5 mental habits for success

When it comes to successfully sticking to an exercise plan and eating healthfully, you frequently hear people saying that ‘it’s all in the mind’.

Many people advocate that you need to firstly focus on your mindset because, in the end, it is ‘mind over matter’, which is absolutely true.

Think positively

During any lifestyle transformation, if you choose to focus on how much you need to sacrifice, instead of how much you will gain, everything that you have to sacrifice will always weigh more than what you stand to gain.

If you choose to focus on how far you still need to go, you will always forget how far you have already come. If you choose to focus on everything that you are struggling with, you will fail to see your small victories.

Your mindset can truly make or break you. Thankfully, we’re fortunate in that we can choose our thoughts and we can choose to use our mind to influence our outcomes in a positive manner.

To help you achieve this, here are five mental habits for success:

#1. Visualisation

During a study that was done on a group of basketball players, the researchers tested free-throw shooting accuracy.  The players were divided into two groups. The first group practiced by only shooting baskets, while the other group practiced using both mental imagery and actually shooting baskets.

In the end the second group – the one that did both – performed best.

This study confirms the power of the mind and the impact that your imagination, your thoughts and your confidence in yourself ultimately has in your overall success.

According to Jade Teta, owner of Metabolic Effect, “Every time you take action or imagine yourself completing a task, you’re reprogramming your automatic mind toward a different reality.”

For you to really succeed at changing your lifestyle, body or eating habits, you need to visualise yourself making the necessary changes.

The best time to practice visualisation is first thing in the morning or right before you climb in bed at night.

If you need to get up early for gym, right before you go to bed, visualise yourself getting up early, putting on your gym clothes and even visualise yourself in the gym pushing those final reps or breaking a sweat.

According to the results of the above mentioned study, you are more likely to succeed or perform better if you visualise yourself doing these things in advance.

#2. No mission, no vision

It is important to know that before you can visualise you need to determine your goal because without a mission, you can have no vision.

One of the most important questions that you can ask yourself while on a transformation journey or when starting out with one is “why?”

You need to know why you are choosing to make these lifestyle changes and you need to know the reason behind your ‘why’.

As an example of a suitable ‘why’ the phrase “I would like to live more healthily” is a great answer, but it just doesn’t cut it when things get tough. A better example would be: “I would like to live more healthily, because I would like to set a positive example for my kids and I would like to be able to play with them without getting out of breath.”

Those are real reasons that hold meaning and substance, which is what you will need to keep you going, especially on those tough days. I recommend that you make time to write down your ‘why’ and them ask yourself whether it has enough substance to it and whether it will pull you through, even on those days that you feel like giving up.

#3. Positive focus

One guaranteed way for not succeeding is focusing on the negative the whole time. Your mind is so powerful that if you choose to focus on the negative, there will be no room for the positive.

You won’t see your small victories and you’ll definitely be unable to see how far you have come.

It is crucial for you to choose your thoughts on a daily basis. You also need to choose where your focus lies.

There is no room for comparing yourself with others because that is a fight you will never win. Stay positive about yourself and always remember how far you have come.

It’s all about becoming a better version of yourself, and the road to that goal is paved with positivity.

#4. Set realistic expectations

I have worked with numerous clients who have tried everything and still didn’t reach their goals. This usually results in a completely negative mindset.

However, when I eventually sit with them and we talk about all their previous failed attempts, we realise that they didn’t fail because they were weak, undisciplined or because of the fact that they couldn’t reach the goal, they failed because they had unrealistic expectations, either with regard to the timeframe or the work that was required to reach that specific goal.

So many people end up being negative about their progress when, in fact, their progress is completely on track.

In these instances, it’s their expectation of the progress that is completely unrealistic. If you want to reach your goals, it is very important that your mind is in your corner, and this includes having realistic expectations with regard to your goals.

#5. Enjoying the process

Usually, when we start a transformation journey, we are so focused on the end goal that we completely forget to enjoy the process or the journey itself.

Enjoying the process is a crucial part of keeping your mind positive and maintaining your focus. We need to remember that living a healthier life or changing your body won’t happen overnight.

If you choose to also enjoy the process, learn along the way, get stronger (mentally and physically), and see each setback along the way as a stepping stone for a wonderful comeback, you will definitely reach the end of the road as a better version of yourself.

If you are planning on making some changes to your lifestyle or to your body, I encourage you to start by making the necessary changes to you mindset first – your thoughts and your focus.

Examine your ‘why’ and find a reason for embarking on this process that will carry you through even the toughest of days.

By Laetitia Dee, owner of Laetus Life (www.laetuslife.com)

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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