What I'm about to mention is the single most important step to ensuring success on your fitness journey. For best results, you should invest in this one area FIRST before you move on to anything else. Today I want to talk about the importance of mindset and mental programming. And look if you're watching this thinking what does this have to do with fitness? Trust me, it has everything to do with it. Please don't make the mistake of thinking you can skip this very important step. There's a reason this is only the second blog post on my website. Mental fitness is crucial, more so than physical fitness, and it amazes me that not enough people are talking about it. The great American philosopher William James once said "Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." What that basically means is that your reality is, for the most part, the sum total of the thoughts that you hold in your mind. There are essentially two things you must do to make sure your mind is working with you and not against you.
The first thing is to be very careful not to self-sabotage yourself with negative thoughts and/or beliefs. Now, I realize this is way easier said than done, considering that many times we may not even be conscious of what's going on in our minds. Which is why I recommend taking a mental inventory of your thoughts. And by mental inventory, I mean really take a moment and try to become aware of some of the thoughts and beliefs that you have regarding your health and fitness. Are you putting yourself down? Are you telling yourself that it's not possible for you to get in shape because A, B, or C reasons? Do you not believe you're worthy of being happy and healthy? Understand that the only obstacles that exist are the ones that you place on yourself. These negative thoughts and beliefs are literal obstructions that keep you from achieving the things you desire. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is arguably the most famous and successful bodybuilder of all time attributed much of his success to his mental faculties and his ability to visualize his end goal. He is known for saying "The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent." Negative thoughts and beliefs aren't the only things that will get in your way. Making excuses for yourself is another thing you need to be careful about. Some of the most common excuses I hear are:
I'm too old
I don’t have time
I have no clue what I’m doing
I can't afford a gym membership
I don’t have the genetics for it
(Insert lame excuse here)
Stop looking for excuses or reasons to procrastinate. They are doing nothing but holding you back. A few things you can do to rid yourself of these bad habits is to reprogram these negative thoughts and beliefs into positive ones. Instead of telling yourself that you can't do it, affirm that you can.
Affirmations, by the way, are key. Pick a few positive phrases that you can either memorize, set as your wallpaper, or write on a card to carry with you. Read them once or twice daily and really ingrain them in your mind.
One thing that I've done that has made a world of a difference is to constantly affirm that every workout would be better than the last. I would say this to myself every day before working out for several months. The idea became so ingrained in my mind that I no longer have to say it before I work out, it just happens. And I can honestly say that each and every one of my workouts is better than the last.
Another thing that helps is to visualize yourself at your end goal. Imagine what that would look like and what your life would be like. If you're someone who likes to stand in front of the mirror and pose - like me - then imagine having already reached your goal and what that would look like in the mirror. The more you can visualize that end goal, the faster you can bring it to fruition.
And look, if you're reading this blog, rest assured that I will do everything in my power to teach you the skills necessary to get you in the best shape of your life. But the mental thing, that's on you. You have to be the one to change it, no one else can do that for you.
So aside from removing any negative thoughts and beliefs that you have, the second thing you should do is to prepare yourself mentally for the journey.
Often times people set up unrealistic expectations, and that is just no bueno. Setting up these unrealistic expectations is a surefire way to failure. Do not assume that results will come fast and that you won't have to work hard, because the reality is it won't come overnight and you will have to put in some serious effort.
This reminds me of a conversation I had at the gym with a buddy of mine a few months back. I was explaining to him the benefits of intermittent fasting for weight loss, and he was basically rambling on about how he wouldn't be able to do it because it would be hard.
Like no shit it's going to be hard.
Listen, at some point you're going to have to accept that you have to step out of your comfort zone if you want to grow and improve. The faster you can get yourself to do this, the sooner you can start reaching your goals. Remember that great things do not come easy. If you want something you've never had, you have to be willing to do something you've never done. So just as a quick recap, step number one in getting your mind right is to remove negative thoughts and beliefs from your mind - step number two is to understand what this will require of you and accept it. Once you have that taken care of, the next most important thing to determine is direction. I cover that in the next blog.
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For those of you looking to get ahead of the curve, I've created a free cheat sheet titled the 5 Critical Elements of Fitness Success where I touch upon 5 key areas you must address before you can start seeing some serious results. It's available right here. As always, remember that nothing works unless you do. Knowledge is worthless if you don't take action. Start today by applying what you learn. Thank you guys so much for reading, I'll see you in the next one.
Watch the video on this topic here.