Well we are already into February. How are those New Year’s resolutions going? That well! If making and sticking to goals were easy, we would all be thin, healthy, rich, well-educated, well-traveled, and just crazy happy! So if you have already thrown your resolutions to the wind for this year, let’s start again. This time with a well-executed plan in place. Let’s start first with: Mindset.
Mindset, or your belief system, is how you view everything in the world. If you believe you can do something, then you can. If you believe you can’t, then you can’t. As simple as that. If you want to make a change, the mind has got to be the first thing on the list. Believing in what you do makes it real, makes it achievable.
When working with a client, I usually can determine a person’s mindset based on the excuses they give me for why they don’t already have what they want.
I remember a spin class I once taught. When the class was over, a member came up to me with tears in his eyes. He said, “You know when you were talking about how ‘we are in control?’ I had been referring to making decisions. He said, “No one has ever said that to me before.” It had never dawned on him until right then that he was in control of his life by being in control of his decisions. Oh, and he was in his 50’s! Well that was a major game changer! When we live for other people and not for ourselves it is a life wasted. I don’t know who had been making this man’s decisions, but I think after that day, he was going to make them.
Many people set goals they truly believe they can’t achieve. Why? Because they can then assert that they tried, but failed. In so doing, by “proving” themselves failures, they can justify abandoning the pursuit of what they really want. Many goals are set by people who totally believe that achieving them is impossible. But if they don’t try, then they can’t say that they have tried. Once they fail, they have proven themselves correct and just accept that what they really want is not in their future.
Awareness of our mindset is also essential. We cannot transform a belief that we don’t know we have. Sometimes we are just misinformed. In the health and fitness business this happens often.
If someone believes that they can achieve perfect fitness with a 30 minute walk three times a week or that having five meals a day is great because it keeps the metabolism humming, they have been greatly misinformed. Yes you can probably find many books and magazines that tote this sort of garbage.
On my website and in future articles, I offer solid, scientifically based information about health and wellness, nutrition, yoga, Pilates, and Ayurveda that might help you uncover where your mindset may need to change in order to achieve the healthiest you.
Practice. Let’s face it, it is hard to be aware 24/7 with all the distractions in our world. Sometimes when working with new habits, I encourage clients to ‘practice’ the new habit. By practicing, the letdown of a miss is not so dramatic, since it was only ‘practice’. The one thing I do know is that in the beginning, it’s hard. Once the habit is established and the mind is set on achieving the outcome, it will do what it needs to keep on task.
Focus. Keep your eye on the puck. I am sure you have heard this; if not, just watch some hockey. The goalie never takes his eyes off the puck. Professional hockey goalies are extremely focused. They know what happens when they stop that puck from going in the goal: the roar of the crowd, the bumps from their teammates, and don’t forget those big dollar contracts. But if for just a moment his eyes turn away, it could be disaster.
Now as a kid, this goalie probably didn’t have a fan base or the roar of the crowd, and he did not have a big money contract. What he did have was the admiration of his teammates and that felt good; he also had the sense of accomplishment of practice paying off. It was over time that the other things came. You, too, will find initial feedback when you create new habits. Over time that may—and most of the time does—morph into something even better. The mindset then gets boosters. If I can do this…then what else can I do?
Time. One day at a time. I learned this lesson from a friend when I had got new contacts. These contacts were different from the ones I had had before. With these, one contact was for looking close up, the other for looking far away. They gave me such a headache, and I always felt a little dizzy. I tried wearing them a few times, but then would stop and go back to my glasses. One day I was telling my friend and she laughed and said, “One more day.” I asked what she was talking about, and she said, “You just have to put them in and say to yourself, ‘one more day.’ Then one day, it just clicks. The brain gets it and you are good to go.” She was right. It worked just like that.
It’s also always good to remember that things don’t always change over-night for a reason. For example, maybe giving yourself six months to train for that marathon instead of five weeks might be kinder to your body and give you a richer experience.
Self-Talk. “Self-talk” or “self-dialog is just your mindset talking back to you. It is the great reinforcer, good or bad. It is not just what you say, but how you say it to yourself that is important. Ayurveda believes that fibromyalgia is caused by bad self-talk. It makes sense if you think about it, as do most things in Ayurveda. Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune diseases. With an autoimmune disease, the body turns on itself and begins to self-destruct. When you have poor self-talk, that is exactly what you are doing: turning on yourself. So eventually your body starts believing what you are telling it and starts doing just that.
Good self-dialog too takes practice. Once you’re aware of the importance of self-dialog, you will catch negative thinking and can stop and reformulate a more positive message. Sometimes we do this without even realizing it, such as when we play a bad experience over in our heads giving it a different ending. This helps us formulate a plan for the next time this situation comes up.
Meditation does wonders for mindset. It rests the mind so that it can tell the difference between reality and illusion. Even better though, it opens the mind and seems to let it breathe a little on what is and isn’t important. When that burger commercial comes on at ten p.m. and you’re convinced that’s just what you need?….try meditation.
Mindset or your belief system will guide your actions. In our next blog we will look at creating successful goals.
Thanks for reading and sharing.