I hope the summertime is treating you well and that you’re fueling your activities with plenty of healthy food and energizing workouts!
In my last post, I shared one of my favorite tips on how to ignite your fitness fire, and I’m back again with another! But first, let me recap what’s been established thus far.
To ignite your fitness fire:
- Establish Clear Goals
- Don’t Just Think – Take Action
- Don’t Be Driven By Vanity
- Never Stop Learning
- Never Arrive
- Don’t be Afraid of Failure
Now for the tip of the month:
Work on Your Mental Strength
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” – Thomas Jefferson
The power of on-fire people begins in their minds. We know how potent the mind can be, as we’ve been felt it take over and fill us with toxic emotions and initiate damaging behaviors. From holding a grudge and giving into fear to over and undereating as a way to cope with stress and insecurity.
To remain on fire in our fitness journey, we must have fierce control over our thoughts. Wherever our thoughts go, our lives will follow.
“You’re wasting your time. You’re never going to lose weight.”
“Your family needs you. It’s selfish of you to be here at the gym.”
“Wouldn’t you rather grab a pint of ice cream and watch Netflix right now? C’mon, you deserve a break.”
“You don’t have time to work out.”
“You can’t afford to buy healthy food.”
Those, my friend, are toxic thoughts that threaten to throw cold water on on-fire people. We must stomp on those thoughts the second they rear their dream-squashing, progress-hating heads.
Everyone has different strategies for how best to deal with negative thoughts. Ignoring them, however, is typically not recommended.
When a negative thought sprouts in your mind, take a moment to acknowledge it, then try applying one of these four defenses that I’ve had success with in my own fitness journey:
- STOP IT. This one is the simplest because all it requires, after the acknowledgment, is a firm command from you to you. Interrupting the “stinking thinking” with an authoritative “Shhhh!” (or something harsher, depending on your preference) will prime the pump for more productive thoughts to flow.
- SWAP IT. If you want to take “STOP” a step further, replace the negative thought with its opposite, positive counterpart. For example, if the thought was, “I don’t have time to exercise today,” tell yourself, “I have ten minutes [identify the time slot]. I can definitely do a high-intensity workout in that amount of time.” Or, if the bad thought was, “I’m never going to lose fifty pounds,” think “If I just take things one day at a time, and eat healthy every day, the weight will come off!” instead. Add some punch to this positive thought by saying it aloud. Hearing it come out of your mouth will reinforce your resolve to tune out the negative.
- SEE IT. A third favorite defensive strategy of mine is to get still, silent, and then visualize what it is I want to accomplish. As soon as negative thoughts come cascading into my brain, I turn on peaceful music (I love Spotify’s “Cinematic Chill-Out” and “Praise and Worship Songs”) and let the thoughts rush out as fast as they spilled in. Once they’re gone and my mind is clear, I envision my current short-term goal and the next immediate step to reach it. If the goal is to complete a workout, then most often my next step is simply to get my gym clothes on. I imagine going to my closet, selecting a top, lacing up my shoes, and heading out the door. Mentally going through the motions of productivity prepares us to carry them out in reality.
- SCRIBBLE IT. Jotting down the negative, discouraging thoughts as they come will bring awareness to them and make you realize just how toxic and destructive – and often ridiculous – they really are. Once we see the thoughts on paper, we better understand what we need to think, say, visualize, and do to prove them false and unfounded.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful! I’ll be back soon with more tips on how you and your fitness can be even more on fire!
If you need some quick, effective, do-anywhere workouts for the summertime, be sure to check out my Perfect Fit books, Perfect Fit: Weekly Wisdom and Workouts for Women of Faith and Fitness and Perfect Fit: Couples Edition.