One more press up, one more run, one more rep; we have all been through it and although most of us won’t like to admit it, we have all given up at some point.
A negative voice takes over and says, “this is too difficult” or “I can’t do anymore”.
These negative voices are holding us back from reaching our full potential.
The mind gives up much quicker than the body.
We need to overcome this mindset and ensure that when our negative mind starts telling us that we can’t do something, we defeat it.
These skills are necessary for everyday life but even more vital for sports training, getting fit and becoming healthy.
I'm going to give you some actionable tips on how to do this.
Set clear and concise goals
We all get told this but I can’t stress the importance of setting yourself well-defined goals so you can achieve exactly what you want. It is fundamental that you sit down before you start anything.
Take some time to really think about what you want to achieve and then plan how you are going to accomplish it.
There is no point in setting only one goal; you have to set multiple targets for along the way to in order to succeed.
Make sure they are realistic and when you reach them, ensure you celebrate and reward yourself accordingly.
I wrote a dedicated blog on goal setting which you can check out here.
Alter your vocabulary
The little negative voice you hear didn’t come out of no where. These are your words that your brain has learnt to speak in a certain tone. You need to try and replace any negativity from your thoughts or speech.
Words like “can’t, won’t” need to be replaced by “I am, I will, I can.” If you can do this then the intensity of that inner voice will start to decrease and eventually disappear.
Sportsmen try and do this (some better than others). Roger Federer, the tennis player is a master at it. He rarely verbalises any negative words when he is playing, even when he misses a shot.
Likewise when a football player scores a goal his team mates will verbally praise him, whilst at the same time when a player misses a penalty kick, his team mates do not slate him for the miss.
Our mind is one of the most powerful things in the world.
Have you ever wondered why, for example, when you come to do that one minute plank at the end of the workout when you're feeling tired it feels like forever?!
Well that is your mind playing tricks on you and this is exactly what we need to do in retaliation.
We need to employ trickery so your mind becomes confused.
An example of this could be telling yourself that you will stop running once you get to that lamp-post down the road but when you get to that lamp-post you keep going and say to yourself you will only stop until the next post.
Or... when you come to do that one minute plank at the end of your workout you go to hold it for 20 seconds only, and when you get to 20 seconds you keep holding for another 20, and another....
No I don't mean anything to do with a ship or TV/radio presenting.
I'm talking about NLP Anchors, a technique whereby you can change your state of mind by connecting a particular physical action to a particular emotional response.
It takes practice but is an ability well worth developing because it can be an extremely powerful tool which can be used in all areas of your life.
We do NLP anchors all the time unintentionally in our own lives.
For example, a big yellow 'M' is an anchor for either cheap, crappy food, or maybe a good-value and tasty meal.
When in a car and approaching a set of lights which suddenly turn red, this is an anchor for either mild frustration, or overwhelming road rage, depending on your disposition.
The good news for us is that we can anchor certain triggers to positive emotional states, meaning that you can...
Feel confident, happy, positive, energised or motivated on demand.
All you have to do is be able to use your imagination, and have about ten minutes to spare.
Depending on how strong the memory you use to anchor is, you can expect NLP anchors to last anywhere from a week to a few months, maybe longer. If you top them up every couple of weeks or so, they last indefinitely.
You can find loads of information about NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and anchors online but I will explain the basics here.
The first thing to do is to:
Pick a memory with strong feelings attached to it.
If you want to anchor “confidence”, then choose a time when you were feeling truly confident.
If you want to anchor “motivation”, then pick a memory of when you were super motivated.
Note - if you believe you’ve never felt this way before, it’s possible to anchor by just imagining yourself as being in a certain resourceful state, but it’s more powerful to actually relive an experience you’ve had personally.
Associate into the memory. This means relive the memory by seeing it through your own eyes (this makes the feelings more intense).
For best results, play with the sub-modalities too - make the picture bigger, brighter, more vivid, make the sounds louder, and ramp up the feelings too.
The clearer the image, and the more intense the feelings, the better your anchor will be.
Anchor the feeling. As mentioned above, when you start feeling the positive feelings, create a trigger – something like rubbing two fingers together.
Keep doing this until you...
Release at the peak. When the emotion is at its peak, release your trigger. This may take a bit of practice, but you’ll get it within a couple of tries.
Test. Break state, which means that you should do something else unrelated for 30 seconds or so (just to take your mind off this).
After that, test your anchor by firing off your trigger. If it has worked, you’ll feel the same strong feelings as you did in the memory!
Repeat. For best results, repeat 3-4 times. You can do this with the same memory, or with different memories for the same emotional state (recommended).
If you stack 3-4 different memories of “confidence”, for example, the next time you need confidence you can fire off your anchor and you’ll feel a brilliant rush of confidence.
Anchoring is a brilliant way to access positive emotions on demand, and is great if you struggle to motivate yourself to exercise or if you just want to feel awesome when you get up in the morning.
Assess the environment you're living in
When you are working towards a goal, look at your social circle.
Your friends and family, the people you spend most of your time with are the ones that often have the biggest influence on your life.
Their beliefs, habits, traits and generally how they live their life will rub off on you, some aspects more obviously than others.
The chances are that if you're not exercising, you're drinking too much alcohol or you're eating poorly, this is also the case for the closest people in your life; your husband, wife, parent, friend, colleague.
And I'm going to tell you....
They don't want you to succeed.
I know, this sounds harsh and ridiculous, right?
But it's reality.
When you start to embark on a journey that will change the person they've grown to be comfortable with.
It terrifies them...
The story in their head tells them:
"If he/she changes and starts looking better, he/she will leave me behind”
"What am I left to do if he/she gets fit and I’m still fat?"
It’s remarkable, but I get it.
I've experienced the same phenomenon in my life. In fact I’ve been on opposite side where I’ve been the terrified one.
When I was at college and all my friends started going on university open days and then applying for different uni courses I didn’t like it.
I told them what they were doing was great, but deep down I wasn’t on board with it.
“If they all move away to uni then I’m going to lose all my mates.”
“I’ll be inferior to them and a failure if I don’t go to uni.”
I was focusing on my own paranoia, forgetting what going to university would mean for my friends and why they were
It's when people who have had enough of feeling:
Exhausted, stressed, embarrassed because of the way they've let themselves go.
That are constantly run down and too tired to keep up with everything.
Hearing the same things like:
“You're fine the way you are”
“You're not in your 20's anymore”
All of these affirmations that have you believing everything's ok.
Having you say to yourself: "I don't need to be in shape, he/she loves me for who I am"
They do love you for who you are and the last thing they want is for you to change.
But, they're not realising the change you're after will be for the better.
They think they’re being supportive but they’re not and they probably don’t even consciously realise it.
Be aware of this kind of behaviour.
This is constantly bringing you down and holding you back from what you truly want and it NEVER should because the most important thing is how you feel.
I don't care if you're the most confident person in the world.
If deep down you feel unhealthy all the time...
How are you supposed to show up for everyone you care for the most in your life?
I had a guy tell me once:
“I'd rather sacrifice my own personal happiness than upset my wife.”
Now, that is very admirable
But, if he was deeply unhappy on the inside, he should take a stand, especially if he knows it would actually better their lives together.
Forget the overall 'vanity' factor of having a better body.
Just think of everything else that comes with it:
Improved relationships, less stress, more confidence, increased energy, better sex life and a much more powerful presence in the work place.
Remember you can't give what you don't have...
For you to completely eradicate negative thoughts and actions and make a change for the better in your life you need to be 100% committed.
And, that starts with having support.
From the loved ones in your life.
Once you have that you'll be unstoppable!.
Sit them down and explain to them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
You’re not exercising and following a nutritional plan to lose weight or get fit . You’re doing it so you can enjoy all the things that come with being a healthy weight and being fit – keeping up with your children, having more confidence and having more energy at work etc.
Bring them to your consultation.
Show them your training programme.
Show them your nutritional plan.
Make them a part of it.
The last thing you need is your friends and family making it difficult for you to succeed. Behaviour like:
Don’t put up with these things. Be firm with them and show them you’re serious.
Remember, you’re doing these things for yourself because if you don’t look after yourself you aren’t giving those that you love the best version of yourself.
You can be the one to set an example and you can become a catalyst to others.
The next step to further boost you is to find a mentor - other people that are in a better place than you, ideally in a place where you want to be right now.
Their influence and how they live will inspire and motivate you to work towards your goal (what they already have).
One of these could be a personal trainer.
Get a personal trainer
People don't hire a trainer because they don't know what to do - the information is out there available for free if you spend a bit of time researching.
People go to a trainer because they want to be pushed beyond the level they would work to on their own.
They are bored of exercising on their own, doing the same routine week after week.
They want exercise to be more interesting.
They want accountability; someone to look up to who will police them and keep them on track.
A good trainer will motivate you and really push you to your limits and of course trick your mind.
It becomes much easier not to give into that small voice when you have someone at your side pushing you further.
That's all I've got for you for this week.
Do you have any other effective ways of cutting out negative emotions and/or promoting a positive state of mind?
Let me know down in the comments section below.