We have all heard the saying ‘Mind over matter’ or ‘Where your mind goes, the body will follow.’
With that being said I’m going to lay out my top tips for getting your mind primed for success when beginning any health or fitness journey.
How to Ace Goal setting
The first step to success is to become extremely clear on what exactly you will be doing and how you will achieve these goals.
For example, your goal might be to ‘lose weight and tone up’ which is great but let’s make that a little more clear using the SMART method.
This is a breakdown of two long term goals
Specific: I want to be 20 – 25 % body fat, and be able to squat 50 kg for 1 set 8 reps
Measured: Using body fat caliper testing and weights sets and reps
Achievable: Yes this is achievable, currently I am 30% body fat and can squat 40kg
Relevant: These goals are both relevant to my overall goal of tone and weight loss.
Timed: 6 month’s time I will retest using calipers and 8 rep squat.
Which should then be broken down into short term goals which helps keep you focused month to month, long term goals can seem impossible if you don’t break it out into doable chuncks.
For the next 30 days, I would then set another 3 goals to focus on, for example:
Go to the nutritionist and get a food plan drawn up
Exercise 3 – 4 X per week (2 weights based 1-2) cardio based
Spend the evenings and Sunday making sure I am organised for the next day / week.
After these 30 days, I would then asses how those three goals went and perhaps introduce some new goals if I am ready such as:
Drink a glass of water with main meals and one bottle while exercising.
Build up to 5km run on treadmill.
After 3 months, I would then retest and see where your body fat % is and how much you can squat safely for 8 reps.
Retesting keeps you accountable to your goals and once you see improvements it also helps build momentum. If you don’t see as much change as you had hoped then it’s a chance to reflect and be honest with yourself if you have been following your exercise and food plan.
When setting goals, the biggest mistake you can make is to go in too hot, find it too hard to maintain then burn and crash. It depends where you are in your health and fitness journey, you can’t expect to go from not exercising and eating poorly to exercising 6 times a week with perfectly nutritionally balanced meals all in one week. Psychologically it’s been proven to take 21 days to form new habits. To make sure each new habit sticks you have to be patient with yourself and not overload your plate.
We have so many external influences day to day to filter through. This can be anything you see, hear or consume. The way you interpret the day’s events will largely depend on the internal filter you have on life and yourself. Therefore, we have to be very mindful of what we speak over ourselves and circumstances as they arise.
Work on building a new picture of yourself or your ‘Self esteem.’ If your mind sees you in a new way it paves the path for your body to follow. You should declare you are changing and see the success in your mind before it even occurs. This technique of visulistation is incredbily powerful. I would reccomend reading Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz to understand this technique and work towards this.
Focus on the good, on your strengths and affirm these qualities.
Recognise your character weaknesses and patiently work at improving these areas.
Be kind to yourself like you would a best friend. Treat your body kindly. Eat well to nourish your body. Exercise to test your bodies strength and fitness not to punish it.
When something bad happens that taps into an affirmation of what you believe affirms your inadequacies use it as a chance to learn and grow stronger. Don’t wallow in self-pity or misery.
Tell yourself you CAN do all that you put your mind to.
Don’t allow comparison to get you down or off track, stay focused on your path and your goals.
Be truly grateful for every good thing in your life.
When we look at our life through a lense of positivity, patience and gratefulness you will see your mindset shift. This shift will then flow on to your body and how you treat it.
An easy task to evaluate your stressors is to make two lists side by side of what feeds you and what drains you, everything from work, relationships and activities. Identify what you can’t avoid and what you can.
For example, it’s impossible to avoid working 30 – 40 hours a week but you can avoid staying late or unpaid for in a job that you hate. It’s taken me years to understand the importance of looking after myself. Being a serial people pleaser learning to say NO has been extremely challenging but something I had to learn the hard way. Another way to look at it is, if you don’t be careful with where you put your energy you run the risk of BURNOUT which then causes more stress for you and others around you.
BURNOUT I believe is inevitable when the list of what drains you is longer than the list of what feeds you. It’s just a matter of time before something unravels. Too much cortisol (the stress hormone) inhibits weight loss. Until you can balance your stressors, adding exercise and food plans into the mix probably won’t be helping at all.
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All the best!