I want to continue to explore the idea of training your brain for success. I am continually reminded that, no matter how “perfect” the diet or workout program may be, it’s getting people to take consistent action that works best for long term success. And that’s what I am always looking for with my clients, long-term success. We don’t always think about our MINDS when we are training, but not only is exercise good for the body, it’s great for the brain. I’ll save more on the physiological benefits of exercise for another day and instead explore the psychological benefits of working out and eating lean and clean.
I really like the idea of “training” your brain… it’s something we are always doing. We can always be teaching ourselves something, so I want to share with you 4 Ways that you can train your brain for success in any area of your life: in your diet, exercise or lifestyle habits that you are developing.
DECIDE & DEVELOP YOUR LIFE PHILOSOPHY
What is your life philosophy? How do you view the world? How do you deal with the day-to-day happenings of your life? Here is a good story to illustrate my point:
“Good, Bad, Who knows?”
There was once a farmer who owned a horse and had a son.
One day, his horse ran away. The neighbors came to express their concern: “Oh, that’s too bad. How are you going to work the fields now?” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”
In a few days, his horse came back and brought another horse with her. Now, the neighbors were glad: “Oh, how lucky! Now you can do twice as much work as before!” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”
The next day, the farmer’s son fell off the new horse and broke his leg. The neighbors were concerned again: “Now that he is incapacitated, he can’t help you around the farm — that’s too bad.” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”
Soon, the news came that a war had broken out, and all the young men were required to join the army. The villagers were sad because they knew that many of the young men would not come back. The farmer’s son could not be drafted because of his broken leg. His neighbors were envious: “How lucky! You get to keep your only son.” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”
So the farmer’s life philosophy is to be flexible, and to not attach too much meaning to an incident, but just accept it for what it is, something that happened. We all develop ways of attaching meaning to the things that happen to us, but what is that meaning? Do you look at a challenge as an opportunity to grow, or as another reason why you can’t succeed? This “life philosophy” is a great way to “filter” what happens to you in your life. If you have a crappy filter, perhaps it needs replacing…
STRENGTHEN YOUR SELF DISCIPLINE
Deciding to do something is the easy part. Taking action and following through CONSISTENTLY is the challenge. I have realized in my own life the power of saying I am going to do something and then following through and doing it. It’s powerful stuff. It develops your mind such that, when you tell it you are going to do something, it knows, you are going to follow through. I always say, “Showing up for the workout is more important than the workout itself.” How strong are your integrity muscles? Decide to do something this week and see if you can stick to it 100%, no matter what. Get up everyday at a certain time, workout for 40 minutes everyday, or go for a daily walk. Whatever you decide, start small, stick to it and watch the magic happen.
ACCELERATE YOUR EFFECTIVENESS
Are you satisfied with where you are in your life? Are there any areas you’d like to improve upon? How effective are you during the day? Do you control your time or does it control you? When you wake up in the morning do you have a morning routine that helps you get off on the right foot? Do you have your most important GOALS or TASKS scheduled so you’ve made time for them today? Effectiveness is the solution for that “I don’t have the time to (fill in the blank)” way of thinking. Schedule your workouts PRIOR to the start of the week. Making time to prep healthy meals and develop routines during the day so you can move more and eat healthier helps to develop your effectiveness. And this carries over to all areas of your life, not just with diet and exercise.
STRETCH YOUR LIMITS
If nothing changes… then nothing changes. The opportunity for change begins when we are a little uncomfortable … just as we take the time each day to stretch our body, so too must we stretch our limits of what we think we can and cannot do. Extending a little beyond what we feel we can do takes both our bodies and our minds to a whole new level. It develops in us a growth mindset and that mindset is one of improvement, forward motion and personal development. It is also the best way to breakthrough boredom and plateaus… and alter that limiting story we have going on in our head. If you always lift a weight that is comfortable for you, your body won’t change. The same is true with your limits. Push them, explore them, and you may just find a whole new level of living.
Working out creates and improves a SUPER FIT MINDSET by challenging you to develop a personal vision and philosophy; it strengthens your self-discipline and forces you to be more effective with your time. But most importantly, it teaches you to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable so that you are able to live in a way where growth becomes an adventure.
Until next time,
Phil Dozois, Owner, Breakthru Fitness