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Cultivating a successful mindset written by Kat Millar
Success … it’s all about overcoming challenges, discovering what you’re capable of and showing yourself that you can do things you never before thought possible.
For the past two decades, I’ve been on a constant quest to learn about the science and wisdom behind creating lasting change. What I’ve discovered is that the missing link in many body transformation plans is a focus on how to cultivate a success mindset. Twelve years ago I started working as a personal trainer helping people get healthy, fit and in shape. I loved seeing the changes that people were making in their bodies and their lives. Over the years I observed what made some people successful and others give up. I began to realise that achieving success was so much more than just physical behaviours and disciplines. Lasting change was only possible through a positive mental outlook.
The Power of a Positive Mindset
The mind is a powerful magnet and as such attracts to it what it wants. Let’s face it, we all want things we don’t currently have. We don’t all want to be champions; most of us don’t really want to enter and win competitions. But we all have a deep desire for growth – and for being the best we can be. Creating the health, the body and the life that we want is more than simply achieving a physical goal. Many people I’ve worked with have told me their greatest feeling of victory was conquering their fears and doubts and developing habits that made them feel proud.
Regardless of what you want to achieve right now – be it shooting for a personal best or simply surviving the day without tearing your hair out — the good news is that you have within you right now the power to build an unstoppable, powerful mindset. You have what it takes to achieve the kind of life you really want by cultivating the right thinking.
The Brain’s Role in Body Building
Like any other muscle in our bodies, the brain’s ability to create a success mindset needs to be nurtured and stimulated. This ability in fact makes the brain one of the most important ‘muscles’ to train, because it gives you the confidence and ability to apply and act on all the knowledge you hold about health, fitness and wellbeing.
So how do you cultivate this success mindset?
In this article, I offer three take-home points. There are actually many other ways to improve your ability to think well which I will lay out in future articles in this ‘Mindset’ series. But here are the first three ways to begin developing a positive point of view: focus on what you want, remember your ‘why’ and become mindful of limiting and negative self- talk.
“Master your thoughts and you will master your destiny” – Dr John Demartini
So why work on cultivating a successful mindset?
There are at least five major reasons why you should cultivate a success mindset:
1) It will help you overcome your fears, doubts and challenges.
2) You will increase your confidence and self-image.
3) Our life becomes more fulfilling and meaningful.
4) You influence those around you in positive ways.
5) Life becomes more fun! Additionally, creating a strong and powerful mindset will only help you achieve goals.
1. Focus on what you want
Instead of trying to be more disciplined and denying yourself certain things, focus on what you really want – not what you DON’T want. Whatever you focus on and give attention to will transform your thinking.
One of the best ways to create a success mindset is to focus on the feeling of what you want – and keep this fresh in your mind daily. Remember, our minds find it very hard to process negatives. In other words, it’s hard to NOT do something. We are programmed to DO, not NOT do. It’s even difficult to describe! You’ve probably heard following the mind trick, ‘If I tell you, “Don’t think about a yellow car,” what do you start thinking about? A yellow car, right?’
So to get what you want, remember that your expectations dictate what that will be. The clearer your expectations, and the more you demand those things from yourself, the more likely you will be to achieve them and succeed. We don’t always realise just how powerful such thinking is. We therefore often times fail to act on it. The best way to approach such desires and the thinking needed to achieve them is to get into the habit of speaking and thinking about what you want, not what you don’t want.
2. Remember your ‘why’
Another way to create a success mindset is to list all the reasons why you want your goal. Anything that we do in life is done for a reason or a desired final outcome. This means that it’s important to remind ourselves of the reason why we should workout and lead a healthy lifestyle. To do this, grab a notebook or sheet of paper and list all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and exercise regime.
For example: ‘To feel fit and strong, to look great in my new red dress, to have more energy in the afternoons, to find a partner, to have energy to play with my kids, to wake up feeling refreshed’ etc.
When your motivation starts to waver, pull out your list and rev yourself up to take the necessary actions. You won’t always like the actions you need to take, but you will be pleased with the result. So, in order to achieve the results you want, keep the vision of the ‘future you’ fresh in your mind. Also, write down the answers to these four questions – ‘When I achieve my desired outcome: What will I see? What will I hear? What will I do? How will I feel?’ It doesn’t have to be a big list; just a simple statement is fine. This type of reflection and visualization can make you want to spring into action to get you to that place!
For a free eBook on how to transform your habits, check out: http://jamesclear.com/habits
3. Become mindful of limiting AND negative self-talk
The words we say are extremely powerful. Our words build our world. Do you have a healthy positive vocabulary or do you sometimes speak negatively to others or yourself? The danger with some of our thoughts is that we attach too much meaning to them. From that meaning we derive stories – and sometimes those stories don’t help us move forward.
Do you often say things like ‘I can’t be bothered today. It’s too hard. It’s not working, so what’s the point? I can’t understand why it’s not working for me. I don’t know why I always sabotage myself’ or other non-productive statements? Even if you’re just thinking them and not saying them out loud, they can wreak havoc on the success mindset you’re working to cultivate.
At times, we tell ourselves certain phrases so often that we well and truly believe them. Instead, become mindful of when you say these phrases to yourself and replace them with more healthy and helpful ones. When we repeat these positive phrases in our minds, we start to attract more and more of what we need and want into our lives.
Having a success mindset is not an inherited trait that some people have and others don’t. It starts with a choice and, like most skills, needs to be practised and put to work. The best time to start is now. As mentioned these are just three of many ways to improve your ability to think well and develop a positive point of view. Touch base next month for the next steps to the new and improved you.
“Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights –we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges.”
– Dr. Stephen R. Covey
Some examples of negative and limiting phrases:
‘I’m so fat’
‘I always fail’
‘I’m really weak’
‘I never stick with anything’
‘I am happy being comfortable’
‘I’m stuck in this situation and have no choice’
‘It’s just the way I am’
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results”
– Willie Nelson
Some helpful, positive statements to embrace:
‘I choose to / I want to / I get to’
‘I enjoy the benefits of exercise’
‘I deserve to take care of my body’
‘I’m in control of my choices’
‘It’s possible for me’
‘I am bound for success!’
‘The best time is now.’
‘I am unstoppable.’
‘I have everything in me that I need to succeed.’
Author of this article:
Kat Millar works with people globally to get in better shape and improve their confidence, health and self-image. Through her coaching, training, online programs and seminars, Kat has helped close to a thousand people since 2003 to achieve their goals. She’s an award-winning figure competitor, fitness lecturer and has a passion for nutrition and behavioural psychology. She offers a range of programs for total body transformation.