The “If This, Then That” Mindset Trap

Posted on 17. Apr, 2017 by in Get Motivated, SUPERHUMAN30 Challenge

“If only I had a nice, convenient gym to go to, I would be in shape.”

“If I had a housekeeper to help me with chores I’d have more time for my kids.”

“If I made $75,000 a year I could live a happy and comfortable life, stress free of financial problems.”

“If I had more money, I would be able to take more time off from working.”
(Check out my last post if that resonates with you.)

I’m a dreamer baby. I’ll be the first to admit this was a thought process of mine for a very long time. I was always so focused on the finish line, that I never realized I was holding myself back from the starting line.

The “If this, then that” trap is rampant in the fitness and health world. A world I’ve been in my whole life. I, like many people use to believe you’ve been given a certain level of athletic prowess at birth and that’s all you get. And you’re just one magic pill away from obtaining your best body. “If only I purchased this new BeachBody DVD collection for 5 easy payments of $29.95, I’d have the body I’ve been after for years.”

Maybe I haven’t purchased any workout DVDs (or VHS), but I would wait for a new pair of running shoes before I began running more. Or a new piece of home gym equipment before working out in my garage more. The worst, or best, example of this was when I would buy several books on a topic I was interested in and maybe read half of one. It’s why I have 5 books on trading stock options and never placed a single call or put order.

DFHG_055_Thighmaster_THUMB_If you had the thighmaster, then you would finally have sexy legs. If you had the shake weight, then you would finally have toned arms. If you were in shape, you could finally start CrossFit. Don’t even get me started on how much that last sentence bothers the hell out of me.


You can start anything, with any level of background. That’s why it’s called “starting”.

Until you start moving, you don’t even know what you need. Clarity comes from movement.

You don’t need anything to begin.

The health and fitness industry has thrived off of the “If this, then that” mindset.

I recently read a stat that 90% of fitness products sold only get used a handful of times, if at all! This was just as I was finishing my first book on Amazon, “Master the Double Under” and wondering how many downloads which actually get read cover to cover. For someone who’s fully invested into his athlete’s success and less concerned with the dollar return, that was a discouraging stat.
I want my clients, or future clients, to seek out my coaching knowing that I’m not their magic pill. It’s my job to help them identify this mindset, and create change.

Let’s dive a little further into the other ways we can recognize this trap.

The statements at the start of this post won’t always present themselves in the “If this, then that” format so it’s important we can recognize them in other ways.

“If only I had a…”. “Only” implies that there is no other solution available to you at the moment, but in reality there is ALWAYS another solution. There are hundreds of paths that can lead you where you want to go, don’t get hung up on one. You only need to look harder (See what I did there.)

The second limiting word is “more”. How can “more” actually be limiting? Because it is the most abstract, complicated mess when it comes to your goals. I want more money, more time, more vacations, more muscles, etc. When one of my athletes tell me they want or need more of something, I stop them to define exactly what they are after. How do you even know when you’ve reached “more”? You don’t.

Third, is not a word but an abstract number you made up as an expert on the subject (so much sarcasm in that sentence). Choosing a number you have no business in estimating will scare you off more than it encourages you. At first when you’re infused with energy any number sounds attainable, but after months or years of hard work, an arbitrary number might encourage you to give up. You think, “I’ll never get there so why try.”

Here’s how we deal with arbitrary or even real numbers like a job quota that may be stressing us out. The only number that matters is ONE, as in the NEXT ONE. Then the only one that matters is the next one after that. Like every good coach in history said, “Let’s focus on playing one game at a time.”


Identifying these types of statements and reshaping them to forge action takes a lot of practice. If you find yourself stuck, possibly to the point of paralysis by analysis, ask one simple question…

What can I do right now?

Similarly, what are the actions I can take today or schedule this week to create change? What tiny action can I perform right now to help chip away at my desired result?

This is all about taking something that you formerly thought was out of your control, and making it all yours. It’s about taking ownership of the situation.

Most often when we introduce an “If this, then that” statement, it’s our way of displacing responsibility onto something or someone else.

It’s time to take ownership. Let’s start moving. Now.

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