Couch to 5K
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Overcoming reluctance, gremlins and my inner chimp

I've been reading "The Chimp Paradox" by Dr Steve Peters, the sports psychiatrist identified by illustrious sportspeople such as Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins as key to their success. I was a bit of a sceptic at first but he has won me over with his simple but compelling mind model. I'm trying to put it into practice to rid myself of the "faff" gremlins that glue me to the sofa, and to replace them with purposeful and positive actions that lead me to a more fulfilling life. (Yes I know, I can see you rolling your eyes already! It's another self help book, but bear with me a moment - after all, look at the roll call of successful athletes!).

Steve Peters encourages you to visualise - and name! - a powerful, irrational and emotional "inner chimp" who undermines and sabotages your rational "inner human"'s efforts. Both beings can program your inner computer with autopilots, gremlins and glitches. This mind model is based on a simplified view of how the brain works. The inner chimp represents your limbic system while your rational inner human represents your forebrain. This deceptively simple model is designed to help you to rationalise your daily mental struggle to do the things you need / want to do.

I know that my personal inner struggle is one of motivation. My inner chimp is called "Lola". She's lazy and fears injury and failure. She's a bit of a romantic, and would rather moon over youtube videos of cute actors half her age than go out and do any sport. She's programmed my inner computer with lots of "faff" gremlins that sabotage any planned activity with time-wasting rituals like facebook games and tv. She loves carbohydrate in all its forms, especially chocolate. She's a sweet little thing, but persuading her to go out for runs is quite challenging!

This morning, after allowing her a brief look at "strictly come dancing" and "merlin" I dragged Lola out to do the "Speed" podcast. To my surprise, it was over in a flash. While I was running, it was quite challenging but it is really quite short. Lola is perfectly ok with that and I rewarded her with a banana ;-)

Have fun running


5 Replies

Looks like a good book, the mental side is just as important as the physical as you quickly realise on this programme!


Well done, Choco and Lola!!

The principles in "The Chimp Paradox" sound very much like what W. Timothy Gallwey describes as "Self 1" and "Self 2" in his books entitled "The Inner Game of ...". He originally wrote it for tennis but later applied it to music and many other activities. Basically, he teaches how to quiet self-doubt. I am glad that you and Lola worked things out this morning!!

May you and Lola both Keep Running!! :-)



I think I have Lola's long-lost sister here!!! Maybe giving her sneek peeks is the answer as it seemed to do the trick this morning.....

Seriously though, the book does sound interesting and if it helps then go with it.



Thank you for your encouraging words! Steve - I also see parallels with Kahnemann's "thinking fast and slow" model for the different selves. I guess it makes sense that these models are similar, as they're all trying to describe the same thing. I do like naming my chimp though, it helps me understand her personality a little better! And LOL Sue - I suspect Lola has many siblings ;-)

Reply inner Lola is fixated on Facebook games....obviously need to deprive her of this "fix"


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