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Playing The Mental Game!

If you can't think big because of self doubt then it's time to start playing make believe. Learn how to play the mental game!
Using Your Mind For A Change

This is a transcript of a past conversation in my head ...

Me: I wonder if I will ever be in the physical condition that I see these guys in on the covers of the magazines
Me: What do you mean you "wonder" if you can do it? It basically, comes down to this, can you see yourself doing it?
Me: Yes
Me: Close your eyes, as you see yourself doing it are you in the first person point of view or are you viewing yourself doing it like a person watching TV? Just an outsider?
Me: I'm outside
Me: Step inside the picture and see it first hand, has your feelings for it changed?
Me: Yes, it has.
Me: Then what is stopping you?
Me: Well, there are so many outside factors. What if ...
Me: WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, WHAT IF! What if you succeed. What if Arnold decided to stay in Austria?
Me: Yeah, but that didn't happen.
Me: Exactly, it didn't happen because he believed in himself and kept going. What makes you think he never doubted he could do something? It isn't about perfection, it's about persistence. You lose when you give up, you lose if you don't go for it, there is still possibility and you reach closer and closer to your goal as you keep going. Giving up is easy and you can quit anytime you would like to. Why not show yourself the opposite and go for it? Do you want to do it?
Me: Yes ... okay I will go for it.

So the words aren't exact, but the repeated lessons are almost always the same. Let's look at this conversation a little deeper.

It Starts With A Dream

What is your dream? That is where it starts. If you can't think big because of self doubt then it's time to start playing make believe. "What one can conceive he can achieve" some unknown once said, and this very phrase is repeated by successful people and self help guru's alike. Start paying attention to those dreams because they tell a lot about your preference and your purpose in life. Some people even say they don't have any dreams. Learning to quiet your mind is just as simple as sitting alone for a few minutes and just paying attention to what is going on internally.

Where Are You In Your Dreams

When you get involved in your mental reality it's important to notice if you are in first person or third person. If you are in third person then you aren't really seeing what it's like to be the person achieving your dream. Do you see a fit you? Well, step into that body and try it on. Feel those tone abs! How are people treating you and what are they saying? go look in the mirror, what do you see in the reflection? Experience this body in numerous situations, but do it in a positive manner that makes it desirable. You are now focusing on what you will soon become first hand.

What if:

What if automatically denotes someone using their imagination for either optimism or pessimism. What if's haven't happened and can be a powerful way to help focus and mold your thought. Next time you find yourself having a little bit of doubt on a particular issue start "what if"ing postive thoughts.

  • What if I got down to 8% body fat.
  • What if I went in and asked my boss for the raise, he has the opportunity to say "yes".
  • What if ... fill in your own reality here

When you hear others around you start a sentence with "what if" immediately start paying attention as to whether they have an optimistic or pessimistic attitude. If you catch yourself saying it, instantly STOP, and refocus your words to ensure you are using them to your benefit. This is more focused visualization that can help you create a different reality than the one you are living in right now.

Click To Enlarge My 2001 Body-For-Life Pics!

None of us are immune from negative thoughts or self doubt. It's just that successful people will act in spite of it. The only way to conquer our fears is to face them head on. The first conversation took place in my mind AFTER I had been featured in EAS BetaLean HP ads for the first half of the year. For 6 months my likeness in great physical shape appeared in these ads, yet it didn't make me totally immune from those thoughts creeping back in. It's your head and you are in control. Take those fears and flip them around. There are useful and not useful thoughts. Use those doubts as an excuse to prove yourself wrong.

Do You Want To Do It

This simple question seems so EASY, but it's so hard at the same time. When you are experiencing what it's like to be in that body how compelling is it? If experiencing those 5 senses is so compelling that you must go out and immediately have that body, then you have a mental dream that you should turn into a clear and concise goal.

If the vision isn't compelling enough then you need to find another vision. It's your mind, play with it, use it and tinker around with those visions until you find the one that is compelling enough to do something with it.

How do you take a dream and make it a goal? You write it on paper and start to define it. Here is an example: I would love to have rippling abs like Shawn Phillips that I see on the front cover of his book, ABSolution. I'm currently at 12% body fat, and I know that you don't really start seeing the abs until around 8 or 9%. In 12 weeks I will drop from 12% down to 8% body fat while working my abs like a mad man. HOLY COW! I just took my inner vision and turned it into a clear and concise goal. So what is next?

Take action, even in spite of tremendous doubt, take action: Great people never fail, right? Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Do the things we fear, and the death of fear is certain." Failure only happens when you give up. When you persistently tackle a problem you whittle away at it more and more each time. Your body changes are the same way. You start from where you are at and build it from the ground up, but get started. Most people get to this point and never even start. Don't worry about knowing every little thing that it takes to get started, just take action ... today! Don't get caught up in the paralysis of analysis. Make a little plan, set some goals, dump the bad food out of your fridge and get started.

Putting It All Together

    1. Sit in silence and visualize your new body and new life that you would like to achieve
    2. If you aren't in first person then move into the body in first person.
    3. Take some of your doubts and start imagining the opposite with "what ifs" in a positive manner.
    4. Play numerous scenarios out until you get more comfortable in these situations as if you were already there.
    5. When you step back to the here and now write down in specific sentences what it would take to achieve that body. NOTE: it may take you a year or so depending upon how big you are dreaming. Don't be afraid, go for what you really want, it will be more compelling and far easier to stick with.
    6. Break this goal into incremental chunks and give yourself a rough date for each one.
    7. Take the first step. Yes, get started today.

About Me

Zachary Marcy has a BA degree in Psychology from Georgia State University. He has been involved in the fitness industry since 1990 as a personal trainer, a motivational speaker, and as a life success coach. He now uses his numerous years of experience to continue assisting athletes, body builders, and fitness conscious people internationally. You may email him at or read his Body Blog by clicking here!