Almost daily, someone asks me, “What are the most effective exercises to tone up?” or “What are the best foods to eat to get lean?” While I love giving recommendations, I know that what often gets in the way of individuals living fit, achieving their best in health and/or creating their ideal physique is not about whether one eats chicken or fish or if someone does squats or lunges. Rather, it is individuals’ attitudes toward their goals and themselves that stand in the way of them achieving their best.
From personal experience, I know this to be true. Over the last several years of my fitness journey, I have learned a few hard lessons about what happens when your mental attitude does not support your goals. You can dearly want to achieve a goal, but if you do not simultaneously truly believe that you can (no matter what you proclaim to others), you will not be successful. Thus, you must have consistent positive belief and confidence to make your desires a reality.
In my opinion, maintaining this ideal mental attitude really comes down to embracing and living the following two attributes. I have found that when I consistently applied the following attributes to my life, I experienced an almost immediate improvement in my fitness – physical, mental and emotional.
Relentless Optimism: On the path to your goals, you will face numerous challenges: Perhaps you will overindulge at a treat meal, get in a training slump, put back on the 10 lbs you lost, give in to the office donuts, etc. When you have these little setbacks, you can start to lose confidence in your ability to achieve your goal. A small setback is seemingly easy to bounce back from, but over time, a series of small setbacks can diminish your confidence. Once that occurs, your ability to reach your goals begins to deteriorate.
Thus, it is critical to maintain an unwavering positive mental attitude no matter what. While this may seem unrealistic, I have found it is as easy as making the decision to do so. I refuse to dwell on any single negative thought for too long to keep it from becoming a negative belief. The truth is that the more time and energy that you spend obsessing about what is wrong is time and energy not invested in making things right.
Some of the strategies I use to maintain a relentlessly positive mindset are as follows:
- Crowd out negative thoughts with positive visualizations and affirmations. If I start having a series of thoughts that are negative and unsupportive of my goals, I immediately change the mental conversation by envisioning in detail what it looks and feels like to achieve my goal.
- Account for and appreciate all the positive things I have in my favor for achieving a goal.
These few strategies only take a few seconds and keep you from allowing negative thoughts to take root.
Stay Empowered. No matter what is happening all around you (stress, commitments, a cold, travel, etc.), you are in control of your choices and attitude. If you want to be fit, lose weight, sculpt a stage ready physique or just be able to rock skinny jeans, you can. Take the reigns and make it happen. No excuses. It is easy to blame a situation or someone else when your goals are derailed. Believe me, I have been down that road. From what I have experienced, there are very few situations where you have zero control and are unable to make decisions that will bolster rather than bust your goals.
So, make a plan and work it. If challenges arise which it is difficult to perfectly follow your plan, flex your creativity and come up with new solutions. You can make anything happen, if you really want it. If you find yourself falling into a pattern where you are making excuses for not making progress on your goals, I recommend the following:
- Write down the excuses. Once they are on paper, I have found that it is easier to recognize opportunities to stop being a victim, take control and overcome the barriers.
- Give the list of excuses to someone else to examine and refute.
You will be amazed how almost every challenge has a solution and how every goal is within reach when you are working from an empowered mindset.
On our paths to achieving our best, it is easy to get derailed from time to time. More often than not, these departures from our goals begin with our mindset. When I maintain a relentlessly optimistic and empowered mindset, nothing stands in the way of me achieving my goals. While this may seem straightforward and obvious, we rarely spend time thinking about what we are thinking about. So, try focusing on and applying these two mental attributes for the next week; I promise it will make a difference in how you approach your goals and how feel about yourself. Let me know how it goes.
Until next week, Be YOUR BEST!