When it comes to training, the one thing you need to control is your mind. Having the mental capacity to never quit and stop will help you achieve any fitness goal you set. But what if you aren’t able to deal with the defeatist attitude you’ve been carrying around? What if every time you decide to train, your mind makes up excuses for you not do it? Here are some tips to scale these obstacles by harnessing the power of the mind.
1 Be positive! Always. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but try this. Think of all the positive aspects or occurrences in your life—graduating, getting that great job, crossing the finish line—anything that you’ve done with a strong sense of accomplishment and write them all down. Now paste these accomplishments where you can see them daily [bathroom mirror, computer and so on].
On days when your mind is telling you to stay in bed, eat junk food or even skip workout, reflect on those notes you have posted. These accomplishments will fuel you and motivate you to overcome any mental block your mind will throw at you.
2 Refuse to quit. This too is a lot easier said than done, but tell yourself daily that you refuse to quit. When you are struggling to get motivated, tell yourself, “I refuse to quit!” When you feel that the hard work is not worth it, tell yourself, “I refuse to quit!”
Your mental block may be strong, your mind can be stronger. So, “refuse to quit!”
3 Train your mind as well as your body. Ancient Greeks firmly believed in the ‘strong mind, strong body’ theory, which holds good even today.
So train your mind to enjoy exercise and to challenge yourself in the gym. Use the power of positive thinking to get the best result while you are working out. Read up on training as well as research motivational quotes and speeches.
Strategise your workout routine in your head prior to hitting the gym. Know what machines and weights you will successfully before you hit the gym.
Just like all your training equipment, use your brain as a valuable tool to get the fitness you want.
4 Set short, obtainable goals. Once you set a short, obtainable goal, make up your mind and accomplish it. Focus on your goal and do not let any mental blocks prevent that goal from happening. When it comes to training, short goals are great. They keep you motivated and focused. And once you achieve your goal, you feel confident to set another goal, and another, and another…
5 Challenge yourself. Firmly decide that every time you are in the gym, you are going to challenge and push yourself harder than the previous workout. The challenges can range from lifting more weights, improving running time, running longer or training even harder.
6 Compete with your gym buddies. It’s time to stop chatting about work, family or the new aerobics instructor with your gym buddies and time to really challenge each other in the gym. Arrange for friendly, but intense competitions amongst yourselves. Honestly, I believe there is nothing better than a little friendly competition. The competition will keep your mind focused on you and your competition, rather than on your mental block.
7 Stop with the negativity. Who wants to hang around a negative person? Better yet, who wants to train with a negative person? Hopefully, nobody does! Negativity can release the flood gates of mental blocks. Never has negativity helped anyone achieve their goals. So stop with the negativity.
The next time you feel like throwing in the towel, reflect on everything we’ve discussed. I’m sure you’ll overcome your mental blocks and achieve a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Use them to stay focused and overcome any mental block:
- Post pictures of you. I use visualisation techniques like this one. It motivates me to constantly push myself in the gym. I post pictures of when I looked my best and when I looked my worst. You can even put up images of a person, who’s physique you admire most. Along with that, post a picture of yourself at your worst. Then promise yourself you’ll never let this happen… ever!
- Never feel sorry for yourself. When I was in school I used to play American Football. My coach had a mentally disabled assistant and I never understood why he kept him on the staff. One day, when I was dog tired and sore, and feeling all sorry for myself, my coach told me how his assistant would give anything to run without falling, catch a ball, and step on the field in a uniform just for one play. That’s when I understood. From that day on, I try not to feel sorry for myself, for I’m fortunate enough to be able to train and make the most out of my fitness.
- Never get beat. I never want to get beat, at anything. To me ‘not being beat‘ means: never having a bad day in the gym, not eating more than one day of junk food, and not letting the young guys in the gym train harder than me. I thrive on the fact that nothing is going to beat me today! So can you.
This was first published in the October 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.