A couple weeks ago I bought my first ever size 6 pants…..size 6!!!!!!!! I Think I am still in shock. I never would have thought I would be a size 6 but with some simple life style changes, it has happened.
The biggest lesson I have learned is, I need to become mentally strong. Your mental game will make or break you. Becoming mentally strong will separate you from the pack and help you achieve higher levels of success. Dan always tells me, “You are above average”. I hear this statement when I don’t want to go to the gym, or don’t want to do the extra cardio. Those are the times I need to hear it, to turn my perspective around and say, you know what “I am above average and I will reach my goals.” I feel everyone possesses some level of mental strength and if not then it can be easily obtained. I also feel the stronger you are mentally, the more likely you are to achieve bigger and better goals.
About three weeks ago I weighed myself on a Friday morning and was convinced I had lost at least 2lbs to go along with my 3lbs the week prior. I was so sure. When I stepped on the scale I had actually gained 3lbs. I was devastated. A lot of you would say, “It’s only 3lbs” but it was a lot to me and really rocked my mental strength. I left for work that morning saying goodbye and I love you to Dan like every other morning and with that he knew I gained. He knew because when I lose weight it’s the biggest deal in the world and he is always the first to know. He didn’t mention it all day but that evening he said, very casually, “how did your weigh in go” and I said, very casually, “I don’t want to talk about it” and then it was like verbal diarrhea, it just wouldn’t stop. It went something like this, “I gained 3lbs, 3lbs. I was so sure I had lost weight but no. It’s the cheese bread I ate at grandmas on the weekend. Its just not fair, I work so hard through the week and then eat cheese bread and gain 3lbs. I don’t want to do this any more, this sucks, all my hard work for nothing” and on and on and on it went. After Dan calmed me down, we discovered that I ate WAY more than just cheese bread that weekend (Cheese Bread has now become a joke and a lot seems to get blamed on the cheese bread). That morning Dan received his “Darren Daily” (A great motivational speaker who sends out daily inspirations for entrepreneurs) which he forwarded on to me because he felt it was so fitting for me at that time. It was all about developing your mental strength to be successful and to be prepared for life’s battles. I will look at a few in this blog and put my own spin on it as we go.
(Side note: In previous blogs Dan and I have both written about not weighing in regularly, which we whole heartedly believe in. I was doing weigh in’s for a 3 week period as I was doing a Burn Phase. Keep your scales put away)
Mental strength conquers self-doubt. I have set many goals over the last year and with each of those goals has come a level of self-doubt, more doubt for some than others. If your goal is to bench press 150lbs, run a 10K or lose 40lbs you will likely experience self-doubt. This self-doubt is normal part of the achievement process. When you are mentally strong you will be prepared for the negative self-talk and ultimately be able to re-frame your negative self-talk and look at your goals with increased confidence. With self-doubt you are listening to your negative thoughts on a daily basis.
To overcome this you first need to become very aware of this talk, change it to positive self-talk and become your own cheerleader. This may seem like common sense but so many are unaware they are listening to their negative self-talk. Take this a step further and start listening to motivational speakers while working out, in your car, first thing in the morning and before bed. All of these changes will be your constant positive defense against that negative mental offense.
Mental strength keeps your focused and motivated. I think we all find it easy to stick to our goals when we are feel great, are on top of the world and motivated, but we all know this feeling doesn’t last. When mental strength is in place you will keep focused on your goals and moving towards them, especially on the days you don’t feel like it. Dan has said to my countless times when I don’t want to be at the gym, “These are the days that count the most, these are the days you need to be here.” The “I Don’t Feel Like It” days are the days when you need to dig deep and discover the inner strength that has been waiting to be discovered.
Mental strength helps you decipher unhelpful advice. We all have them…those doubters, haters and critics, the ones who offer advice when you didn’t even ask. I have come across some terrible advice in the last year, people telling me to stop in case I hurt my back, people saying I shouldn’t work so hard, people saying I should not lose any more weight. All of these comments shook me, some I started to believe. Since I work out 5 times a week, I am getting stronger and my back is healed and because I have made lifestyle changes the weight is coming off regardless of what I do because my body is healthy and working towards a healthy homeostasis.
Mental strength will help you tune out the unhelpful criticism and bad advice from those around you. Being strong will help you stay true to your values and keep you focused on making the best decisions, regardless of the feedback you receive from those around you. “Don’t let some ones else’s opinion of you become your reality” –Les Brown
Mental strength ensures you will learn from your mistakes. The worst thing you can do on your fitness journey is to make excuses. I have heard COUNTLESS excuses from EVERYONE (Dan and I write them down and will one day make a book of the excuses). What I have learned is you cannot push people when it comes to their fitness; they have to want it for themselves. When you hide your mistakes and make excuses for your blunders, this increases the chances that you will repeat your mistakes again.
I had a huge realization a couple of weeks ago when I discovered an excuse I was making that if Dan can cheat on weekends so can I. Because I work out so much through the week, I thought it was ok for me to indulge on weekends. I realized two things; Dan has been working out for 20 years, is a male, I am just starting my journey and food is a major factor in my success. Secondly, I am an endomorph, my body tends to be bigger and hold on to fat so I need to be stricter with my eating. I took this as a learning opportunity and was happy that I only gained 3lbs. I used my mental strength, taking my thoughts from “I want to die I gained 3 lbs” to “I ate like crap on the weekend and only gained 3lbs”. Mental strength helps you humbly accept responsibility for your actions so you can ultimately learn from your mistakes. Through each mistake you will learn a lesson and through each lesson you will grow and with each growth you will reach your goals…I promise!
Mental strength provides courage. When I first started at the gym, I was so scared and intimidated by the meat heads that I went on the stairs for 10 minutes and left. Dan called me later that day to ask how it went and I contemplated making something up (aka lying) but I told the truth and after he was done laughing at me he said how proud he was of me. I went with Dan after that and developed confidence in the gym ultimately developing mental strength! I know for many newbies you think everyone is watching you BUT listen when I say, people are not watching you, most people are there doing their own thing working on their own mental strength…trust me. If you ever want someone to go with you to the gym to show you the ropes leave a comment below or message me and I would love to go with you (for free!!). Stepping outside your comfort zone is difficult, but mental strength gives you the courage to face your fears and never look back.
Mental strength helps you bounce back from failure. While failure causes most people to give up, mentally strong people bounce back from failure even better than before. I have faced failure over the last couple of years in many areas of life, not just at the gym but because of my mental strength, now failure is my biggest motivator. It drives me to push harder than I ever have, it makes me want it bad, it’s the animal in my competitive nature. This mental strength has helped me to develop my self-worth and realize I am worth fighting for and when I fail time and time again, I get back up without fear.
Building mental strength will help you use failure as a stepping-stone to future success. “When life knocks you down, try to land on your back because if you can look up you can get up”- Les Brown
Mental strength helps you regulate your emotions. This to me is the most important area to develop mental strength. Any road to success, especially the fitness road is filled with emotional highs and lows! If the skills to handle your emotions around these highs and lows are not in place, you will struggle in all emotional areas. Mental strength is the key to controlling your emotions so your feelings don’t get in the way and lead you astray.
There will always be obstacles and challenges that threaten to derail your road to success. Building mental strength will help you develop resilience to life’s inevitable obstacles so you can overcome setbacks with confidence. It is truly about the journey you are on and not just the end result. If you can take a step back and be aware of your journey, I truly believe you will achieve your goals.
Take each day as it comes and work at being better than you were yesterday.
If you hit the pinnacle of the mountain, there is nowhere left to go but down and I am not ready for the decent. Keep pushing each day, enjoy your journey and develop your mental strength.
Until next time