Getting your mind in the right place….
“The mind is the athlete.” – Andy Palmer
“Your attitude determines your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
We always start a fitness program with the best intentions, but often get dispirited and quit when we don’t achieve the full results we were hoping for. This is not necessarily because of the physical challenge involved but because our psychological mindset hits a bump in the road.
The biggest part of any fitness program, without a doubt, is what takes place between your ears. What you tell yourself and what actions you take send messages to your psyche and can definitely hold you back
Let’s take a moment … do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You tell yourself …
- “The number on the scale hasn’t moved and I’ve been working out and eating right.”
- “Every time I start a fitness program something comes up and I can’t continue, so why bother even starting.”
- “Between family and work, I don’t have time.”
- “I have a bad (back, knee, hip, etc.) so I am limited in what I can do, so I just won’t do anything or do the absolute minimum.
- I’m too old for this stuff! I’m just going to end up hurting myself!
Your weight fluctuates day to day and hour to hour, so don’t use the scale as a reliable measuring tool of your progress. Instead, ask yourself, how am I feeling?, how are my clothes fitting?, how is my energy level? If you answer any of these questions positively then it’s a good indicator that what you are doing is working, so keep it up and kick it up a notch. You need to progress in stages in order to meet your ultimate goals.
Of course, we don’t live in a vacuum, or in some reality-tv artificially-created environment (with gym facilities and trainers on hand 24-7) so I can guarantee, something will always be threatening to derail your plans of working out and eating right. That’s a condition we all deal with called LIFE! But this is not about putting together an endless streak of successful days, because frankly, nobody does that. Or will admit they don’t. It’s how you rebound from the inevitable slump, or off day, or binge – booze, sugar, carbs – you name it, or that stretch of days where you missed your workouts. That is totally going to happen. Being 100% committed to the point where you can say no, most of the time, and put off that “thing” that is pulling at your attention until you have completed your workout or had a healthy meal or snack, will give you the long-term results you are aiming for. You need to be committed and hold yourself accountable over long, long stretches of time, and remember to be kind to yourself when you rack up the occasional fail.
Time is the number one reason people do not begin or stick with a health and fitness program. Well, guess what, everyone has time if you 1. commit and 2. take a serious look at how you are spending your time. How much time do you spend on the internet or on social media or watching TV or checking your email or messages? I suspect that if you add up that time, you will be able to find that missing ½ hour to work out or make a healthy meal or snack.
Injuries and medical conditions are certainly important to pay attention to and be careful with when you are being physically active. That being said, studies have shown that with guidance from your physician and a personal trainer or physical therapist, there are ways to stay active and fit despite your existing condition, if you can stay motivated.
How are some things I would like you to try as you work on your mindset and success towards your health and fitness program.
- Make sure you have set yourself realistic and easily attainable goals and then commit. Without commitment, nothing will stick. Write yourself a contract, stating exactly what, when and how you are going to follow your goals and desires, you sign and have witness sign it and keep it where you can see it when your commitment wanes or are struggling with your program. Write down on your calendar or on phone or on your iPad exactly what and when, make an appointment with yourself to be active, to cook a decent meal. Don’t think of this as an all-or-nothing project. Approach your goals as a series of steps. Odds are if you take a step back, you can recover quickly and still be much further up the ladder than you were at the beginning.
- Take an inventory of how you spend your day and how much time you spend doing stuff. Rather than spending the ½ hour at lunch or the hour after dinner on the computer, go for a walk, take the time to make a good meal/snack. Set yourself time for all the things you want to do. It may take a while to reprogram your brain, but give yourself the reward of watching your favorite show, after and only if you get that workout in. Try reducing the measurable time you spend on your devices … phone, internet, email, tv, but do it in incremental steps. Don’t try to go digital cold turkey all at once.
- Train your brain to attack limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. When you are feeling unmotivated or feel yourself slipping into that negative zone, turn on some music that makes you feel good, read a positive quote or affirmation, seek out others with a positive mind set.
I would love to hear from you about what you do or have done to get your mind right. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.
With love and encouragement,