Your Success is Determined by Your Mindset
Now that we have the importance of finding your “why” motivation, out of the way (see previous post here), let’s consider your closest friends and influences in your life. Reflect on your life and the times your friends, mentors, parents, teachers, pastors, etc. made you feel great about who you are and who you want to become. Do you have these people in mind? Now, think about their personality traits and characteristics. Were they positive when you were feeling negative? Were they inspirational and upbeat? Did they always have the right thing to say when you needed a boost? Did they make you feel like you could conquer the world? Most likely, they made you feel great about who you are and what you have been created to do on this planet. Consequently, the more that these people encouraged you, the more you actually believed them – and as a result, you experienced great things come to fruition.
Now imagine with me, if you will, that you are approaching these same people with the frustrations you have about your health and your fitness level. Imagine if their response was something like: “You know you’re never going to actually reach your goals, right?” “You’ve tried to get in shape before and look where that has got you!” “You’re just going to give up.” “Your thighs are indeed fat and your cellulite is disgusting!” “You need to cover that up and forget buying a new outfit, today! If it looks bad in the dressing room, it won’t look good out there!” “You’re too old to get in good shape! Don’t even think you’ll be be able to keep up with folks younger than you…”
These are horrible statements, aren’t they? We can’t even imagine people we admire and respect saying such things to us, can we? SO WHY ON EARTH DO WE SAY THINGS LIKE THIS TO OURSELVES…AND OFTEN? Our minds are amazing storage units for information. However, our minds cannot always determine true thoughts from untrue thoughts. Over time, given enough of the same thought patterns, the mind will develop a belief system surrounding similar thought patterns. More importantly, our habits (good and bad) will stem from from these belief systems. And, consequently, our habits, over time, become who we are. This is proven psychological science that I will not get into right now; but, there are many great teachers and scientists who have proven this to be the way our minds process the world around us. Our minds must have a method of categorizing the constant barrage of information we deal with day in and day out. By forming belief systems and maintaining habits, our mind can more easily make sense of all the information we are exposed to. I hope that makes sense?
So what’s the big deal? So you degrade yourself in the mirror or so you have accepted your age limitations and you own your genetic predispositions toward inheriting certain diseases. It’s the fact of life, isn’t it? Or, is it? On the contrary, if you tell yourself who you want to be; what you want to look like; what you want to accomplish, etc. and you do so with conviction, in the present tense and often, you will see dramatic changes in your current beliefs – and ultimately, you will see changes in how quickly you accomplish your goals.
My personal weight loss journey, as aforementioned in previous posts, has been a long and interesting journey. The journey has been an uphill battle at times, with plenty of plateaus along the way. While learning how to exercise properly and eat nutritionally sound food in proper proportions where both necessary practices in breaking plateaus, it was not until I applied some very important mental exercises, that I truly saw the transformation take place.
Along my journey, I met Bob, a friend and my previous supervisor. Bob was responsible for pioneering the shift in my mental framework that allowed me to achieve success – not only in finding my ideal healthful weight and status; but, discovering the ability to pursue and experience excellence in every other aspect of my life. Bob introduced me to the concept of visualization and affirmations that he had learned from his mentors. Interested in becoming half as confident and determined as Bob, I started creating affirmations and a visualization practice, focused primarily on my health, in the beginning stages.
Each morning I began my day with visualizing my ideal physique; the energy I wanted to feel; the act of putting on my favorite pair of jeans and smiling because I felt amazing, etc. I did this practice for 10 minutes. I also created a list of affirmations regarding my sleep patterns, my exact measurements and body fat percentage I wished to be, my body fat percentage, etc. I recorded each of these affirmations on my phone with enough pause after each affirmation to repeat the statement and practiced this daily with feeling and conviction, in the car on my way to work.
This process was surprisingly refreshing and improved my mood and provided a sense of control and hope with seeing my future unfold. As time went by, I started to see the fruits of my thought patterns come to light; I began to see results. I felt more energetic. I was sleeping better. I was serendipitously coming across the right research; the right nutrition program; the right exercise program at the right time. My mind was open and willing to accept the gifts available to me that would assist me in achieving my success. And all of this occurred with littleeffort on my part. Months later, I was able to achieve the exact goals I outlined in my affirmations to the pound and fat percentage.
I have countess examples of how the gifts of affirmations and visualization have worked in my life. I have completely changed my body. I have improved many of my relationships. I have passed difficult exams. I have completed projects I didn’t think were possible to complete…the list goes on and on. You see, the point is, that you cancompletely change the outcome of something – albeit, it may seem daunting at times. However, the feelings of doubt don’t have to hold you back from improvement. Whether you wish to improve your weight; your exam performance; your relationships, etc., as you learn to change your mindset you can allow your subconscious mind to take over and do the driving, so to speak.
So where do you begin? You start by changing how you speak to yourself. And how do you do that? Grab a piece of paper (or your journal) and a pen and divide one page in half. You can use my affirmation worksheets (here). On one side, write down everything you are unhappy about. It should be said that this concept and process that I’m going to share with you, can apply to EVERY aspect of your life, not just your health. Use this process for your finances; your relationships; your spiritual walk; your business, etc. Ultimately, every area of your life and every attitude you wish to change, will benefit from creating new thoughts. Remember, your thoughts become beliefs, which in turn become your habits – which ultimately, become who you are. In other words: you are your thoughts.
However, as we are focusing on health and wellness in this particular post, you may wish to address and change specific thoughts regarding your weight; your measurements; your physical performance; your flexibility; your energy level; your cholesterol level; your cellulite, etc. Once you have completed your “unhappy list”, it is time to move over to the opposite page. Now, on the opposite page write down your ideal characteristics that you wish to have and be specific. Be specific to the pound, the inch, etc. For example, can your ideal self do 20 pushups? Can your ideal self jump out of bed every morning refreshed and ready to start your day by 6 am? Whoever your ideal is, be very specific. This is important because the brain likes specifics.
Now, here comes the fun part. You are going to create affirmations from either list, that are positive, in the present tense and are programmable. What do I mean by programmable? Programmable is a term I use for affirmations that are simple enough for the brain to process and to adopt as a belief – and in turn, create subconscious habits to support this new belief. You can use the affirmation worksheets from the Resource section of this website (here).
For example, I’ll share with you some of my “dislikes” that I had, the affirmations I created around these, and my results. When I first created these affirmation (or borrowed some from the internet), I noted on the left-hand side of my page that I did not like seeing myself naked and that I didn’t like the lumpy bumpy parts. I wasn’t satisfied with my weight and wanted to feel more motivated to workout and eat healthier. So, I created affirmations around these specific things I wanted to change. It should be noted that of all of the affirmations I created, the most important I said to myself (and continue to say) is:
1. “I love and accept myself unconditionally just the way I am.” I recommend you adopt this one, too. In fact, every time you catch yourself giving a returned look of disgust in the mirror, a negative thought creeps up in your mind or you say something cruel to yourself, YOU NEED TO SAY THIS AFFIRMATION!!!
Here are some of my specific affirmations for health and fitness:
2. “My skin is firm and smooth.”
3. “My body is dissolving excess fat for it no longer needs it.”
4. “I love how easy it is for me to maintain my great health, my set point of [X] pounds
and my ideal body shape.”
5. “I am at [X]% body fat.”
6. “My nutritional intake supports my ideal health and body weight.”
7. “I am growing taller, more flexible, leaner and stronger every day.”
8. “My thighs are [X]” in diameter, firm and resemble a Nike manikin. My hips are [X]” in
diameter and are firm, round, lifted 2 inches, compact and flawlessly shaped.” My abs are
flat, firm and defined. My arms resemble a dancers – strong, long and lean.”
9. “I am a perfect size[ X]”
10. “I fall asleep easily and remain asleep until my body and mind
are fully rested.”
11. “I get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.”
As a result of saying my affirmations, out loud, every morning, I have seen incredible results. I have surpassed the exact goals I set for myself and I had to create new measurement and weight goals. I have grown to love and accept my body. For the first time in my life, I actually look forward to trying clothes on. So this process and method really works, if you make it work for you.
In addition, here are some key tips and tricks to really make this work for you. Write every affirmation down pertaining to EVERYTHING you want. Make it specific. Make it present tense and make it POSITIVE. For example, don’t say “I’m not obsessed with eating bad foods.” This has negative connotations; but rather, say, “I crave only the foods that nourish and fuel my body.” I recommend recording yourself on your phone, saying each individual affirmation, and then pausing your voice for 5-10 seconds to allow enough time for repeating the affirmation, out loud, after each recorded statement. After all of the affirmations are recorded, you can now listen to all of your affirmations on a walk, jog, in the car, etc. and repeat them after hearing your own voice say them. This is very powerful.
When you repeat your affirmations out loud, say them with conviction and with emotion. Smile when you say them and really say each of them like you were projecting on a stage. Say each one with power and with energy (the car is a great place for this, by the way). By adding emotion, you are further signaling the brain to make new neuronal connections to the belief you are creating. And, you will find that by adding the dramatized emotion, you feel freakishly happier and excited for your day and what lies ahead.
Lastly, visualize yourself in the shape; in the situation; in the form that your are saying out loud. Just as I benefited from visualizing the day of the test or my ideal body, you too, will benefit from visualizing what it is that you want. Again, there is a lot of science behind the power of affirmations; but, I’ll save that discussion for another time. However, feel free to research neurophysiology, cognitive psychotherapy and the power of affirmations, if you are interested.
See it. Feel it. Believe it. Become it.
All of the best to you,
So, now it is your turn. What type(s) of affirmations do you want to create for yourself? Tell me in the comments, below.