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Wednesday
Feb222012

Master Your Mindset: Simple Thinking to Conquer Any Goal

Written by Paul Kriegler, RD/LD, CISSN – Life Time Weight Loss

Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Around this time of year, the momentum behind New Year’s resolutions (and now the Life Time Weight Loss 90-Day Challenge) begins to fade. I’ve seen Life Time’s fitness floors, studios, gyms,  and locker rooms look frighteningly full in January and early February, only to resemble something more like a library or funeral home come early March. It’s sad, and I came into this industry to help change that, so here are my helpful secrets.

In my experience, there is no shortage of diet resources, information, schools of thought, or simple solutions that attempt to make the “healthy eating” formula as easy as possible for us. Heck, we have hundreds of articles on this website, healthy cafes, and even accountability programs to help you avoid falling off the wagon! It’s maddening. It’s confusing. It works for some, but maybe not yet for you.

This was supposed to be the year you really focused on (insert your big, hairy, audacious goal here).  You even ANNOUNCED your goal! This was supposed to be the time you smartened up and did it right. But “it’s so hard…and things got so busy to maintain…and I’m just not ready to change certain things yet…it’s GOT to be simpler than this!” You know better, and perhaps you’ve even done better in the past. Can it really be that you’re incapable of succeeding?

I don’t believe so. Nor does anyone I’ve met. It’s the mindset and belief that makes Life Time such a great place for you (and an equally great place for me to work!). Succeeding at anything isn’t about knowing enough. It’s not even about doing enough. What matters most is knowing and doing just enough – consistently. 

Consider your mindset for a moment – especially your mindset about those fitness or weight loss goals you set. It may be really hard to do.  It requires you to quiet your busy mind from thinking about the next work task or what happened in the meeting with a coworker earlier this week. Whatever – you get the idea. We’re constantly distracted, and it eats us alive. 

Start changing your mindset and simplify your thinking so that you’re more present. Multi-tasking is a sure fire way to do many things “ok” and, if you’re lucky, you may also do one or two of those things well. Do you really want to leave the fate of your resolution or 90-day goal to happenstance?

My observances tell me that maintaining a weight or physique that pleases us rarely happens by chance for “multi-taskers.” It’s not as though these people aren’t capable of achieving their “happiness weight.” They may be so distracted by everything else,  they lose focus on what’s essential to maintain their health and fitness.

Focus on right now. Today. What is something essential you can do today to lead to a happier you? Would it really hurt your career if you did something healthy for yourself today, to make you happier and more productive tomorrow? Go ahead, block your calendar out for 3 minutes every hour to take some deep breaths, touch your toes, or do a few jumping jacks. Being healthy isn’t a future event, it’s an act – as in "presently happening."

You can’t control yesterday and tomorrow is a crap shoot, but my money says you have some leverage over right now. So focus. Stop surfing Facebook over lunch, don’t drive during breakfast, and quit using a shovel to put tortilla chips in your mouth when you’re “thinking of what to make for dinner.” Believe me, that last one is hard.

Focus on what you do well. It’s interesting when you think about this. Our own thoughts often lead us to think we have many things to “fix” before we can get on the right track. Wrong. Make a quick list of all the behaviors you feel you do better than the average American. You have a membership to a health club? You go to bed at a decent time? Your freezer has more vegetables than pizza rolls in it? Great. You do several things well. Now do more of those!

Follow a routine. When I was training clients, this seemed like the last thing I wanted for my clients. My thought was they’d get bored doing the same old thing. Turns out, doing the same (or at least very similar thing) consistently is the best way to make a new behavior into a habit. When we apply this advice to our lifestyle schedule it can be incredibly powerful.

Make a habit to go to Life Time three to four times a week. I didn’t say make a habit of working out with every visit. There’s a good chance if you go, you’ll do something physical, but if not, that’s ok. You’re simply “practicing” a habit. One of my favorites to practice is to get some peace and quiet in the sauna if I feel too sleepy to do a hard workout. There are some health benefits to simply sitting in peace and quiet. In fact, this may be where many people (re)start their resolutions. It’s also great for the mindset. And if you’re still reading, you’re obviously interested in a different frame of mind that involves more doing (consistently).

After all, Henry Ford also said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” What do you think?

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Reader Comments (3)

This not easy to master your mind: I think Yoga is the one which can teach us how to master the mind and body. right?

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdiscount vitamins

Very well written with excellent advise. I really like the quote: "What matters most is knowing and doing just enough – consistently." I totally agree with this - whatever you can do consistently, even if it's not the MOST that you can do, will get you to your long term goals. This is true in every aspect of your life.

Thanks for a thoughtful and motivating post.

February 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Joanne!

February 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Kriegler, RD/LD

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