Have you ever tried to answer the question “Who am I, really?” Then this episode of the Fitness Matters podcast is for you!
We’re taking a brief peek into the idea of your SELF CONCEPT to explore how we make changes in our lives (i.e., lose weight, make more money, find loving relationships, and much more). This foundational episode is a must-listen!
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
👉 What your SELF CONCEPT is
👉 Why your SELF CONCEPT is important, and
👉 Why you might want to change your SELF CONCEPT
Love it? SHARE it! Thanks for spreading the word about this podcast! 💛
Your SELF CONCEPT (Full Transcript)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 239, “Your Self-Concept.”
Welcome to the Fitness Matters Podcast, where every week, we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I’m Pahla B, YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon to be author, and your best middle-aged fitness friend. Are you ready to talk about the fitness mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let’s go.
This month’s book club book is “The Kindness Method” by Shahroo Izadi. Join me to chat about it live on Tuesday, June 14, at 3 PM Pacific. There is a link in the description box or show notes to register for the Zoom event. You can download and listen to “The Kindness Method” or thousands of other great titles from Chirp Audiobooks at steep, limited time discounts with no monthly subscription fees, and first-time users can get 50% off their purchase with the code PAHLA50, that’s P-A-H-L-A five zero. Be sure to follow the Pahla B Wellness Over 50 book club at chirpbooks.com/pahla, and grab your copy today. I’ll see you live in June.
Hello, hello, hello, my friends. It is so good to be here with you today. I am super excited about today’s episode, and I’ve already tried to rein myself in. I will tell you that this is a foundational episode. I don’t have a specific amount of time in between these foundational episodes. They kind of come to me on a whim and then I decide, “Oh, this is something I absolutely need to talk about.” At some point, I might actually have some structure to it, like every 10th one we do a foundational episode, and then the other nine, we do, “How to apply this in your life.” But here’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. And I know it’s a concept that I have not presented for you like this, and therefore that’s what I wanted to do today, so that from now on, whenever I talk about your self-concept, you can come back to this episode and be like, “Oh, okay, here’s an explanation.”
So having said that, that means that I’m gonna try . . . I mean, you know me, but I’m going to try really hard to keep it brief, so that it is just conceptual, so that it can be referred to later, and then later, we’ll apply it. In other episodes, we’ll talk more about how this affects you and what it means and where it is in your life and all those kinds of things. But today, I really just want to offer you a concept of your self-concept, so that you can start noticing it in your life and you will be prepared when we get to other episodes where we talk about changing your self-concept, which is to say, what happens when you are on your way to getting a goal.
Let’s start with the idea of, “What is a self-concept?” A self-concept is your opinion of yourself, honestly. There’s the definition, there’s the explanation, and of course there’s more to it than that. Your self-concept is your thoughts about yourself, and it is really specifically any thought that is preceded by the phrase “I am,” or, “I’m just a person who,” or some other way of describing yourself. Here’s what I want you to know about your self-concept.
Your self-concept is a collection of thoughts that you have about yourself. And in fact, I’m going to give you homework for this episode so that you can kind of start to see your self-concept in your own life. Literally, sit down with a piece of paper and write the phrase “I am,” and then see what comes out of your brain after that. “I am.” And I have to tell you, no matter how often I’ve thought about talking about this during the episode – every single time I think about my self-concept – the very first way that I end that sentence is “a runner.” “I am a runner.” And I think it’s so funny, because I barely run anymore. I only run maybe once or twice a week. I run slower than I used to. I run shorter distances than I used to. And yet that is so foundational to me of who I am that it’s just the first thing that pops into my mind.
And you have things like this too. You have ways that you see yourself that are your self-concept. And I will tell you, the thing to know about your self-concept is that even though I have given it this highfalutin kind of a phrase – “your self-concept” – the things that you think about yourself are just thoughts. And I say that with love. I say that kindly. I say that with tenderness, but I also point it out to you for those of us who would like to change our self-concept. I am going to give you some examples. Here are a couple of different ways that I have changed my own self-concept in my life, just over the past 10 to 15 years really specifically.
Giving you the example of “I am a runner,” before that, I would have absolutely said, “I am not a runner. I am not athletic. I am not coordinated. I am not a person who likes to exercise.” And yet one day I decided to, and then it took a while before that self-concept changed. I had probably been running for at least a year before. I could say that phrase and not feel like a complete fraud. Over the past couple of years, I have also worked on my self-concept from . . . And we talked about this so long ago. I used to talk all the time about how I’m a procrastinator. I am a procrastinator, and I have to tell you, I have not had that thought in my head in spite of the fact that I am recording this podcast at quite literally the absolute last minute before you can listen to it. It doesn’t apply to me anymore.
Sometimes I do procrastinate. Sometimes the action is procrastinating. But I am, as a human being, not a procrastinator. I am a person who gets my work done, a person who is reliable, but I used to think, “I am a procrastinator.” I used to think, “I am a chronic under-earner.” This was something that I thought of myself for my entire life, until I started working on that self-concept. I started working on that self-concept when I started working on my money mindset blocks in like 2013, 2014, 2015 maybe? Let’s just say 2015, because every time I do this, I get distracted by trying to tell you how long I’ve been working on my money mindset. Let me just tell you that I started doing it in 2015, even though I honestly don’t know, and then we’ll just call it done until I can find some other actual proof of that.
I started working on my money mindset in 2015, and it took me until 2019 to change the concept of myself from, “I am a chronic under-earner,” to the thing that I think all the time now, “I make so much money.” I love the new one so much better than the old one! “I make so much money” is the best thought. I can’t even say it without laughing and smiling. It feels amazing to think of myself like that.
My friends, here’s the thing about your self-concept. It is the thoughts that you have about yourself. Which is to say that some of them are helpful and some of them are not, and all of them are optional. All of them. I know you would like to argue with me about that. That’s totally fine. It’s not up for debate because here’s the thing. Your self-concept is a collection of thoughts, and your thoughts are not facts. This is, of course, where I’m going to refer you to episode nine, Facts vs. Opinions (Ep. 009 Facts Vs. Opinions https://pahlabfitness.com/facts-vs-opinions/).
When you take a look at the things that you think about yourself, you will notice that you would like to change some of them. It might be something like, “I am not athletic.” “I’m not a runner.” “I don’t earn very much money.” “I’m just not lucky in love.” “I’m overweight.” “I’ve always struggled with my weight.” “I have a hard time making time for myself.” The things that you say about yourself are not facts. They are opinions. They are thoughts. And here’s the thing about your thoughts. They are based on every single perception that you have ever taken in your lifetime. Most of them – and I say this nicely – but most of your perceptions you have taken in without your own permission.
And by that what I mean is, when you’re scrolling through Instagram, you don’t know what’s coming next, and then you see images of people or places or things. Or you’re driving on the highway and you see billboards, or you are listening to the radio and you hear an advertisement. You have what I’m going to call a barrage or an onslaught of incoming data to process constantly. And we do this to ourselves, but also, the world is just out there being data-filled. It’s going to go in your brain through your eyeballs and through your smell balls and through your finger balls and through everything else. That’s how we perceive things. And your brain is just categorizing them and putting them together and making sense out of them. But none of the things that your brain thinks, particularly about you, are objectively true or factual.
Your self-concept isn’t true. And that is the best news in the entire world. It means that you can choose what you want to think about yourself. There is nothing about you that is fixed or unchangeable or unmovable. You can think of yourself any way you want to. You can create any change you want in your life. Now some of you are definitely arguing with me on this. “I can’t be any taller than I am!” Technically, you can put on high heels. “I can’t be any shorter than I am.” You could slouch. I’m not saying that you can have exactly what you want in the way you want it because of time, space, physics, biology, et cetera. These things exist. There are some parameters to your self-concept. But the ones that you likely want to change about yourself – your weight, your income, your love life, your happiness – those are changeable. Those are thoughts that you are having about yourself right now.
Now there’s a whole other conversation to be had about how to change your self-concept, and possibly even more importantly than that is what it’s going to feel like when you change your self-concept. And I’m just going to spoiler-alert that one for you: it feels uncomfortable. That’s how this works. But I want you to take in for yourself right now that you are responsible for what you think about yourself. Yes, you have billions of perceptions in any given day that you take in that your brain is processing. It spits out this thing that’s “I am” statements. But you don’t have to think any of those things. And the way we begin to change is the homework that I already gave you. Make a list of how you think about yourself right now. Becoming aware of how you think about yourself, how you talk about yourself, how you see yourself, your self-concept, is always the first step to making changes.
So grab your piece of paper, start with “I am.” And then you can go onto other journal prompts, like “I’m just a person who…” “I’m just a person who doesn’t…” “I have…” “I’ve never…” Any kind of I-statements that you can come up with. “I can,” “I can’t,” “I haven’t,” “I won’t,” “I will.” Those are all part of your self-concept. And when you look at that list . . . And just really quickly, you don’t have to do this in five minutes. This is an ongoing thing. This is something to become aware of over time. You can start with one of those prompts, and at some point in time in the future you can do another one. This isn’t a, “Oh, you need to have this done by next week, before we have another podcast, or I’m going to get out my red pen and give you an F.” No, this is an ongoing project for you. Notice how you think about yourself. Notice your self-concept, so that you can decide whether or not they’re all things that you want to think about. Because you don’t have to think any of them. You can choose at any time to change your thoughts about yourself.
My friends, thank you for listening. Thank you for doing your homework. I’m going to check it. I’m going to get out my red pen. I’m going to check it. Actually no, I’m not. I love you. I hope you heard something helpful for you today, and I’ll talk to you again soon.
If you’re getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters podcast and you’re ready to take it to the next level, you’re going to love the Get Your Goal coaching and accountability group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast and actually apply it in real life, on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It’s hands on, it’s fun, and it works. Find out more at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal, and let’s get your goal.