Have your New Year's resolutions to feel better, look better, and be better fallen by the wayside a mere month into the year? Unfortunately, if you're like most people, January is for making resolutions and February is for breaking them.
Believe me, I know the temptation to stay in bed and hit the snooze button—whether it's to silence the blaring sound of your alarm clock or the bustle of a hectic lifestyle. Let's face it, balancing family, friends, and work can be tricky and, at times, leave you feeling overwhelmed. Setbacks are inevitable. It's how you deal with them that matters.
Be proactive. You can't control outside forces, but you can change how you handle them. Redirect your mindset from defeatist to elitist or, at the very least, from bored and distracted to focused and tenacious! In simple terms: can you develop a daredevil mindset!
Use these tips to revamp your mindset and hype up your motivation. They'll fuel you to re-board the resolution train and keep chugging away at your goals, whatever they might be.
Examine Your Motivation
A guy walks into a gym. He looks around, forgets why he's there, and walks out.
Yes, this might sound like a joke with a bad punch line, but the message is clear: What drives you? You'd be hard-pressed to find an athlete who couldn't tell you their clear-cut objectives for putting endless hours into training and recovery. And it isn't just about being able to recite your goals. Athletes have drives backed by enthusiasm and desire for what they do. That combination of head and heart contributes to their success.
Examine your motivation, and keep it at the front of your mind. Own it. Knowing the purpose of your actions will set you on course, while having a passion for them will ensure follow-through. Next time that alarm rings in the morning, recall your main objective. Are you striving to put on muscle? Are you looking to gain strength for a sport? Whatever your motivation is, let it drive you. Imagine achieving your goal, and realize the hard work you put in at the gym as the vehicle that gets you there.
Crush Your Comfort Zone
Sheryl Crow was on to something when she sang "A Change Would Do You Good." Anyone who continues following the same routine day after day, week after week, and year after year without seeing measurable results sets themselves up for failure. Step out of your comfort zone and into a new realm. Cut out the same old same old, and switch things up to see how your body reacts. Push yourself. If you're a weight junkie, try CrossFit. If you're a running purist, incorporate swimming. If you are a cyclist, take up yoga. If you just can't step out of the gym, try your best to shake it up. Go freestyle for a week. Break your workout rules.
Focus on using and developing your body in different ways. This mental break can lead to a major physical boon. What's the worst that can happen? You become a yogi? You become a Spartan Race addict? You'll never know unless you give it a try.
Visualize Your Goal
It might sound like a line from "Field of Dreams," but there's a reason athletes utilize visualization. We spend so much time preparing our bodies for our physical pursuits but often ignore our mind. We shouldn't. Visualization is often the difference between hitting the bull's-eye and completely missing the target. Picture your first task. Then do it.
Visualization is an excellent way to check in and stay on track with your goals whether you're a cyclist visualizing your course, a golfer visualizing your perfect game, or a daily fitness fiend visualizing yourself mastering perfect push-up form.
When the Going Gets Tough...Focus
You don't have to look far to find a story about an athlete who triumphs over something that would break the average person. This is no coincidence. The ability to deal with adversity is the key to the successful pursuit of your goals. Rather than focusing on how hard or tough something is, focus on what needs to be done.
Take running a race, for example. If you spend the race focusing on how your body feels or what another competitor is doing, you may find yourself crumbling under pressure. Alternately, if you go into the race with a plan that focuses on mechanics and a race strategy, you instantly increase your odds of succeeding. Having specifics to focus on when a task turns into an uphill battle allows you to redirect your attention. Do this, and your energy will follow.
Commitment to the daily grind is the driving force behind any solid mindset. You need to be driven, you need to be dedicated, and you need to be consistent. Rocky didn't just wake up one day a world-class boxer; Rudy didn't just quit showing up to football practice. It's easy to commit when motivation is high and the payoff is apparent, but what happens when your enthusiasm dwindles and you're tempted to cut corners?
When you want to jump ship, call on your mantra. It's not only for yogis and self-proclaimed hippies. A mantra can be as simple as one word or as elaborate as a finely tuned story. The mere act of repeating a mantra can physically calm the heart rate and refocus the mind; it's a technique used by most elite athletes in their daily training and during competition. Just remember, push too hard and "No Pain, No Gain" could actually lead to pain. Stick with positive mantras which inspire without leading to injury.1
Success is not only about precise execution, but also the frequency of actions. What it all comes down to is consistency, which takes organization and focus.
Rather than haphazardly shoving in a workout wherever it fits, redesign your workouts to fit your lifestyle. Spend an hour each week laying out your schedule. Set a day and time and stick to it. Not only does being consistent guarantee optimal performance, it also boosts confidence and perceived capability.