Loving The Lizard

I have a confession- I struggle (I know BIG surprise!). I struggle with going to bed on time, choosing salad over nachos, not having just-one-more-drink, and especially getting my sweat on daily. This is particularly shameful since my job as a Pilates Instructor is to teach people how to be fit and healthy. The thing is- I am human, and I’m realizing that so are my clients. Change is NOT something we welcome and as it turns out- it’s actually all in our heads.


In our most primitive part of ourselves, or our Lizard Brain, we are just concerned with staying alive, chowing down, and making babies. While this primal part of ourselves comes in handy if you’re stranded on a desert island, it can create roadblocks for our modern lifestyle. This reptile brain sits at the top of our spine and responds, instead of reasons using instinct to keep us keeping on. Change is not good for survival, so the lizard will tell you to stay home in your p.j’s and eat that second bowl of cereal. We are safe here, we have grub- what more could we possibly want?


So how can smart, motivated, type A personalities like myself get past this prehistoric monkey wrench? My game plan is to reward the lizard (what do lizards like as treats? Bugs?). Instead of setting useless goals and plans that the reptile will just shoot down anyway, I’m gonna catch more flies with honey- so to speak. Check out my plan below:

  • Change my “have-to’s” to “want-to’s” Instead of planning a workout schedule or eating plan, which could cause resistance I will just do one thing, at least, everyday that is good for me. It could be hitting that yoga class, doing a 10 min meditation, or eating kale. Just one single thing that I’m drawn to that day, depending on my mood.
  • Implement a rewards program Instead of punishing myself for not doing as much good as I should, I’m going to reward myself everyday- just because I can. It could be a bubble bath, mani/pedi, massage, that new top I saw in the window, or even squares of good quality dark chocolate. The idea is that I don’t have to do something to get perks. I get them just for being alive and surviving.
  • Let the lizard have it’s way At least once (maybe twice) a week I aim to let the lizard lay around and be lazy. No plans, no goals, no to-do list. I will give myself permission to feel safe and sheltered on my couch, in my bed, in my den. We didn’t survive for centuries without doing something right.

What is your reptile mind telling you? How do you motivate yourself without alienating the most primitive, instinctual part of your self? I want to hear from you! Leave your comments below…

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