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Change Starts in the Brain: 6 Tips to Avoid Mental Sabotage

You can’t expect to change your body without, first, changing your mind.

negative thoughtsOur mind gets in our way of our success far more than it ever should. We talk trash to ourselves, beat ourselves up and constantly say negative things to ourselves all the time. It doesn’t matter how talented we are, what our IQ is, how big our muscles are, how much money we have, or how popular we may be, we WILL find all of our weakest points and be sure to remind ourselves of those weak spots every single day.

Lose the Tude
good attitudeNegativity first starts with a poor attitude, and our attitude is determined by your thoughts. The problem is, we don’t actively try to control our thoughts. We just let them run rampant, and let our mind think about anything it wants to think about. Have you ever thought about putting your mind on a leash? Seriously people! We need to do more than just try to control our body, we need to actively and aggressively work DAILY to control our mind.

Transforming your mind takes work, just like transforming your body. We work SO hard to force our bodies to workout and control our weight. We work SO hard to do everything that is necessary to prepare healthy food and watch what we eat so we can shed unwanted fat. Yet, we do very little (sometimes nothing) to control our mind, transform our thoughts, shed negative thinking, and gain a positive constructive mindset. How can we expect our body to be transformed if we don’t first transform our mind?

Go Against the Flow
against the flowOur thoughts are affected by what goes on around us – advertisements, flashy cars, money, bills, work, grumpy people, cars that cut us off in traffic, gossipers, news, politics, etc. It’s like they are screaming “buy this, do that, go there”, and it’s very easy to  let life push us around and get us off course. Key word: LET.

Don’t let your mind go with the unhealthy flow. As award winning author and preacher, Joyce Meyer, says “where the mind goes, man follows“. This means if you want to run a 5K, your mind has to run a 5K first. And, if you want to have an affair, your mind will have an affair first. We have to learn to take control of our mind no matter what is going on around us.

If you don’t think you can control your mind, think again. Scripture says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind“. God knows the how powerful our mind is and just the fact scripture tells us to do it means it is possible. You can’t expect your body to do great things when your mind is in the dump. Also, notice it didn’t say “renew your mind” it say “renewing”, meaning continually renew – everyday you start fresh.

We don’t have to let this world control us, and mold us into what it wants us to be. We CAN transform and renew our mind just like you hope to constantly transform and renew your body.

Six Mind Fixes

yes i can1. Have a yes mind. Get in the habit of using words like “I will” and “I can”. We often say “I think I can”, “I want to”, “I hope I can”, and even “I can’t” way too often. These are the same words we use when we don’t want to commit to going to an event or doing something. These wishy-washy words give us an out – and in fitness, we don’t need to give ourselves an out. These words say “No” before we even say “No”. Learn to have a yes mind.

2. Forget the past. The past does NOT have to affect our future unless we let it. If you’ve failed before, forget it. That was a different time, a different set of circumstances, a different you. Don’t let your past failures sneak their way into the present.

3. Shield your thoughts. We can’t always avoid negative people and the stresses of life, but we sure as heck can avoid many other downers to help protect our thoughts. You can have much better control of your mind if you are purposefully surrounding yourself with positive like-minded people and avoiding people that bring you down. There are also certain places you need to avoid. Whether you avoid a restaurant or bar, or watching depressing stressful news – you can control where you spend your time, and what you watch or listen to, to help reduce stress and negative thoughts.

stinkin thinking4. Stop thinking about useless crap. How often do we not only think about negative stuff, but we actually dwell on it. We ponder, we dig, we obsess – all about stuff we have no control over. We think about who did us wrong, past failures, bills we can’t pay, people who let us down, etc. Those are all things that we have absolutely no control over. We have to get in the habit of shutting those thoughts out. As soon as they come to mind, we HAVE to say “STOP! NO MORE!” We have the power to shift gears and to change our thoughts to stuff we can actually control.

5. Fill up on good stuff. There can’t be a lot of room for negative thoughts if you are constantly filling your mind up with positive ones. Actively seek fitness mantras (like the ones I post), listen to music that is uplifting, and make sure you have at least one person or source (spouse, friend, Bible, preacher, relative, devotion) who can give you a daily dose of positive words every day.

6. Stick to the facts. Facts don’t lie. People lie. People doubt, they fear, they struggle. However, if you focus on the fact that working out WILL pay off, dieting WILL pay off, and fitness DOES work, (whether you doubt it, fear it won’t or struggle through it) you’ll make it all the way to your goal.

stop whining, start running

How to Give Your Self-Esteem a Healthy Boost

Why are we so hard on ourself?

If you asked me all the things I hated about myself, I’d pour you some tea because it would take a while to list everything. Physical flaws, personality flaws, my weaknesses, my fears…I probably could spend all day picking myself apart. By the time it was over, I’d need to check into a mental hospital.

On the contrary, if you asked me to tell you something good about myself, I’d probably draw a blank – at least for a moment. I’d most likely come up with a few things, none of which would probably be a physical trait. Every time I’d begin to say something, I’d immediately think of how that could be better or how “it’s not really that great”. I could come up with a few good personality traits, moral traits and probably some professional strengths but, all in all, it would be one difficult task.

The Remodel Job: You Through YOUR Eyes

Why is it so hard to like ourself? I think it’s because we know our flaws better than anyone else, and can’t see how we look to others. Think of our body like our house. People can come to our house and brag on how pretty it is, compliment the decorating, etc but they aren’t inspecting it with a white glove. Only we know what is broken, how dusty the baseboards are and what parts have been neglected because we are the ones who see it up close every day. Despite what needs work, we make it as presentable as we can to share with others. This happens a lot in fitness. We work so hard to remodel ourselves, and maintain our body (like we do our house), that we are aware of our flaws even more.

The Archie Bunker Effect: You Through ANOTHER’s Voice

Another reason we are hard on ourself is because others can be hard on us. Think of Archie Bunker. We all remember what a jerk he was – a funny jerk, but a jerk still. Yet, we know he loved Edith. He adored her actually. However, he was so darn hard on everyone and rarely gave a compliment.

Unfortunately, our loved ones will sometimes point out our flaws more than our good traits, just like good ole Archie. Ironically, they probably could make a list a mile long of all your great traits. They SEE you better than you probably see yourself, but they often TELL you everything they don’t like a lot more. It’s like having one pimple on your face. If everyone points at it all the time, you can’t think of anything else besides that annoying pimple. You’ll feel ugly and want to hide, no matter how great the rest of you looks. But, the same person with the same pimple is much better if no one points it out. They’ll almost forget it’s there if people let them.

I’m not saying we should ignore our flaws – if they are something we can work on, we should be aware of them enough to want to work on them. I believe we should always want to improve. However, we can’t let them get us down because there are still SO many parts of you that are simply amazing.

Things to Consider:

1. You have great traits whether you see them or not. Others do. You just need to open your eyes.

2. When others point out flaws, they are normally the same few flaws they continue to point out. Tell them “you know, you’re working on it” and to be patient.

3. If you focus on correcting flaws every day, allot extra time to focus on your progress. If you need to pull out fat pictures, do it. If you need to keep a package of Ramen Noodles out to remember when you used to be broke, do it. Support a child in need and post his/her picture on the refrigerator to help keep a healthy perspective in life. Do whatever it takes to remind you where you came from so you aren’t so focused on where you are headed you forget to celebrate where you are.

4. Be thankful. Thank the Lord for everything you DO have and for everything you are. God made you and He thinks you are great. It’s hard to be ungrateful when you are talking to God. That’s like telling an artist you think their painting is ugly. Also, you can’t lie to Him and you can’t get him to feel sorry for you when there are people in the world who don’t know if they will survive another day without food. He knows just how truly blessed you are, and will quickly remind you too. You’ll find your mind and heart will open up in a unique way. He’ll help bring you back to reality. Before you know it, you’ll be overwhelmed with life, your health, your friends, your functioning body and all that you DO have that’s truly great.

Homework:

Write down at least 5 things that you feel are amazing about yourself and write them down. Post it at your desk or vanity to remember every day. Share the love and tell a co-worker, friend or loved one at least 5 things you like about them and right them down so they can post it and remember they are awesome too!

Reality Check: Just Be YOUR Best

It’s easy to beat ourselves up for everything we are not. If I made a list of all the things I hated about my body alone, it would take so much paper I’d have to plant a new tree in its honor. Then, when I was done with my body, I could start cracking on everything else I don’t do well.  Then I could list all my fears (and I have plenty of them) …and the list goes on.

Yes, I can easily focus on everything I’m not and everyone else I’d rather be, but God made me perfect in his eyes. Don’t get me wrong! I’M not perfect, but God made me the way He wanted me to be – ME. That means, it takes all those traits, all my flaws, all my personality (good and bad) to make me ME! So, if this is who God made me to be, pimples and all, then it’s up to me to be the VERY BEST that I can be with what I have.

Why do we constantly compare ourselves to people who are not anything like us? Why beat ourselves up for what we are not. Why set the sights so high we constantly get let down. Enough is enough! It’s time to look in the mirror and focus on what you CAN do – not what others are doing.

I probably will never have a perfect body with 6-pack abs and muscular legs, but I can be fit. I am not a rocket scientist but I am making a difference with what knowledge I have. I may never get on stage in a bikini, but I’ll be happy to sing the opening anthem. The more I accept what I’m not, the more I can be at peace with who I am. Why? Because God didn’t make no accidents – and even if I’m not THE BEST, I can always be MY BEST.

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