Have you ever noticed how some people seem to achieve their fitness and weight loss goals relatively quickly and easily while other people make no progress at all? Genetics can play a part, but poor genetics doesn’t mean you can’t make progress and, in the same way, good genetics doesn’t mean that progress and success is a foregone conclusion. Some people may blame their lack of progress or attribute good progress to luck but, as the saying goes, “the harder you work, the luckier you get!”
In many cases, what separates those who can with those who cannot, is mindset.
Motivational speakers often say things like “if you can change your mind, you can change your life.” There is definitely some truth to the whole mind-body connection. Your mind is an exceptionally powerful organ, and while it’s not exactly a muscle, you can train it like one and make yours stronger. It’s often the case that where the mind leads, the body must follow. Your mind can affect your achievement of your goals in several ways.
Almost every significant human achievement and discovery started with a small spark of an idea. That idea grew and grew into something bigger and often remarkable. For example, way back in May 1954, British athlete Roger Banister ran the first sub-four-minute mile ever. It was a barrier that medical and sporting experts said was unbreakable and that humans simply could not run that fast.
Banister, a part-time athlete and medical student, believed he could and set out to prove those experts wrong. Not long after Banister did the seemingly impossible, several other athletes broke than same “unbreakable” barrier. After seeing the four-minute-mile mark broken, people realized it was not impossible to run that fast and followed in Banister’s footsteps.
This phenomenon was dubbed “the Banister effect, ” but it all started when R.G. Banister conceived and then believed that running a sub-four-minute mile was possible. The first man on the moon, the first man on the peak of Everest, the first person to deadlift 500kg – all these incredible feats began with the concept of conceive-believe-achieve.
How can you use this to help you reach your fitness goals?
1 – Create a goal you want to achieve. Make it specific and measurable so you can aim at it precisely.
2 – Convince yourself it is achievable. Think positive! Align your diet and exercise program to reaching that goal.
3 – Achieve it! Work hard, and you WILL make it. It might take months or even years but, with perseverance and dedication, you CAN achieve your goals.
When you’re in the gym, do you punctuate every set with a quick look at Facebook? Do you spend more time texting than lifting? Do you break off your workout to chat and laugh with your mates? If so, you are very unlikely to reach your fitness and training goals. Lack of focus means that you are never “in the moment” and that means your training will lack the effort and intensity necessary to transform your body. It’s not enough to just show up. You need to participate!
Your body is inherently lazy, and its natural state is weak. Look at what happens when you don’t exercise. In just a few short weeks, you’ll gain fat, lose muscle, and lose strength. You might have been training for years but just a few months of inactivity can wipe all those workouts off the slate.
This suggests that, if you are going to make significant changes to your body, you are going to have to push and bully your muscles into it. If you have the time or energy to play with your mobile phone or muck about, you are not working hard enough to get any real benefits from training. This doesn’t mean that training should be a miserable, monastic experience, or that you need to become an aggressive, standoffish person in the gym, but you should treat your training session like a job – put the “work” back into workout! Easy workouts won’t get it done. Focus on what you are trying to achieve, focus on the training that will get you there, and you will see progress.
One of the most critical mindset attributes you need to develop is dedication. The effects of exercise are cumulative which means they add up over time. It takes years of consistent training to develop a high level of fitness, and while you can lose weight quickly, you need to keep on eating healthily and exercising if you are going to keep that weight off.
Many exercisers float in and out of training, fitting it into their schedule when time allows, or the mood takes them. They lack the necessary consistency to make meaningful progress. However, the person who commits to training week after week, month after month, and year after year is much more likely to achieve their goals. If you have more time off training than you have on, you need to rededicate yourself to your goals if you ever want to reach them. You also need to apply that same dedication to your out of the gym activities, making sure you eat well, avoid excess alcohol, do not smoke, and get plenty of sleep.
Reaching your fitness goals will not happen by accident – you need to be dedicated, single-minded even, to make real progress.
Your mind isn’t a muscle but, in many ways, it’s actually stronger than all your muscles put together. If you get your head on straight and work on your mindset, you can achieve almost anything you set your mind to. Will it be easy? No! But the rewards will make the hard work worth it.