The Link Is What You Think: Is Your Mindset Altering Your Workout Results?


How Your Mindset Is Altering Your Workout Results

Have you ever stopped to think about how your frame of mind is impacting your workout?

Answer these questions about yourself:

  • Are you at the end of your race or at the beginning?
  • Have you lost all of the weight you can or do you think you can lose more?
  • Do you believe your body image is as improved as it can be, or do you believe you can continue to improve?
  • Do you think you can’t do any more to help your body image or do you think you can always do more?

Simply put, this set of beliefs or thoughts  – which can be summarized by either “I can improve” or “I cannot improve any further” – is called “mindset.”

Defining Mindset: Fixed Vs. Growth

Mindset is the set of beliefs about any topic – your intelligence, talents, potential, grades, income, love life, career, accomplishments, even exercise and health – that essentially comes in two flavors, fixed and growth.

If you think you are fixed in time and space due to some limitations in your brainpower or body power and cannot develop any further through hard work or education, you’d be wrong, but your thinking and mindset will need some fixing. Fortunately, you can change your mindset even if you stubbornly believe you are carved in stone.

If you think you can grow, adapt, achieve more and accomplish greater goals than you already have, you have a “growth” mindset and you will continue to achieve more.

Fixed mindsets lead folks to believe that exercise is nothing more than an opportunity to look silly, fail, feel threatened, and result in no change. Any slight setback in weight loss (which is normal) or any lapse in working out (also common) only proves that one is a failure to those with a fixed mindset. Fixed mindset folks plateau early in life, and don’t reach their potential. Growth mindset folks continue to reach new levels of success and don’t stop—ever.

Until you change your mindset, all of the goal setting, meditation, tricks and tips, and the thousands of self-help books, will only be met with an “Oh, why bother…I’m only going to fail.” There’s an old joke in psychology, “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is one, IF and WHEN the light bulb is ready to be changed.” That’s mindset.

How Do You Change Your Mindset

The key to changing your mindset is to catch it, challenge it and change it—the 3 C’s of changing all negative self-talk. Think of mindset as telling yourself something positive and motivating or something negative that holds you back. Yes, it’s a choice. your choice.

1. Catch it: Become aware of the voice telling you that exercise or weight loss are tests of your abilities, a success or failure experience, one that will make you look good or like a failure.

2. Challenge it: With mindfulness and attentiveness, ask, “Who says it is a measure of your abilities? What about it makes it a pass or fail experience?”

Do you believe that once you fail you can never do better? Do you think that you don’t have the ability? How about thinking that you can learn to do something, little by little. How about recognizing that most success has failure along with it? How about thinking that great people have all had failure along the way, and it’s a key part of the learning process? How about recognizing that self-doubt kills more dreams than actual failure ever has? Yes it may take time, but that’s how all accomplishments occur.

3. Change it: The voice you listen to, the voice you feed, will grow. Practice looking at a situation in both mindsets and feel the difference. Then decide… Choose the path that you feel stronger in and that is more motivating, more energizing and more hopeful. Undoubtedly, it is the growth mindset.

Keep in mind the findings of this recent study of the relationship between exercise and health viewed through mindset. Two groups cleaning hotel rooms were followed. One group was told that the activity (which was the same as the other group) met the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. The other group did not receive this message.

The first group showed weight loss, improved blood pressure, and lower body fat and body mass index. So, simply believing that what one does is positive can lead to actual change. Mindset made the difference.

Events occur in everyone’s life. What you think about those events, not the external condition, determines far more than you may realize. Sure, you can set realistic expectations for your weight loss or activity level, but without a growth mindset, nothing will change.

Dr. Michael Mantell

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has been providing psychological and coaching services for nearly 5 decades and continues to empower positive change among his global clients to enhance life in every way. He is a highly sought-after healthcare professional coach, an executive and team building consultant, and a longtime specialist in cognitive behavioral coaching.

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