With Thanksgiving approaching and the New Year around the corner, we can not deny that time is flying by!! I feel like it was just yesterday when I was registering Karel and myself for Ironman Lake Placid for July 2013. If you are a goal setter or someone who gets anxious with a lot of to-do's, this can be the hardest time of the year to feel balanced. But not to worry - focus on the positives in your life.
Last night I was reading Mind Gym by Gary Mack with David Casstevens. As you all may know, I have discussed many times in previous blogs about my work with my friend Gloria with Life With No Limits Coaching who has helped me take my training to the next level. In working together, I have also learned how important having a strong mind is when it comes to developing a healthy relationship with your body and food.
When I was studying exercise science in college to earn my bachelor degree, I decided to earn a minor in psychology so that if I were to ever work with athletes, I would know how to "counsel" them. Who would have thought that 8 years later I would still find the importance of developing a strong connection between the body and the mind.
Now as a RD and endurance athlete, it is amazing how much I use and believe in psychology when it comes to helping people reach goals. Gloria has not only taught me how to stay mentally strong in races but also to keep my mind positive during training. In working with my own athletes for coaching and nutrition, I know first hand how important it is to focus on behaviors rather than to blame actions. Taking a more proactive approach to life, I have a deep passion for changing lifestyles...not just habits and not just telling people what to do. If you have ever encountered hardship or obstacles in your life and felt defeated, it is only with a positive mind that one can turn any negative situation into a positive.
Here's a little from the book that will help you in your quest to develop a strong mind and to create more positivity in your life....
Pg 6. Studies have proven that mental training will not only enhance performance and improve productivity but also add to your enjoyment. Whatever your age, whatever your game, you can learn how to use your mind more constructively. You can learn how to stay focused. You can learn to deal with adversity. Stay motivated during difficulty times. Avoid fatal distractions. You can learn how to follow your dreams and live your life on purpose. Achieving inner excellence is a process. Building mental muscle, like building physical muscle, requires time and effort. The more you work on the inside, the more it will show on the outside. First you will make a commitment. As Yogi supposedly said, when you come to the fork in the road, take it. As we approach the holidays, do you struggle with negative thoughts when it comes to healthy eating or developing a positive attitude to their body? Do you strive to wake up in the morning and say to yourself "I'm proud of myself from how I acted yesterday" or do you wake up and think "I can't believe I was so bad yesterday." Are you someone who says "I'll be better tomorrow" or do you think before you act to make for a better tomorrow? Here's the thing...... it's not the actions that you are making but rather the thoughts that are likely consuming your brain prior to making decisions.
For the next few days, start learning how to avoid negative thoughts. Surround yourself with positivity.....even if you are in the process of changing habits.
Pg 9. One key to achieving success in sports is learning how to focus on the task and not let negative thoughts intrude. The mind can concentrate on only one thing at a time. So, rather than suppress what you don't want to happen, you must focus on what you do want to happen or on some neutral thought. The brain can do remarkable things but, unlike a computer, it doesn't come with an instruction manual. Unfortunately, too often we pull up the wrong "programs" at the wrong times. What we've learned in psychology is that actions follow our thoughts and images. If you say, "Don't hit it in the water" and you're looking at the water, you have just programmed your mind to send the ball to a watery grave. The law of dominant thought says your mind is going to remember the most dominant thought. Think water, remember water, and water likely is what you will get. Rather than say "don't hit it in the water," try another instruction, like "Land the ball ten yards to the right of the pin." You get what your mind sets. The mind works most effectively when you're telling it what to do rather than what not to do.
As you enjoy time with friends, family or your furry little ones, be sure to give thanks to your body for getting you to November 22nd, 2012. Never stop focusing on the positives and creating a strong mind to get you to where you want to be tomorrow.