The hidden keys to physical well being
The one big issue for achieving personal health and fitness goals is the one most commonly overlooked: having the right mindset.
It’s important that your mindset is working for you, not against you. Elite athletes know this well, but it applies to all of us.
Through working with and observing elite athletes over many years, I have found there are six key areas that improve mindset, leading to greater physical health and well-being:
1. Welcome obstacles & challenges
Do you see obstacles as an opportunity to increase your fortitude, or an excuse to give up?
All health and fitness regimes will encounter roadblocks. An injury or an illness may stop you for a time. The test is having the fortitude to ease back into your regime when you start feeling better.
Some challenges may require a change of routine – whether you are able to be flexible in these cases comes down to mindset again.
It’s worth remembering that every time you successfully overcome an obstacle, your mindset improves.
2. Embrace effort
A poor mindset may see you falling into the trap of thinking “there is no point to all this” or “it won’t make a difference” or “this is too hard” or “what did I get myself into?” It’s amazing how these negative thoughts can appear when the body requires an effort.
The key to maintaining effort is to keep chipping away. If your task seems overwhelming, b
reak it down into smaller, more achievable lots. Take one step at a time. Remind yourself of how good you will feel later if you make an effort now.
3. Use positive affirmations
Positive thinking has huge potential to improve mindset, but it’s easy to slip into a cycle of negative thinking unintentionally.
Many elite athletes have had great success using positive affirmations – these are sayings that prop you up and pep you up. For example, an athlete may say: “Each and every day I am a better athlete”.
Telling yourself a positive affirmation in the early morning, and again late in the evening, can be re
markably effective in getting you to think and feel positive – with tangible benefits for physical wellbeing. It could be something as simple as “I am better today than I was yesterday”.
4. Welcome criticism
In your journey toward a healthier and fitter lifestyle, you may come in for criticism – hopefully this is constructive and from someone you respect, such as a physio, personal trainer or exercise partner.
A negative mindset will see you brush it aside, dismiss it, and in some cases totally de-rail your program. A healthy mindset enables you to learn from it, take it on board and improve – you won’t see it as a personal attack and your ego won’t be bruised as a result.
5. Enjoy others’ success
We can either celebrate or feel threatened by others’ success. A healthy mindset will always appreciate and admire our peers’ achievements, and understand that it is no reflection on us. In fact, we can use it for inspiration.
6. Consider meditation
Meditation is a huge topic, and impossible to cover in a few sentences. But for mindset the right meditations can be hugely influential.
The only requirement is an open mind. But as everybody is different, some meditations will be more effective than others. People may be surprised how many elite athletes use meditation to achieve bigger and better things.