to grips with and face that reality that those choices and they were not serving me, and if I say that I value family. If I say that I value friendships, if I say that I value relationships, and I believed all of those things to be part of my value system, but yet my decisions are completely misaligned, so it creates this internal tension and this internal turmoil, where you start to feel anxious all the time, and there's this low grade stress that's always there and had to face it.
0:12:08.3 Mike Millner: We see the same thing with clients. If they feel obsessed and food has to be controlled at all times, and what do I do if I'm in a social situation, I don't know exactly what I'm gonna eat, and we feel... And they start to notice it's impacting relationships, and it's impacting how they show up at work, it's impacting their confidence in other areas. So when we talk about the mental game, that's why the mental game is where it all begins and has to be the foundation for everything. Because once that cloud is lifted, you're free and you're able to actually prioritize the things that you value, and it no longer becomes a question of, can I go out with my significant other, or can I hang out with my friends, or spend time with family, you know that's your highest value, if that's your highest value, and you know where that lives within your life. Well, you can also still prioritize your health and well-being and take care of your nutrition in a way that looks appropriate for you.
0:13:04.4 Jared Hamilton: I love that so much, man. I was actually... So I was at the dentist yesterday and everyone knows the last episode of the podcast was on what I learned about not going to the dentist after a decade and how that applies for fat loss, that's a whole... We already did a episode on that, but the reason for the story is I was talking my hygienist, because she's like, "Oh, what do you do?" "You're a coach, okay." And she brought up the thing, the same concern or issue around this that I feel everyone struggles with is she basically said, I feel like I either can do all the things, go to my family events, go on date night, but I can't get my weight under control, all the stuff I'm a foodie or she goes, or I can lose weight and eat right, whatever that means. But everything else in her life suffers like family, friends. For you, where does someone even start? They're like, I know like, "okay, Mike, you say that these two worlds co-exist, but I'm obsessed with food, I'm scared to eat. I don't even know where to start. And you said there's this magical land where they both co-exist and I can have everything I want," where does someone even start?
0:14:06.1 Mike Millner: Yeah, so it always depends on where they're at, so we gotta start with your point A, which will look different and everybody hates it depends answer, but if I'm plugging coordinates into a GPS, if I don't know my actual starting point, then the destination is irrelevant. We gotta know where you're at right now. And typically, what I look at is, what's the first thing that we can do that is for the love of the process? One small thing that is purely for the love of the process, maybe it's because something like a five-minute walk every day. And you just truly enjoy the fact that you get to unwind and clear your head and get outside for five minutes, we're really gonna focus on the process, it's not an exchange, it's not conditional, it's, hey, what is something that you want to be part of your life every single day, no matter what? And I call them anchors. These are the things that keep us grounded.
0:15:01.7 Mike Millner: When I was going through my divorce, I leaned heavily on anchors because the rest of my life felt like it was spiraling out of control, but I could get my walk in every day, I could still eat quality food, I can still drink my water. I had things that were mine that nobody could take away from me. We start with one thing, and to the point about your hygienist, it's like, I have to do all the things, that's the typical mindset. I do all the things and it works and I lose weight, but nobody can maintain all the things because you will always default back to your current foundation. What we wanna do is gradually build up that foundation over time. How do we do that? We focus on one thing. So again, if you do that long enough and you just keep adding one more thing and one more thing, eventually you have this foundation that's rooted in I eat quality food most of the time because of how it makes me feel. I move my body most days because of how it makes me feel. I actually prioritize stress management and getting enough sleep because of how it makes me feel. You fall in love with the feeling.
0:16:09.4 Mike Millner: It's not "I'm only doing this because I care what the scale says," it's not conditional, it's not "I'll do my walk, but if the scale's up tomorrow, I'm not gonna do my walk." "I'll eat quality food but if the scale's up tomorrow, I'm going back to fast food." No, it's not conditional, it is purely for the love of the process. And that comes from intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is, I do this because I enjoy it, because of how it makes me feel. I'm not doing this in exchange for a reward or a treat or a cookie, it's just that's extrinsic. When we do something for the external reward, then it can be a motivator to get started, but it's short-term. Intrinsic motivation is long-term, intrinsic motivation is, I absolutely love, I know you're big into Jujitsu, like you're doing that because you love it. It's for the love of the game, and that's how I am with tennis. I play tennis because I absolutely love it. That's intrinsic, I'm not... There's nothing that I get, there's no like, hey, we're gonna put your name on a billboard, we're gonna showcase how great you are at tennis, there's nothing. I don't get anything other than the joy out of it.
0:17:11.1 Mike Millner: The starting point is how can we gradually move you to a process-focused, intrinsic-motivated person that becomes the fit individual that you were meant to be. It's the identity shift that's happening alongside with those little tiny foundational elements, one thing at a time, and that's the starting point that most people don't like to hear.
0:17:33.3 Jared Hamilton: Yeah, no doubt. Is there anything that you found when someone... Let's say someone has spent... Most of the people in our community, I don't know about yours, has spent the majority of their life in the external side where they're like been hyper-fixated on the scale since they were little, or all they care about is fat loss, fat loss, fat loss and there is nothing intrinsic. They're like, I've never even thought about it. It's always been the outcome, and it's depending on if the scale spike, depends... Changes my adherence or not. Is there anything that you could say for people who aren't even sure how to get started, is it like a question prompt? Is it just deeper diving in? What can people that are listening do, that have spent their lives in the outside to start getting intrinsic?
0:18:15.9 Mike Millner: Yeah, I think the hard part is doing that future self work, which I think is really powerful, because if it is extrinsic, okay, let's start there, you wanna lose 20 pounds and that's the reward, but what is the actual reward of losing 20 pounds? What do you envision as that 20-pound lighter individual. What is that gonna unlock for you? And then people will start to identify things that they're associating with fat loss, because it's never just about losing 20 pounds of fat, there'll be... If somebody says, "well, I wanna lose 20 pounds of fat and when I picture myself 20 pounds down from now, I imagine that I will be able to be more active with my kids," or "I imagine I'll feel more confident in my bathing suit" or "I imagine that... My doctor told me that if I don't do this, then I'm gonna have serious health consequences," because there can be fear-based extrinsic motivation.
0:19:13.3 Mike Millner: And now we start to identify what are they associating with that number or with that outcome, and from there, we can then do a separate exercise of what do you want your future self to look like in terms of how do they look, how do they conduct themselves, what are the qualities that they have, what does their nutrition look like, really getting crystal clear with details and specificity of who is this person and what do they look like, how do they operate, decision-making, all of the things that make them, their...
0:19:46.0 Mike Millner: You, but it's you in however many years. But what is it that makes you aspire to be that future version of yourself? And now we can see if there's any sort of misalignment, if there's things that maybe you were putting weight into, no pun intended, like you're putting weight into something that may not actually be that important when you think about your future self. So there's a lot that goes into that and it all comes down to reflection and introspection and getting real with yourself and spending quiet time to actually unpack those things and maybe journal about them or it does help sometimes where you just, you can talk it out and just do like a voice memo to yourself and then listen back. And sometimes you'll hear yourself say things that maybe are not even your voice, and you'll hear it and you'll be like, well, actually, that was my mom telling me to lose these 20 pounds. She's been telling me that since I was eight years old.
0:20:40.3 Mike Millner: As we have a lot of clients that will unpack that kind of stuff, where it's not their own goal. I don't even know why I'm saying this goal, because when I hear it, I hear my mom's voice, I don't hear mine. It's like, well, what do you actually want? And now we can go down that path of developing the vision for your future self and then seeing... Now, we have the destination, we have our starting point, and now we can put the roadmap together to get there.
0:21:04.1 Jared Hamilton: That's so good. Why do you think so many people are so hesitant to do that deeper introspective work? It blows me away. I get it from where I'm sitting, but someone will be so quick to do a starvation diet or workouts every day or the craziest shit ever. But then when it's like, "I want you to sit with your thoughts for five minutes," they're like, "Nope, not gonna do it." Or journaling makes me so uncomfortable, but you'll go like, give up all your favorite foods for the next six months. I just don't understand. Why do you think people are so hesitant with the deeper work?
0:21:39.9 Mike Millner: Yeah, probably because we don't do a good enough job as a culture, society, at teaching emotional processing and regulating and sitting in uncomfortable feelings. And so I think that it's something that just becomes our normal operating procedure. Whenever there's an uncomfortable feeling, we're never taught to just sit in it and sit with it and identify it and acknowledge it, like feelings and emotions. And I had somebody message me today, and the way that she framed the emotion that she was feeling, it was like a problem. I was like, that's an emotion. It's not a problem. There's no such thing as a problem emotion, it just is. And it's like you, what your emotion and your feelings want, is they want to be heard, they want to be seen, they want to be acknowledged.
0:22:27.6 Mike Millner: So we all have our traumas, we all have our baggage. We all have stuff that we've experienced throughout life, and we often just stuff it down deep and we just keep plowing forward. And so when you start to poke around in there and you start to do some of that deeper work, it brings up uncomfortable feelings. It can bring up old traumas, it can bring up old issues that you didn't even remember, and now they're starting to come to the surface. And then when that uncomfortable feeling comes up, you don't have the skill, you were never taught, or you haven't practiced the act of just sitting with it and getting curious about it without judgment, just acceptance and curiosity and compassion and nothing else, I don't think we do it. There's a lot of things that I think we miss when it comes to education. We don't teach financial literacy. We don't teach emotional regulation. We don't really teach a healthy lifestyle, and I think that all of that kind of contributes to, well, I'm gonna just, it must be what I'm eating. It must be my discipline. I'm gonna try the next fad diet.
0:23:33.5 Jared Hamilton: No, man, that's spot on. I've, one, something that I've found myself saying a lot is, it's just suppression never made anything better. Avoidance never made anything better. A mental reframe that a mentor of mine started talking about, like this inner darkness is he's like, he used to call it inner darkness a lot, but we almost have judgment with that. But he just calls it the "unseeness." It's like, all it is is like whatever that gross stuff is, it's just unseen. It just needs seen by you. That's all it is.
0:24:02.1 Mike Millner: Yeah, as with anything. When it comes to fear, you're like, well, I need to overcome the fear. You don't have to overcome it. You have to acknowledge it and make friends with it. And then it's like, we're doing this together. Me and fear are taking this step together 'cause when you run from it, that's when it has power over you. Same thing when you suppress a feeling, that's when it comes back. There's a concept in psychology called ironic rebounding, which is, the more that we suppress, the more that the thing explodes back up even more powerful than before. So they had this whole experiment called the white bear theory, which is like, when you tell somebody to think about anything they want except for a white bear, naturally all they can think of is a white bear. And there was a psychologist that ran the study, and he had people like journaling while through the process.
0:24:48.7 Mike Millner: Their thoughts would be like, "all right, I'm gonna think about the sky. I'm gonna think about the weather today. God damn it, I can't stop thinking about white bears." It would just, and that's like the ironic rebounding, like you're trying to push something away and it just keeps coming back stronger and eventually it will win. So rather than play that game, just accept it and sit with it and get really curious about what it's trying to tell you. And it's funny what happens when you learn that emotions are fleeting and feelings are not fact, and you just can sit in the discomfort and it makes life a whole lot easier to navigate.
0:25:20.9 Jared Hamilton: Absolutely. I think it was... I heard on a podcast, I think it was Lisa Bilyeu, Tom's wife, talked about these things. She was talking about this stuff and she views it as a dance. She's like, "I dance with it." She's like, "I used to run from it," or like, "how do I overcome you?" It was one of the two, it was either dominate the thing or run away from it. But she goes, "you know what, I'm gonna dance with this bitch." And that was her entire model now around the unseeness stuff.
0:25:47.0 Mike Millner: Yeah. I love that. I think it's a great way to view it. I call it, make friends with it, dance with it, however you wanna frame it for yourself, just don't ignore it or suppress it.
0:25:53.8 Jared Hamilton: Nope. One thing that you mentioned that I always think it's a fascinating conversation and I've never heard your perspective on it, and I'm assuming I'm gonna love it, just be based off everything else we talk about. When you talked about the importance of shifting your identity in all of this, for you, why do you think the identity shift is so important for long-term progress, for whatever, intrinsic on the external, whatever, but that seems to be now a little bit hotter of a topic. Like I've been talking about it a lot. I know you mentioned it a lot, bigger names like Ed Mylett talks about it a lot, Tony talks about it. But for you in this realm, why is shifting your identity such a big piece?
0:26:32.0 Mike Millner: I think when it comes to goal achievement of any kind, your identity is at the core of all of it, because there's several mechanisms at play. If you have a specific belief system about yourself or an identity that you believe to be true, that you hold as this is who I am, and you start to act out of alignment with that, but you haven't actually addressed it. So it's subconscious, it exists within you. And again, this is something that can happen when you're very young and you start to develop these beliefs and a lot of times it doesn't come from your own perspective, it comes from something that was imparted onto you and you believed it. It became your internal dialogue and you repeated it so many times subconsciously that it became who you are. So the way that my therapist describes it is, it's an I am statement. I am not worthy, I am not lovable, I am not good enough, I am not successful. And whatever it is, we have this I am statement. And a lot of times, again, if it's a parent or an influential figure, that's where it begins and then you internalize it and it becomes part of you.
0:27:47.6 Mike Millner: Now, when you start acting out of alignment with that, your brain subconsciously is like, wait a minute, there's this dissonance that exists, like, this is who we are, but this is not what we're doing. And it will try to pull you back into that identity. So a lot of people are like, I don't understand why I self-sabotage or why I have these self-destructive patterns. And oftentimes, it can be traced back to your belief system and your identity. So if we don't upgrade the operating system, the belief system, the identity, then the actions will be short-lived. You'll be able to force it, but there's, like I mentioned, there's that internal tension that exists.
0:28:26.6 Mike Millner: And a lot of times, you don't really understand why it's there, but it's because you're acting out of alignment with who you think you are or who you believe to be. Who you believe yourself to be. So if we're not gradually trying on the new identity and ditching the old identity, that's where the actions have to go side by side with that shift that you're making mentally. I always say like, the physical process will not last if it's not built on a mental foundation. The mental foundation is who you are and your belief system. So if we're not gradually shifting that and identifying like, first of all, we can dismantle the old belief system. So if I have a belief system that's like, I am not worthy of love, then I can say, "okay, where did that come from? Is that my voice? Is that somebody else's? When was the last time I felt not worthy of love?" And I can go back and I can trace it and and I can think about past experiences that made me feel unworthy of love.
0:29:26.0 Mike Millner: And then I can sit there and objectively find evidence to the contrary. "Well, I've been in relationships before. I've had people say that they love me. I am a human just like anybody else and I feel like my... I feel like all humans are worthy of love." And now we can start to find the evidence that stacks up against that belief system and you can shift the way that you feel about yourself. And then we can start to adopt the new identity, the new belief system that I am worthy of love. I can be successful, I can do difficult things. Whatever it is that you want to believe about yourself, you can make that shift. You just have to have the actions, that back up the belief and those things kind of move simultaneously.
0:30:08.0 Mike Millner: I know James Clear talks about casting votes, however you wanna frame it, but what doesn't work based off of research is just saying things in the mirror that you don't, at your core, that you don't believe to be true. So if you still hold onto to that old identity and then you stand in front of the mirror and you're just like, no, I am worthy. And you don't actually go through the work of dismantling the old belief system and then trying to adopt the new belief system and then having your actions back it up. There's no amount of affirmations that can change that. You actually have to do the difficult thing, which is again, getting internal, getting introspective, finding the source of that belief system and then dismantling it with evidence to the contrary. And now we can start to rebuild and shift the identity, shift your belief system to something that serves the future version of yourself that you want to become.
0:31:00.0 Jared Hamilton: That's so good. I love that so much. I can't remember what governing body put the study on or the research on, but I was told that there's research now whereas when someone does that, they are just sort of like, what I call hollow affirmations. In the absence of doing the work, our internal bullshit meter actually makes the identity in everything, the inner dialogue worse. 'Cause it's like, "I'm good enough, I'm confident I'm worthy." And it's like, "no, you're not, you're a fat fuck that hasn't done anything. No, you're not, no, you're not," and it actually makes things worse than if you did the hollow affirmations.
0:31:30.6 Mike Millner: Yeah, I can see that 'cause it's like you're saying it and then your brain is not believing it. So it's kind of tightening the grip on the existing belief.
0:31:40.8 Jared Hamilton: So let me ask you this then. So if someone's sitting here like, okay, I get it, it's important, fuck, it's important. How do I even start on shifting my identity? Because I think this is where so many people with this deeper level content and this deeper level stuff that matters most is, it's in the world of intangibles, like losing 30 pounds is tangible. This water bottle drinking, this is tangible, but fixing your identity, fixing your relationship with food, that kind of, it's an intangible. So how would someone go about, if we wanna call it tangibilizing an intangible. I don't know if that's a word, but what are the steps for fixing your identity?
0:32:17.2 Mike Millner: Yeah, so we gotta figure out who we are. So try to answer that question. Who are you? It's an awkward one, like as a journal prompt, it's one of the most difficult prompts 'cause it's like, well I am a mom or I'm a daughter, I'm a son, I'm a brother, I'm whatever. And we start to go there first and then we typically go to, I'm a dentist, I'm a chiropractor and then we'd say like, none of those things are who you are. Yes, it's part of roles that you play, but let's keep going. And really it's then peeling back some of that stuff about like characteristics and beliefs about yourself and getting into experiences and patterns and what are the things? Think about moments, especially if you have a history of self-sabotage like I do, I can look back at those friction moments where I had to start back over and I felt like I was picking up the pieces and what did I just do?
0:33:16.5 Mike Millner: If anybody has ever experienced self-sabotage where it feels like you weren't in control and you almost wake up back at the bottom of the pit. You're like, how did I get back here? I thought I was gonna stop doing this. But there's so many lessons to be learned in the bottom of the pit. It's like, go back to that place that's really uncomfortable and identify, what did you feel about yourself in those moments? What was the internal dialogue like? Or even now, what's the internal dialogue like when you make a poor decision or when you do something that's not in your best interest? What is that internal dialogue like?
0:33:55.2 Mike Millner: So trying to peel back the layers to get to your current belief system is a difficult process but that's like the really... That's the starting point to make it tangible is, start to use that prompt and go beyond the surface 'cause you're gonna start surface level and then keep going. And then think back to those difficult moments and the patterns that have existed in your life and really start to find existing... Connect the dots. There's always gonna be common threads that go along with your life and you'll realize that, oh, this was because I believed that I couldn't do this, or I believed that I wasn't good enough, or I believed that whatever relationships leave clues. So those are all ways to kind of figure out what that belief system looks like. Once we have that, then we can dismantle it, then we can find all of the evidence to the contrary. And that's really like the most important starting point is peeling that back and figuring out what that looks like for you.
0:34:50.9 Jared Hamilton: I love that. I think that's such a big piece. Whereas I see so many people have issues being able to figure out what they want, let alone who the fuck they are, you know what I mean? Another thing that, the same mentor I was telling you about, his name's Kyle Cease. Kyle talks about a phrase he uses. He goes, "I don't care what you do, I care who you are." People are like, "well, I'm a mom." Well, no, that's something you do, that's a role you play, like you said. But I think most people are completely oblivious to who they are. And if we can't do that, then you can't change it.
0:35:19.8 Mike Millner: Yeah, I completely agree. It's not comfortable and that's why it's not like, here, eat these macros and do this workout and have a nice day. So there's often resistance and that's okay. It's okay to not be ready for that. But at a certain point in time, you'll recognize that that's probably been the thing that's missing, and then you'll go through the process when you're ready.
0:35:47.1 Jared Hamilton: Do you ever get, when it comes to clients, either clients or just people, like getting an advice from you that when you're talking about this kind of stuff, they're like, "okay, Mike, I get it. Identity, cool, inner game, cool, psychology, cool, but I gotta lose this weight now. I got a vacation coming up or... But I get it. I gotta do all this stuff, but like I really need to lose this weight fast." Do you ever have that happen and how do you normally respond to that when they... It's like, they're like, "yeah, I get it, this inner game shit, but I got this thing now." You know what I mean?
0:36:16.3 Mike Millner: Yeah. So if it's somebody that reaches out and we have that conversation ahead of time, I'll probably tell them that we're not the right fit. If somebody's like, "I have a deadline. I've got this event in like a couple of months and I just want to get these 15 pounds off for this event," probably we're not gonna be the right fit. So that's the first thing. If somebody comes in and they get through our filters, and they're like, "all right, I got you. But now that I'm in here, tell me how to lose this weight tomorrow." We just have a conversation about it. We're not here to put arbitrary timelines on things.
0:36:58.8 Mike Millner: And another lesson that I consistently teach is trying to fight against time and randomness. And those are two undefeated opponents that have never lost, meaning, time has always passed and if time is not passing for you, then you're not here anyway. And random shit has always occurred. Like those are two things that since the dawn of time, time has always passed and random shit has always occurred. It is as predictable as anything else. They're two things that you cannot beat, you can't win. And yet so frequently we're like, "I'm gonna beat time and randomness. I'm gonna set up a plan where it has to be done in a certain amount of time and everything has to go right. No random shit can happen. It has to be perfect and I'm gonna do everything right for this set amount of time and that's how I'm gonna set up my life." And you're putting time and randomness against you instead of putting them on your side.
0:37:54.8 Mike Millner: And so when somebody tries to set themselves up that way, I will tell them that we're going against two undefeated opponents. Do you think that you're gonna be the first person to beat time and randomness, like, random stuff will happen? It's not gonna be perfect. And eventually, even if we can white-knuckle our way through it for a couple months and get you to a certain result, we know that you're not set up for long-term success because you're gonna have to do everything perfectly for three months, let's call it. And then what, then what are we gonna do from there? And it's like, oh, well then, I'll dial it back and I'll try to find more balance and it's like, no, you won't.
0:38:33.0 Mike Millner: Because humans are very poor, they do a poor job at predicting future emotional states, we also do a horrible job of recounting or recalling past experiences. We tend to remember things a little bit differently than they happened, and we also predict things to be either worse or better like we either sensationalize it, like it's gonna be the best thing ever, or we over-generalize that it's gonna be the worst thing ever, and most of the time, it's somewhere in the middle. So the point is that we're really bad at thinking about after this three-month sprint where everything has to be perfect. I will, then I'll find moderation, then I'll find balance, then I'll find, no, you'll want even more progress, you'll want even more.
0:39:17.8 Mike Millner: You'll keep pushing the gas pedal because now that's how you're wired and you got the instant gratification, and now it's just feeding that mindset. So, to stay, I never have a problem with somebody who has aesthetic goals or wants to lose weight, if you wanna change your body, have at it, I'm never one to tell somebody what their goals should be, I just present the barriers of, hey, this is what you're asking for. I'm probably not the best person or we're probably not the best team to help you through that, because we really care about the long game and making this a forever pursuit. Through that forever pursuit, yes, there are times where we can step on the gas, there are times that we can push, there are times that we can dial back, but we have to do it through the lens of, we're doing this for life. And if we don't have that perspective than it's probably not for us.
0:40:07.9 Jared Hamilton: That's so good. I really hope... David, if you're listening to this, David's my producer, when you were talking about how much time and randomness are undefeated opponents, I want a clip of that so bad, like that was so... That 30 seconds, 45 seconds was so good. I want a clip of that, so David, if you're listening, I want a clip of that... That was so good, man. I think, I've never even heard that before, and I agree with it 1000%. That's so good. So let me ask you this then. So for you, for people that have always used time and randomness as a reason for not changing, or they're doing it the right way, do you think they should just jump in, it's like get over it, jump in, another every day that passes is another day you're closer to death, what do you say to the people who are insistent on waiting, is it just like... I know it's like, from a coaching standpoint, you're not the right fit, so for them listening, is it just jump right in, is it own what you can control? And forget what's not, what do you say to the people that are listening that are like, "Okay, what do I do then?"
0:41:09.9 Mike Millner: So the person that's like, I wanna lose 20 pounds in two months, and I'm in a rush and it has to be done by this date. And then they hear that they're trying to go against undefeated opponents, and they're like, Well, then what should I do?
0:41:23.2 Jared Hamilton: Yeah.
0:41:24.6 Mike Millner: Then you should focus on the process of what you can control and do it for the love of the process without looking at...
0:41:33.3 Jared Hamilton: I love that.
0:41:33.8 Mike Millner: The 20-pound result. And but the other thing is, don't change everything all at once, because it depends on where their starting point is, but assuming that that individual has a lot of habits that they could improve upon, they probably have some habits that aren't serving them. So the 20 pounds... And this is why I say like the randomness part is so important, because if I have all of this stuff that needs to be improved upon or can be improved upon, like "I have this 20 pound goal, okay, I know why it matters to me, I know why I want it. And right now, I'm not eating the best quality foods, I'm not really walking that much, I'm lifting weights, like maybe once or twice a week, it could be a little bit better, I'm not drinking enough water, I drink too much alcohol, I don't sleep really well, and I have no way of managing stress, my stress is all over the place."
0:42:25.6 Mike Millner: Okay, so that's seven things, right? And if this person wants to jump in and lose 20 pounds in two months call it, they're gonna try to change all seven things right away, so they're like, Alright, day one, they're gonna be totally fine, day one, they're gonna eat really well, they're not gonna drink, they're gonna get to bed on time, they're gonna manage stress, they're gonna drink their water, they're gonna be walk, strength train, everything, they're gonna check every box, day two, they'll probably be pretty consistent, they'll be fine, day three, they're gonna have an argument with Sally at work.
0:43:00.0 Mike Millner: And then they're gonna come home and their husband's a dick and now, all of a sudden they're stressed out and they're gonna reach for some chips, and now because they missed one out of seven, they're gonna feel like a total failure and they're gonna... Everything is gonna fall apart and they're gonna go back to their previous behaviors because they haven't changed anything, so there was no foundation, there was no gradual improvement... It was an overhaul. So the random event was like I got into an argument with Sally at work, or the random event could be your dog got sick or the random event is...
0:43:29.0 Mike Millner: You had a fight with your spouse. The random event is anything, it will always happen, and the random event, if you're trying to change everything all at once will cause you to fall off completely, and that's why I say like have a plan that allows for random shit to happen, the way that you do that is, you have your anchors that no matter what happens, I'm still gonna get a five-minute walk in today, I'm still going to eat some quality food, and I'm still going to drink my water, whatever the anchors are for you.
0:44:02.3 Mike Millner: But you're starting with maybe one maybe two, and you build those up over time until they become part of you, and so on the day where Sally is being a nightmare at work and you get into the argument, whatever, you still hit your anchors, even though some of the other stuff may have gone by the wayside, you didn't get it done that day. Doesn't matter. You may have skipped the gym, you may have had some poor decisions with stress or sleep, but you still hit your anchors, so you still won the day because you know that that's your minimum effective dose, to enjoy the process.
0:44:36.5 Mike Millner: To control what you can. So it's basically, we're gonna ditch the timeline, we're gonna focus on the one to two things that we can enjoy about the process, and we're going to solidify those and we're gonna do them no matter what, so when random stuff occurs, we're still gonna hold on to those anchors as the things that carry us through.
0:44:54.4 Jared Hamilton: That's so good dude... That's so fucking good. One question, and it piggy backs off of what you just said really well, whenever I have like a world class coach on the show, one of my... I have a question I like to ask everyone, and everyone's answer is different, 'cause everyone... We all agree that you just finished talking about how important the process is, how much we can tie these anchors that are process based, I get that this is to enjoy and all these things, and an enjoyment of the process being so pivotal. And we hear that term used a lot, a lot, enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, but I don't hear a lot of people talking on like a tangible way to actually enjoy the process, 'cause most people hate the process. So for you, what are some ways people, like how does someone who hates the process learn to enjoy it?
0:45:38.7 Mike Millner: Well, I would wanna know why do they hate the process? And what do they hate about it? Because if you hate going for a five-minute walk outside every day, tell me what you hate about that, you might say like, "Oh well, I hate it because... Sometimes it's really cold here." Okay, is there any value that you get out of that five-minute cold walk when you come in and like appreciate the fact that you can still move your body and get outside for five minutes even when it's cold, or can you shift that and do a five-minute indoor walk and still feel good about it.
0:46:14.0 Mike Millner: What particularly do you hate about walking, or what do you hate about eating quality food, or what do you hate about drinking water, what do you hate about the exercise that you're doing, that would be a conversation where if somebody's like, I just hate lifting weights, like cool don't do that, like let's find a different way to move your body that you actually enjoy, there's something there in the process that you can appreciate now, like it doesn't have to be... I think sometimes we get confused that joy and fulfillment and value or worth, or however you wanna frame it doesn't necessarily mean that every single day you're gonna be like, yes, I can't wait for this five-minute walk, I can't wait to get to the gym today, I can't wait to eat this meal that I prepared for myself.
0:46:57.8 Mike Millner: It's not that. It's appreciating how you feel because you do these things for yourself, not like elation or whatever, it's just an appreciation for the process, there is value that you get from doing these things for yourself, there is a sense of maybe challenge as well. So like I know for me, I don't love going to the gym, but I do love the idea of challenging myself with something that never gets easier, and I think that that's like if I can do something difficult, even though I'm not like...
0:47:31.9 Mike Millner: Like when I play tennis, I get really excited about playing tennis. When I go to the gym, I'm not excited at all about going to the gym, but I go in with the mindset of, I get to do something really difficult today and prove to myself again that I can challenge myself, that I can do it and I can push through it and I survive every time. So there's value there, it's not elation, it's not excitement, but there's value and worth, and I'll even call it joy, even though I'm not thrilled while I'm at the gym, but there's joy in the challenge, and I think so, it's like when somebody scales a mountain, they're not going through this grueling process being like with a smile on their face, like I'm so happy that I'm dripping sweat, my muscles are aching, like they just know that it's worthy because of the pursuit. So I think that sometimes we confuse the idea of enjoying the process of like, I have to be so excited about the process every day, that's just not gonna be the case.
0:48:27.0 Jared Hamilton: That's so good. That mental re-frame is so powerful 'cause it changes meanings. Right. I think it was... Was it... You remind me of a... It's a quote by one of the big big boy athletes, I don't think it was Kobe or Jordan, I wanna say it was... I think it was Ali. Muhammad Ali that said, "I hated every single day of training, but I just love being a champion," he goes like "I hated every single day of training, but being the best in the world, that's all I cared about." And he was... Because of that, he was able to go train every day, I think... Was it Muhammad Ali, or was it... I know you have Kobe behind you, but...
0:48:58.9 Mike Millner: Yeah.
0:49:00.1 Jared Hamilton: Or was it Kobe that said that?
0:49:00.1 Mike Millner: That sounds like an Ali quote, I would bet that was Ali.
0:49:03.1 Jared Hamilton: Yeah, all those guys are cut from the same cloth, you know what I mean? So...
0:49:07.3 Mike Millner: There is a lot of worth in that though... Like that frame is important. I'm going through a dieting phase right now, and I hate dieting and I don't do it very frequently, but there's like the challenge and wanting to see my body change and pushing myself in that regard. I don't like it. Like I enjoy food, I like to eat, I don't like when my calories are low, but I really do get value and almost joy in the pursuit of like, Let me see what I can do, let me see what I'm made of.
0:49:36.0 Mike Millner: And I know that it's not... I know that this part isn't the sustainable part, this is the time where, like Alright, we are pushing the gas pedal a little bit, and like I do wanna see if I can accomplish this, and then it's just another little vote or body of evidence that I can get uncomfortable and I can prevail and I can be persistent and resilient, and all the things that I'm trying to continue build and reinforce, it's just like another piece of that, so I view it as such... I don't view it as deprivation, I don't view it as misery, I just... It's not fun, but it's valuable. If that makes sense.
0:50:13.8 Jared Hamilton: Mm-hmm. No, for sure, for sure. Final question, this could be business, personal, whatever. I know you kind of touched on you're dieting right now, but what are you working on right now that you're excited about?
0:50:24.5 Mike Millner: Oh...
0:50:24.6 Jared Hamilton: The life of Mike, whether it be work or personal or whatever...
0:50:29.3 Mike Millner: Yeah, so in my personal life, I could start there. I'm excited 'cause I'm getting married in a couple of months...
0:50:36.1 Jared Hamilton: There you go.
0:50:38.4 Mike Millner: That's a big deal. So I'm happy with where my relationship is with my fiance, she has three kids, that is another process of reward and value and something that's very challenging that has helped me grow in ways that I could have never imagined, and definitely an area that was not natural for me, so I had to develop that skill set and really get uncomfortable and figure out how to connect with three kids at different ages and different personalities, and so that's been... That's been a rewarding experience, so personal life.
0:51:13.3 Mike Millner: That's what I'm working on, that's what I'm looking forward to. And then business, I would say things are kind of status quo, but there's some stuff that I'm doing more on the writing side of things, which I really love, I enjoy the creative pursuit of writing, I do it every single morning, and there's more that I'm doing in that area that is kind of developing and starting to become more of a regular theme that I'm pursuing with just another skill set that I've developed that I can pay forward that I'm trying to help others with.
0:51:46.5 Jared Hamilton: That's awesome. Yeah, if you're listening, you guys should definitely join Mike's email list, Mike has some of the best writing on this stuff ever, which leads me to my actually the true final questions. Where can people find you? They listened to this, they got a lot of value out of it, they wanna follow up and get connected with you and what you have going on, where is the best place for people to go?
0:52:03.7 Mike Millner: Yeah, I appreciate it. So best place to connect with me on social is Instagram, the handle is @coach_mike_millner, and then my podcast is called Mind Over Macros, which is on every podcast platform, and those are the two best places... If you wanna hear me ramble, usually the podcast is the best place to go, and then you can find everything through the podcast or Instagram.
0:52:31.5 Jared Hamilton: I love it and we'll make sure to have all that in the show notes. Dude, thank you for doing this, man, like I said, it was really overdue and I love what we talked about, and I think this is gonna help a lot of people, so I appreciate you doing this.
0:52:41.8 Mike Millner: Thanks for having me.
0:52:41.8 Jared Hamilton: And we're back. Thank you so much once again for tuning in to today's episode of the podcast, it means a ton to me. The Podcast keeps growing and growing, and it's all because you guys are watching, listening and sharing, so my one ask is to keep doing that, if that's my one... My one ask is, if you got value out of this episode, please share it with someone or share it somewhere.
0:53:02.6 Jared Hamilton: If you're like, "Yo, this was dope," send it to your friend. Say, "Hey, you're struggling, you should listen to this," or If you can screenshot like on like wherever, Spotify, YouTube, whatever, share it on your story, because here's the truth, I don't want this knowledge to just stay in my head or your head, I do this because I wanna help you. I wanna get this information over to you so you don't struggle, so all I ask is that you do the same thing if you got value out of this, that means a lot more people can get... In your life get value out of this, so be sure and share with them so they can not struggle too.
0:53:30.8 Jared Hamilton: What else we got? Okay, so be sure. Sorry, Brain fart. Before we go, I do have all of Mike's stuff in the show notes, be sure and connect with him, reach out to him, tell him that you heard him on the show, that you really liked it, whatever, however you're feeling, and then be sure and go give the podcast a five-star rating and tell me your thoughts, 'cause here's what I'm doing, I'm about to start announcing these... The winners on Instagram. So what I'm doing is running a review contest, so if you go to the podcast, wherever you listen to it on like Spotify, I think Spotify lets you do reviews now.
0:54:00.6 Jared Hamilton: ITunes is the biggest one. If you leave me a review. Five-star review, and then give me like... Tell me in the like if it lets you have a description what you liked about the show, how it was the most helpful, how the show's changed your life. Screenshot that and email it to me. Jared@hamiltontrained.com, my email's below as well, and I'm going to be picking random winners to basically get a 1st Phorm supplement of their choice, so I'll let you literally go on the website. Pick any supplement that you want, and I will send it straight to your house, so on me.
0:54:29.6 Jared Hamilton: So do that for me, and trust me, it is like pulling teeth to get people to do stuff like this, so your chances of winning are really likely. So that is it for today's episode. I appreciate the fuck out of you. Thank you so much for being here. Be sure to subscribe to the show, I love you. Talk to you next time.
Mike has been in the health and fitness industry for over a decade. He started out as a personal trainer, but found that most people—himself included—really struggled with nutrition. This revelation caused him to switch gears slightly and pursue nutrition coaching. He has been a nutrition coach for about 5 years now.
When Mike was young he was an athlete and had the typical young, fast metabolism… until he got older and gained a lot of weight.
He ended up struggling with body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and had a horrible relationship with food and exercise.
After moving past the restrictive diets, obsessiveness, and the darkness that came with it, he became a personal trainer so he could help others.
On Being Stuck:
When Mike was still caught up in his obsession with clean eating, he went to lunch with his sister—an eating disorder specialist—who had recovered from anorexia, and she brought orthorexia to his attention. Orthorexia is an obsession with eating foods that one considers “healthy.”
Mike got very defensive, but in the back of his mind, he knew that his sister was right.
After this, Mike began to notice how much fear he had around food. He would avoid traveling or going out to eat, spending time with friends and loved ones, or anything that meant he couldn’t control his nutrition—even though he valued those things—because of that fear around food and gaining the weight back.
He had to take a hard look at himself and his choices and come to terms with the fact that those behaviors weren’t serving him. He had a lot of internal turmoil because his actions were not aligned with his values.
It’s the same for others—fear and obsession surrounding food can negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life, their social life, work, and their confidence.
That’s where the mental game comes in—the mental foundation is where it starts.
You have to know your values.
Let’s say your highest value is spending time with friends and family. If you have a solid mental foundation, you’ll know that you can go out and have fun, while still prioritizing your health and well-being.
Where Do You Start:
Mike states that where you start depends on where you’re at. One thing that he likes to do is start with something that is “purely for the love of the process.”
This could be something as simple as a five-minute walk every day. Whatever it is, it should be something that you want to be a part of your life every single day, no matter what.
Mike calls these “anchors.”
You need to start with one thing.
Many people feel like they have to do everything, but people generally cannot maintain that because you will always reset to your current foundation.
The way you build up your foundation is slowly—by adding one thing at a time.
When you have a strong foundation you’ll eat quality food, get your movement in, and prioritize sleep because you love how those things make you feel.
It won’t be conditional—it won’t be based on the scale, or for a reward (like a cookie). That’s extrinsic motivation.
You’ll have intrinsic motivation when you slowly build your foundation and fall in love with the process—and you’ll shift your identity along the way.
Building Intrinsic Motivation:
Mike says that you can start from extrinsic motivation.
Say you want to lose 20 lbs—think about what that 20 lbs of fat loss is going to unlock for you.
Mike has found that it is never about losing X amount of weight.
When a person stops to think about what they will gain from losing weight it’s things like feeling more confident or being able to play with their kids or, perhaps, alleviating health concerns.
Once you identify those things, you can do a separate exercise considering what you want your future self to look like in terms of life.
How do they look? How do they conduct themselves? What is their nutrition like?
Getting really specific about how that person operates and makes decisions—and what makes you aspire to be that person.
From there, you can see if there is any misalignment or things that you're putting focus on that aren’t important—or maybe it’s not even your goal to lose weight.
You may find that someone else’s voice is behind some of these things.
It comes down to reflection, introspection, and getting real with yourself. From there you can start to put together the roadmap to get to your desired future self.
Why People Avoid Deeper Work:
Mike believes that it is, in part, due to the fact that we don’t do a good job as a society of teaching emotional processing and regulating.
Many people simply bury their emotions and keep plowing forward, so when you start to do the deeper work, it can be very uncomfortable—and you won’t have the skill of sitting in that emotion and getting curious about it without judgment.
It’s like fear—everyone always thinks fear is something they need to overcome, when, in reality, it’s something that you need to acknowledge and make friends with.
When you run from something, that’s when it has power over you.
In psychology, there is something called “ironic rebounding,” which is when the more you suppress something, the more it explodes back up—and becomes more powerful than it was before.
When you learn to sit with your emotions, you will find that emotions are fleeting and feelings are not fact—and that you can sit in the discomfort, which makes life a whole lot easier to navigate.
Why the Identity Shift is Important:
Mike explains that identity is so important because when you begin to act in a way that is out of alignment with who you believe you are, your subconscious will try to pull you back into that identity.
People often struggle to understand why they self-sabotage, but oftentimes it can be traced back to your belief system and your identity.
If you don’t change your identity, your new actions will be short-lived.
This is why you need to slowly build your foundation. The physical process will not last without the mental foundation—the “who” you are and your belief system.
You have to identify your (false) beliefs, trace them back to their roots, and find evidence to refute them so you can start to make that shift. Your actions then have to start supporting that new identity.
This is why simply saying affirmations doesn’t work. You have to get introspective and rebuild your identity.
Jared mentions a study that showed that just saying affirmations—without doing the actions—actually made a person’s inner dialogue worse.
How to Shift Your Identity:
First, Mike says, you have to ask yourself who you are.
You have to think about your characteristics, beliefs, and moments—especially if you self-sabotage. Identify what you felt about yourself in those moments and peel back the layers to get to your current belief system.
You have to go beyond the surface and connect the dots.
Once you have that, you dismantle it—and find evidence to the contrary.
A lesson Mike consistently teaches is the futility of fighting against time and randomness.
Time and randomness have always existed. Time always passes and random things always happen.
When you set arbitrary timelines, you are putting yourself up against time and randomness—which is a battle that you cannot win.
Mike has no problem with aesthetic goals, but he and his team are focused on the forever pursuit. In the forever pursuit, you have times when you are more focused on certain things, but you should focus on the lifelong aspect.
Where to Go From Here:
Again, it depends on where you are, but remember: don’t try to change everything all at once. Trying to change it all at once is not sustainable.
You need to have a plan that allows for randomness to happen.
You do that by finding your anchors and building those up one at a time.
You need to:
Ditch the timelines
Focus on the one to two things that help you enjoy the process
Do those things no matter what
When random things occur, you lean on those anchors.
How to Enjoy the Process:
The first thing Mike would want to know is what they hate about the process. What do you hate about a five-minute walk, drinking water, or eating quality food?
If you hate lifting weights, for example, find a different way to move your body that you enjoy.
There is something in the process that you can enjoy.
Enjoying the process doesn’t mean that you are excited every day to go to the gym or prepare a meal, it means that you appreciate how you feel because of the things that you do for yourself.
What Mike is Excited About:
Mike is getting married in a few months—which is obviously very exciting for him.
In business, while things are mostly status quo, he has been writing more and enjoying that pursuit as another way to help others and pay it forward.
CONNECT WITH MIKE:
‣ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coach_mike_millner
‣ Mind Over Macros Podcast: https://pod.link/1450288507
‣ Website: https://neurotypetraining.com
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Post-Production by: David Margittai | In Post Media
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