The Mind Game
One of the most asked questions that I regularly hear from individuals of all levels of fitness is: “How do you maintain such a high level of consistency and intensity while doing physical training?” My answer is always the same. It’s all in the ‘Mind’. It sounds simple but it also involves confidence, will power, knowledge and of course, a high tolerance to pain. Above all, you must enjoy what you are doing.
It all begins with a dream. What is your dream? What one can conceive he/she can achieve. Start paying attention to those dreams because they tell a great deal about your preference and your purpose in life. Some people even say that they don’t have any dreams. Learning to quiet your mind is just as simple as sitting alone for a few minutes and just paying attention to what is going on internally. Do you see yourself as fit? Well, step into that body and try it on for size. Do you feel those toned abs? How are people treating you and what do you see in the reflection? Experience this body in numerous situations, but do it in a positive manner that makes it desirable. You are now focusing on what you can become. You are developing your confidence and believing in yourself.
Do you want to do it? This sounds like such a simple and easy question, but it’s so hard at the same time. It will involve time and sacrifice. However, the benefits will be life changing. When you are experiencing what it’s like to be in that ‘dream’ body – how compelling is it? If experiencing that desire is so clear that you must go out and immediately have that body, then you have a mental dream that you should turn into a concise goal and an eventual reality. If this vision doesn’t work for you, try another one. It’s in your mind, play with it, use it and toy around with these visions until you find the one that fits.
How do you take a dream and make it a goal? You write it on paper and start to define it. Be realistic about what you can achieve. Take that inner vision and turn it into reality. Set up a time factor. Break down this goal into small increments and slowly move forward. So what’s next?
Take action! Even if you have doubts, be confident, take action. Believe that you can do it. Then you will. What are you afraid of? Great people never fail, right? In order to conquer your fears you must face them. Failure only happens when you give up. You must develop confidence in your mind and in your heart. Never give up. You must want it bad enough inside. When you persistently tackle a problem you whittle away at it more and more each time. Your body changes are the same. You start from where you are at and build it from the ground up, but the most important thing is to get started. Most people get to this point and never even start. Don’t worry about knowing every little thing that it takes to get started, just take positive action – today! Focus on your dreams. Try not to get caught up in the ‘Paralysis of Analysis’. Keep it simple. Make a plan, set some realistic goals and get started.
A very effective tool that I use in my training is the concept of ‘Visualization’. The night before your workout try this: Close your eyes and think of your workout. Visualize each movement, each exercise. Decide how far you will swim or how much weight you might lift. Visualize how good the workout is going to be. By visualizing the workout you will be preparing yourself for a great workout. You will know in your mind that your workout was a success. You are re-creating the workout as it will be. Athletes of all disciplines use the technique of visualization to score that goal, touchdown or to reach the top of a mountain. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to complete eleven gruelling Tough Mudder’s. Tough Mudder’s are military style, obstacle endurance races. Each was unique in its distance and obstacles. For each event, the night before, I visualized completing each distance in my mind. I mentally prepared myself for completion and success – not failure. The power of visualization. Visualization is a learned skill. The more you practice it the better that you will get at it. Visualization will develop your confidence in executing exercise routines to their fullest potential. Create ideal conditions for visualizing:
– Be in a quiet environment (Preparing for bed is good)
– Make sure that you are relaxed (Don’t let the mind wander)
– Visualize in detail (Think of each exercise in your routine)
Now, it’s time to get started!
The important thing is that you have chosen to improve your lifestyle. Fitness is a way of life. Enjoy what you are doing. Make it challenging but enjoyable. Being healthy is a wonderful thing. Life is to be treasured and enjoyed. As you improve, you will desire more change. Your confidence will improve. Take it slow, be smart and of course, exercise safely. As always, believe in yourself. Tomorrow is another day.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before starting any type of vigorous physical activity program, please consult with your Doctor.