Lately I’ve been deviating from the typical exercise and fitness advice I usually offer. But it’s for an important reason! This week, I want to address one of the single most important elements of not only a fit, clean body; but also a fit, clean life: your thoughts.
For some this may sound cliché, corny, or oversimplified; but your thoughts play the lead role in determining virtually every detail about you and your life. In a sense, they are the paintbrushes that create every stroke on your life canvas.
So, how can you practice the art of thinking to improve your fitness? Here are a few ways to brush off the dust on your dreams:
Choose your words carefully! Amplify the good feelings and minimize the negative feelings with the way you think about and describe things. Instead of saying or thinking “I had a good workout”, say “I had an earth-shattering, incredible workout”. Instead of saying “I had a horrendous workout”, say “I had a challenging workout”. By amplifying our positive experiences during and after exercise, we create more positive memories that will prompt us to want to do it again and again. Here are a few examples to get you started. Choose three positive and negative words that you usually associate with exercise, and practice super-boosting your vocab!
Good- Deeply Fulfilling
Freezing Cold and Terrible: Uncomfortable
I felt drained of all energy: A little tired
Cultivate Gratitude: I’m going to take a chance by saying that gratitude is the single most powerful mindset an individual can possess. A genuine, consistent attitude of thankfulness will, I repeat, will change your life. No matter how challenging a workout may seem; you have the power to shift your attitude, mood, and perspective with a mere glimmer or gratitude. Before and after workouts, spend a few minutes to reflect, pray, or draw awareness to the things you are grateful for. It can be as simple or detailed as you like.
Think about it: we are all experts when it comes to our misfortunes, why not become experts on our blessings? Here are a few areas to get you started:
Spouse, Family, and Friends
People from your past that influenced you
The ability to stand, walk, exercise, run
A means of income
Think big: I recently watched a documentary called “The Secret”. While it offered many interesting points and concepts, one piece of advice that really struck a chord with me was this: make the universe your catalogue and, without inhibition, keep a list of everything your heart desires.
Every thought has a unique energy and frequency. By thinking confidently and optimistically about your goals and dreams, you generate more energy for them to come to life. It’s as if each thought is a breath, and the more breaths you devote to optimism and proactivity, the more your dreams begin to breathe and become alive.
The world’s greatest athletes, authors, thinkers, activists, influencers and entrepreneurs can attest to this concept. Like everyone else, they face a minefield of adversity, disbelief, and doubt. But at the end of the day, one thing prevails—their belief in themselves and/or their belief in a higher power. Don’t let anything or anyone—from the past, present, or future—to create your life’s destiny. Try this: create a list of fitness goals without holding back. Every day, think about your goals with the attitude of “I can”. Over time, pay attention to the feedback of your positive attitude.
Visualization: Many of the top sports psychologists spend a ton of time doing one mere thing with their athletes: visualizing success. Because your brain cannot effectively distinguish between reality and fantasy, you can reap tremendous benefits from visualizing positive, successful outcomes. Imagine your goal is to run a marathon. One way to bring this goal to life is by intensely visualizing every detail of the process and successful outcome. What will your training look like? What will you eat? How will you look and feel? What will you do on the weekends? How will you interact with others? What will you be wearing? Who will you be spending time with? What will the race feel like, look like, smell like? Once you’ve established your goals, visualize them often (once a day) in great detail and depth.
As a runner (or parent, spouse, employee, ect), what keeps you mentally strong?