Be aware and beware of your artificial set points

by Jay Hiller, August 25, 2022

An artificial set point is when you decide you can only do so much and stop trying to do more.
Photo by Aubrey Odom-Mabey on Unsplash

A long time ago a friend was telling me about how her strength training practice was going. She told me how much weight she was lifting and then she said, “And that’s about as far as a woman my age should go.” That is an artificial set point. Her body hadn’t said no. Her mind had set an unconscious limitation on what she could do.

I don’t want to get too judgmental about this, because I am the queen of artificial set points. My yoga instructor has known me for a long time and periodically tells me that I’m not using my full range of motion because I remember what I could do ten years ago (not much) and I think that’s as far as I can go. When challenged on that or someone gets me into a yoga pose in a new way so that I can’t anticipate and limit myself, I actually am capable of doing way more than my mind is telling me I can. I’ve had an artificial set point for dead lifting for about 8 months that I know isn’t real. And there are mental set points–stuck in an unsatisfying situation, can’t write a book, can’t go through the pile of junk in one corner of my home office etc., etc., etc. What a waste not to use one’s full range in any area, especially for a woman my age.

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