4 Pillars: Mindset
How are you feeling today?
Positive, upbeat and ready to take on the world?
Negative, down and hiding under the covers?
Chances are that how you are feeling is based on the last conversation you had with yourself...
What we tell ourselves, our mindset, has a tremendous impact on how we view things, both in and around us.
And this will tremendously impact your ability to take positive action and consistently move forward toward your goals on your health and fitness journey.
As we are finishing up our 4 Pillars series, our last of the 4 pillars - movement, nutrition, recovery and mindset, is quite possibly the most important one - mindset.
There are a lot of ways to spin this... successful people are not happier, happier people tend to be more (truly) successful... joy is the deliberate and persistent pursuit of success and well-being despite the circumstances around us... practice an attitude of gratitude... whether you tell yourself you can or can't, you're probably right (Henry Ford, I believe gets the credit for that one)... and many more.
We intuitively understand how important a positive mindset is as we see the effects of a negative mindset all around us... negative people tend to be sick more often, have more chronic aches and pains, suffer from depression and anxiety, tend to be more overweight, out of shape, have fewer friends, less positive outlook on life, think the world is out to get them, suffer from scarcity/fixed mindset, focus on limiting beliefs, play the victim... and more again...
Do we really fully realize the effects of a positive mindset though??? Positive people tend to be just the opposite... they get sick less often, have fewer/less severe chronic aches and pains, suffer from depression and anxiety less, tend to be at a healthier bodyweight, tend to engage in healthier activities more often and regularly, have more friends (especially more good friends - quality, not just quantity and NO! the number of likes on Facebook and followers on IG don't count here!), have a more positive outlook on their lives now and for the future, see opportunities around them, have an abundance/growth mindset, focus on liberating truths, choose to be victors... and more!
I know which one I would rather be!
Better outlook on life now and in the future.
More friends to share in a more enjoyable life with.
More likely to take action on making positive changes in their lives and in the lives of those around them and, hey, the world!
Now, cultivating a positive, growth, abundance mindset can seem very challenging, especially now as the world seems to be continuing to crash down around us. But remember, joy is that INWARD (not Disneyland, follow your dreams... kind of fairytale stuff though!), intentional and consistent pursuit (an ACTIVE process you are CHOOSING to engage in) of success and well-being, despite difficult circumstances! WOW! That's powerful in my opinion!
And when it feels like the stuff is hitting the fan all over the place you may not feel like you have a lot of energy (deliberate, intentional, actively pursuing) to give towards that goal. That's why in times like these, we need to have those same rock solid basics we’ve talked about for each of the 4 Pillars to fall back on, to help us conserve our energy by dialing down, but not giving up or hitting the pause button, so we can still keep going forward, actively pursuing success and well-being despite our circumstances!
How do we do this?!
One of the simplest, and our basic habit, of cultivating a positive mindset is through daily gratitude journaling. Sounds simple I know, but it works. We also need to develop positive and constructive skills to face our problems and deal with stress WHEN we experience challenges in life. We often don’t have a stress issue but a CAPACITY issue.
When we run from our problems instead of facing them, choosing to no longer stay where we are, we turn away from the path of a purpose-filled life and complacently settle for living an unfulfilled and dissatisfied life and are left always wondering if things could have been different…
Choosing to face our problems is a pretty tall task. How do we do it? How do we face those demons, those fears, those failures, the critics, the lies we’ve been told and tell ourselves over all the years and choices that have gotten us to where we are? Great question, I’m glad you asked! ;)
I believe it comes down to our ‘why’. That is your motivation for doing something. For getting up off the couch and going not to the fridge but to the gym when the 1,000 times before you’ve gone to the fridge instead.
If you know your WHY you can endure any HOW. - Simon Sinek
Knowing your true motivation behind doing something is key to getting started. It is the key to continuing. It is the key to continuing when things are going well. It is the key to continuing when things go bad. It is the key to continuing when you get distracted or stressed and you don’t have the time or energy to keep going. And to give yourself the grace to get back at it when you do miss or don’t do it perfectly (progress not perfection!) like you think you should (don’t go “shoulding” all over yourself!).
How do you find your ‘why’? We say that #fitnesshasaGREATERpurpose here. And that comes from our definition of fitness being fitness is your mental, physical and spiritual ability to do the things you want and need to do in life. So ask yourself, what is your GREATER purpose? What will get you out of bed in the morning when all you want to do is sleep in because it’s easier, safer and more comfortable? And this can’t be to just lose weight, get in shape, tone up, get ready for a vacation/wedding/anniversary, etc. It has to be something deeper and more meaningful than that. What do you want and need to be able to do? Is it being able to be active and involved with your grandkids and being able to get up and down off the floor when playing with them? Is it being strong and confident for the first time in your life? Is it being there for your kids and setting a positive example for them to live a healthier, more active and more fulfilling life?
What’s your GREATER purpose?!
Knowing this is key! And then once you know this, keep it in front of you, in front of your mind and don’t let anything get in the way of that! Then you can start chipping away at some of the other great ways to have a more positive mindset.
One of my favorite ways to do this is gratitude journaling. I love it because of it's simplicity (my life is crazy just like yours!) and effectiveness. Putting in as part of my AM and PM ROUTNES (basic habits for recovery remember!) using the 5 minute journal app (there are many others out there as well - calm, headspace... I like this one) works great for me. I encourage you to give it a try or to pick back up with the one you hopefully have been using and stick with it.
Pick one time of day if two feels like too much to do consistently and then build on that. And use it to build a positive mindset one day at a time! And then enjoy the rewards of being more successful as you get your mindset right, knowing your why, looking at the positives in your life rather than dwelling on the negatives, and surround yourself with positive people and behaviors! Spend more time with other positive people in your life, help others who are struggling, go and get a massage or do some Yoga! These are all great ways to go with developing a positive, growth mindset.
The key, like all the other pillars, is to get started. You are what you repeat. That includes what you repeatedly tell yourself. So start telling yourself why you are going to change, that you are capable of change (small habits lead to big change and progress not perfection!), focus on the good things in your life to keep you going and don’t forget to give yourself a little reward from time to time!
We’ll cover more on the GREAT power of a positive mindset in more posts to come as there is A LOT to cover here. Hopefully, though, this gives a little incentive to start changing your mindset, shifting your focus and helping you to take your next steps on your health and fitness journey as a change maker!
Make today a GREAT day!
Eat well, move often, BE GRATEFUL! And do it repeatedly.
Brian Fischer & Edge Fitness