Everyone knows the famous formula for weight loss: Diet + Exercise = Healthy Weight. But that is not the entire formula. The important missing link is Mindset.
I argue, that you can never succeed, truly succeed in either diet or exercise without the proper mindset. For this article I want to focus on the particular part of the formula: Mindset. So much has been written about diet and exercise that there is little or no need to repeat it here. there are a lot more experts out there qualified to guide you in those directions.
But Let’s talk about Mindset.
In this illustration, Mindset is the base of the pyramid upon which diet and exercise are built. Almost all of us have struggled with our diet and/or exercise programs… yo yo’s of ups and down, successes and failures. Each set back seems like a failure and a blow to our self esteem. This is where mindset comes in. The predecessor to every action is thought. There is no action without intention. Descartes stated as we think, we are: “Cogito ergo sum.” Many great thinkers from Descartes to Buddha to Plato to Yogi Berra: (to paraphrase) “Success is 90% mental and 50% effort”. I would venture that in your efforts to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle you put in 100% effort and significantly less time working on your Mindset.
Modern author Carol Dweck in her book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success asserts that we can control our mindset and thus control our outcomes. Having a successful mindset, resetting our thoughts and focusing on positive outcomes, is the foundation for success. For this reason, you must work just as hard on your Mindset as you do on your diet and your exercise.
When it comes to maintaining a successful Mindset for diet and exercise here are a few quick tips and hints:
- Surround yourself with positive messages and affirmations:
- Write them on your mirror with erasable markers
- Cut and paste them off the internet and post them on your refridgerator
- Google affirmations and make one (or more) your screen saver
- Make it your Facebook profile image
- Surround yourself with positive friends:
- Find a group, a church/synagogue/mosque where you can hear those positive messages
- Over and over again we hear this at 614Fitness and take great pride in affirming each other
- Try to block out those who’s messages are no longer fitting your new dialogue
- Change your thinking by changing your language:
- Try not to use words like “thin”, “fat”,”skinny”. Instead try “healthy”, fit”, “athletic”, “strong”
- It’s not a diet nor an exercise program, it’s a lifestyle
- “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill) – so embrace the failures as opportunities to start over.
- At least once a day, every day, be Mindful:
- I am not suggesting you can “Think yourself thin”, but use some time to focus on the you you want to be
- Find mindfulness in everyday, mundane activities. Washing your hands, sweeping the floor, chopping vegetables… each act can increase your mindfulness.
- Visualize your successes, small and large
- Make corrections, but be gentle with yourself:
- Catch yourself using negative words and images and correct them
- Ask a trusted friend to give you gentle reminders to assert a positive mindset
- Give yourself permission to falter, just get back on the horse and ride
- And celebrate your successes, small and large
You may find that adding a healthy mindset to your diet and exercise regimen is the missing link to your success. You are in control of your own thoughts. Indeed they are about all you can control. Use your healthy Mindset to lead you to an even fitter, healthier you.