Let me tell you that it’s not necessarily or directly your fault, but only you can do something about it. You may have chosen a programme that doesn’t suit your lifestyle and/or have built up mindset habits over the years that are sabotaging your progress instead of helping.
What do you mean by mindset? – you may ask. Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. The idea of “mindset” was developed by Carol Dweck, a renowned psychologist at Stanford University. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success she says there are two different types of mindset: fixed and growth-oriented.
People with fixed mindset believe that their basic qualities like intelligence, talent or skills are simply fixed characteristics, they cannot be changed and that talent alone creates success.
People with a growth mindset believe that their basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, their talents are just starting points. These people love learning, are keen on development by trial-error and are not afraid of failure.
Guess who is going to achieve their health and fitness goals through dedication, commitment and hard work? Yes, people who live in a growth mindset. Living in a fixed mindset however is not set in stone and recognising that it’s your mindset holding you back from achieving your goals is the first step towards success. Here are three steps to building success oriented mindset habits and open the door for continuous progress on your fitness journey.
Step 1. Recognise fixed mindset thoughts
Anybody, even with a growth mindset would every now and then hear that inner voice trying to jeopardise their weight loss success by talking them out of making the right decision. Do you notice thinking tendencies like “I can’t do this, why do I even bother?” or “I’ll never look like XY, better have that cake instead of punishing myself with this salad.” and “I don’t deserve to be fit and strong, better drink that beer so others will like me better.”?
When they occur just acknowledge and accept that’s how you think at that moment, but don’t accept them as the ultimate truth about you. Intead focus on Step 2.
Step 2. Wake up the growth mindset voice within you and replace harmful thoughts
Once you accept a situation you will be able to change it. This goes for thoughts as well. Instead of trying to shut them up and move on, look for alternative thoughts: “If I fail, it’s ok. I will try again a different way. I only have to get it right once to succeed.” “XY is taller and younger than me, I accept I may never look like him/her but I’ll work hard to look MY best.” “Many people made it before me, I’ll get there even if it takes longer. My friends will be proud of me.”
Step 3. Take action
Once you identified the damaging thoughts and could reframe them, it’s time to take action, get your fitness in gear and do what it takes to achieve your goals.
Write it down
Putting your thoughts on paper is proven to help improve your mindset. Keep a journal for your thoughts, a planner for your day and use any tools to keep you on track. For example, you can write your fitness goals down onto sticky notes and stick them onto your mirror or your fridge, wherever you accidentally will look at them very often. Write a journal every night before bedtime and ensure you put down at least three positive things, no matter how big or small that happened to you on the day.
Ask for advice and support
Don’t know how to start exercising? Ask friends, colleagues or other people around you how they started and get them to introduce you to new activities. Find a class, a gym or other fitness facility near you and grab a friend to join you for the first session. Find a trainer in your area and ask for expert advice. Read trusted newspapers and online articles on the topic and do it yourself if you feel confident. The right solution s the one that works for you long-term, make sure you try many options to find it.
Consider failure as part of the learning curve. Before we learn how to walk we stand up first, then fall, stand up again and fall again and again until or body learns how to stay on our feet. It’s the same with your weight loss journey. You might have a bad day, eat more than you know you should, but if the next day you get up and carry on as usual, it will hardly will any effect. Whilst if you decide to beat yourself up about it, give up on your goals and stay on the wrong track for days, you’ll be back at the drawing board in no time.
Mindset is not something many coaches talk about, but it’s a very crucial part of any fitness journey. Recognising whether your mind is working with you for your goals or against you is one of the most important steps towards success. After that making decisions daily that support your long-term goals will pay off.