Have you ever started a new workout or diet routine, and the first few weeks were a breeze, and then as each week passed it got tougher to stick with?
Everyone can train and hard for a day or a week.
But most people cannot do these things for the long haul.
Training and dieting get boring, they get tough, failures happen, there are ups and then there’s downs.
There will always be something going on, school, a big work project, a pandemic (who would’ve thought), kids stuff, weddings, parties….you get the point.
You also will mess up at some point and it will feel like you won’t be able to move forward.
Does this sound familiar?
We think fitness is physical, but the truth is, 99% of it is mental.
The BS advice of “just work harder, stop being weak” doesn’t help. Trust me, after my first year of coaching clients, I realized how well that advice worked.
Pretty much any workout/diet routine will work. But what they leave out is how to mentally prepare for what’s to come.
Without mentally preparing for what’s to come or working on your mental game, this will lead to you trying to start over on that diet/workout plan for the 15th time OR you looking up the “newest/best” workout/diet plan on the internet over and over.
Instead of trying that new thing, try to work on these 6 mindset tips so you can finally stick to your plan.
Internal Locus of Control
This is the foundation of your mindset for diet/exercise. Focusing on what you can control, rather than blaming things outside of your control is a must.
Focusing on things outside of your control is like trying to lose weight while eating in a calorie surplus (eating more food than energy expended), it wont happen.
You must own any success or failure in your fitness journey.
How many times have you blamed work or blamed things like your kids after school activities for not getting your workout in or sticking to your diet?
When you blame these things they will continue to pop up and be an issue. Always getting in the way of your goal.
Or the “I think there is something wrong me”, so instead of focusing on how you can fix your diet you instead take endless trips to the doctor or maybe you take the easy trip to Dr. Google and spend hours trying to find something wrong with you.
I have seen this happen with clients before, they don’t see the progress they want right away so they change their focus from an internal locus of control (what can I do to improve) to an external (there must be something wrong with me).
Not realizing that they are spending their energy (which is a finite resource) on that instead of what they could be doing.
What happens when you make that switch is that you no longer are looking for ways on how YOU can improve.
The more you blame things outside your control, the more you start to believe that it is true. Leading to this endless cycle of feeling helpless.
Instead, you need to ask yourself things like:
How could I have handled it better?
Could I have planned ahead better?
Own it. By owning your successes and failures you start to realize that you’re the one in control. Not anything or anyone else. This mindset can be so freeing. It takes time though.
You wont just wake up one day with an internal locus of control, especially if you haven’t ever had that mindset before. So keep at it and practice.
Which leads to me to my next mindset tip……
Train your willpower
Just like you need to train your muscles consistently for them to grow, you need to practice your willpower to build that muscle.
When you stop training your muscles, they get smaller. The same goes for your willpower.
We can build our willpower by doing small tasks daily.
To jumpstart this, focus on small habits. The next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook start with just 5 minutes of meditation or a 10-minute walk. This will help grow that willpower muscle.
Another good tip I have seen before is if it takes less than 5 minutes to do, do it right now.
The more you do something the more you are likely to repeat that in the future. While this is good, it can be just as easy to go the opposite direction as well. Make sure it’s heading in the right direction.
For some people, it might be saying no to that piece of cake, for others, it might be only having half of the cake and not the entire thing. It all depends.
Get those willpower reps in today.
Avoid the F It moment
Does this sound familiar? You ate out for lunch and didnt make the best choice, so later in the day you tell yourself “well I already messed up, so F it im just going all out today.” Give me all the pizza and ice cream I can find.
So one bad choice leads into an entire day worth of bad choices. No doubt ruining all of the progress you made over the past few days/weeks/months. These “F it” moments are detrimental to your progress.
We never want to get to the point where you just completely let go. Instead, if you make a less than ideal choice, use your willpower and make sure your next meal is better aligned for your goal. One meal won’t make or break you, but when you start to add in another and another, then it adds up.
If this is you, then addressing what your day to day diet/workout plan looks like is important.
Maybe this looks like taking a less restrictive approach, maybe eating a little more food throughout the day, allowing yourself to enjoy tasty foods from time to time etc.
Chances are these “F it” moments stem from very intense workouts/restrictive diet plans that are not sustainable for most people.
In today’s world, we can have pretty much anything we want when we want it.
This is a lot different than what its been for the majority of our existence on earth.
The longer you have to wait for something the less appealing it is. For example, fat loss is much less appealing right now than that piece of pizza, or watching that extra episode on Netflix is much less appealing than the extra hour of sleep you will get. Sitting on social media is much more appealing than starting your workout. You get the point.
What we dont realize is that instant gratification makes us feel worse later.
Thinking about the future reward first can be a helpful tool to combat this. That’s why writing down your goal and looking at it every morning is a helpful reminder and sets the tone for the decisions you make that day.
Learning how to delay gratification is a must in today’s world.
Dont fight the urge…accept it
This is another common mindset mistake. You have had those days where everything sounds good and your cravings are high and you think to yourself “there is something wrong with me” or you tell yourself to “stop having these thoughts.” You try to fight what you are feeling.
Instead, accept that you are hungry and craving foods. When you suppress negative thoughts/feelings it can lead to higher levels of inadequacy, depression, anxiety etc.
This is where 5-10 minutes of mindfulness like meditation can come in handy. Realize that you have these feelings, accept them, and then know that while you cant control what you are thinking/feeling you can control how YOU react and deal with these feelings.
If you do 5-10 minutes of meditation or something like that and you still want to eat that cookie, just freaking do it and move on.
Get clear on your goal
I wanted to leave you with this one. This is the most important. Make sure whatever you are doing its because you want it.
If you don’t want to lose body fat and are perfectly happy with how things are, then don’t force it. If you have a goal because you feel like its what you need to do then chances are you will always run into roadblocks. So make sure you are clear on your why.
There you have it. You are now armed with techniques and tips to tackle the mental side of fitness. They all go hand in hand. First, switch your focus from an external locus of control and then an internal locus of control and go from there.
The cool thing with using these techniques/tips is that they will also leak into other aspects of your life like work, school, relationships, etc.
If you are a 25-45 busy professional who is looking to take the next step and lose 10-15lbs and 2-4 inches off your waist permanently while building muscle in the next 12 weeks then look into our Lean in 12 online coaching program: Lean in 12: 1 on 1 Online Coaching