Change your mind, change your body
What if there was a way to make getting what you want out of life easier?
What if everything you’ve ever dreamed of was just a few steps within your grasp?
What if getting back into shape simply required a change in the way you look at the world?
Well, like most things in life, this concept is very simple…but not easy.
It’s all about your mindset.
Your mindset will determine what you achieve,
How much you achieve,
The company you keep,
The fat you lose,
The fat you keep off,
The happiness you feel,
The potential of your kids,
Your effectiveness at work,
And even the health of your relationship.
Growth vs fixed mindsets
In her book “Mindset”, Carol Dweck talks about two different mindsets.
The first is the growth mindset.
In the growth mindset, you see your traits and abilities as ever-growing,
You can develop these traits and abilities.
The skills and abilities you have today are not what you can have tomorrow.
All of these things can be developed and improved and you believe that.
The fixed mindset is the opposite.
The fixed mindset sees skills and abilities as static.
The traits and abilities you have today are the things you will have for life.
There is no potential for improvement, there is no opportunity for advancement.
You have what you have and that’s that.
Pretty sad, right?
The thing is that these mindsets completely influence the challenges you take on in your life.
If you have a growth mindset, you see challenges as opportunities for growth.
So you seek out and enjoy them.
You see criticism as feedback that you can use to make yourself better.
So you don’t get down on yourself if someone criticizes you.
You see obstacles as the way to a greater, more fulfilled life.
So you don’t give up when you hit a little road bump, you pull up your slacks and barrel through.
(On the other side of every obstacle is an opportunity to grow)
But, if you have a fixed mindset,
You see challenges as useless.
Your traits are fixed.
You think “Why try to improve them?”
So you don’t seek them out.
You take criticism personally as the traits you have today are the traits you will have for life.
Therefore any feedback/criticism you get is a personal attack on your character.
You see obstacles as an indication that you don’t have what it takes to go on.
So you simply give up as you believe you will never have what it takes to get over that obstacle.
And then you never grow, never develop, never evolve.
Sounds like a pretty sad life to me.
Here’s a chart that summarizes the two mindsets beautifully:
So, if you have a fixed mindset, you’re not “out to pasture”.
You can improve, you can change, you can develop.
You can adopt a growth mindset…
One step at a time.
Just think of your kids.
When they were younger, they couldn’t walk, talk or read.
Then they slowly started to crawl,
Then they stood up with the help of the couch,
Then they fell,
Then they got up and walked holding onto the couch,
Then they stood on their own,
Then they fell,
Then they got up and started walking on their own.
Growth and development don’t end with learning to walk.
Your brain is plastic until the day you die.
You can continue to make improvements,
You can continue to grow,
And you can continue to evolve.
Just think about driving your car.
You used to suck at that,
And now, I bet you can eat, listen to the radio, talk on the phone and flip off that a-hole that cut you off…
All at the same time.
You got better at that.
Why can’t you get better at getting healthy?
Here’s how to use the growth mindset to get back into high-performance shape.
1. Learning and practicing strategies for success
Success leaves clues.
Look at what the fittest people are doing and identify the skills they have mastered.
Every goal can be broken down into skills.
Every skill can be broken down into habits that can be practiced daily.
When enough of those habits are strung together in a relatively consistent pattern,
You get that outcome.
For example, if you want to lose fat and keep it off,
One of the skills necessary to do this is hunger and appetite awareness.
The skills of hunger and appetite awareness can be broken down into the daily habits of eating slowly and eating mindfully.
You can practice eating slowly every day by putting your fork down between bites,
By chewing your food a certain number of times,
By using smaller utensils,
And hey, maybe you aren’t that great at using chopsticks right now, eat with those, that will really slow you down…
Until you get awesome at it, of course 😉
Mindful eating can be practiced daily by playing the hunger game before, during and after your meal,
By eliminating distractions when you eat,
Or when you’re satisfied not stuffed.
So, goals can be broken down into skills,
Skills into habits.
Habits can be practiced every day.
That long-term commitment to doing those habits consistently is what will lead to your outcome.
What skills and habits do you need to develop to reach your goal?
2. Anticipate, plan, strategize
Use the growth mindset and it’s belief that you can improve to think ahead for success,
Anticipate the obstacles that may come up,
Plan for success around them,
And implement strategies and systems to continue to find success when the inevitable setbacks come up.
Maybe you check the restaurant’s menu beforehand for healthier options that include lean protein and veggies,
Or maybe you decide you’ll order from the kid’s menu as the dishes are a little smaller.
Maybe you do a kitchen clean-out to ensure that all of your red light foods are out of the house and therefore are less likely to tempt you,
Maybe you prepare your meals beforehand so you’re not stuck buying take-out-that food,
Maybe you put your gym clothes out the night before,
Or even sleep in your gym clothes…
Gross…maybe a little,
but, who cares?!
How can you anticipate, plan and strategize your way to success?
3. Managing obstacles and setbacks
As mentioned above, in the fixed mindset, obstacles and challenges are viewed as useless as your traits and skills are fixed.
What point does it serve to challenge yourself when you know you can’t get better?
Conversely, with the growth mindset, challenges and obstacles are opportunities to make you into a better version of yourself.
They are put there to test your stuff,
To take you to the next level,
To allow you to grow and develop into an even more resilient, advanced human being.
Obstacles and setbacks are a gift when viewed this way.
So, really, it’s about stopping in your tracks when a challenge comes up.
Ask yourself “how am I viewing this obstacle?”
Are you seeing it as useless, unproductive and a reason to give up?
If so, name it.
Call it out.
Tell yourself “there is an obstacle preventing me from achieving this objective. I want to give up because of it”
Then flip your fixed mindset on its head and ask “what can I learn from this setback?”
“How will this obstacle make me better in achieving my objective?”
“How is this an opportunity for improvement?”
“How will I be better on the other side of this setback?”
Use these obstacles and setbacks to remind yourself that you are an unfinished product that can be shaped and molded into something even more awesome than you are today.
Don’t get me wrong, you are awesome right now.
But, you can use the growth mindset to take that awesome to the next level.
Now, maybe you lose some fat,
You get into better shape,
You start playing ball again.
You da’ man, cool guy!
But, now what?
If you see your traits as fixed, you will assume that these improvements will be yours for life.
Not the case.
You need to work to maintain these changes.
Often times, people make a change, then they stop doing what it took to make that change.
Then they revert back to what they had before.
Traits and skills (especially newly acquired ones) are not static.
They can be improved but they can also be lost.
Maintenance can be a challenging thing.
If you followed a strict Keto diet down to the letter,
How do you stay in shape once that diet is removed?
If you used rewards and carrots to go to the gym.
How will you continue to work out when that carrot is removed?
Well, the answer lies in developing habits.
You have habits now that take you through your life.
You likely soap yourself up in the shower the same way,
You wake up and put the coffee on the same way every day,
You lay on the couch with your feet up the same way every day.
These are all habits that you have ingrained and that make it easy to live life without having to think too much.
Well, this is the key to maintenance.
Developing those keystone habits that make staying in shape easy.
Those habits might be eating lean protein and veggies at each meal,
Sleeping 8 hours per night,
Walking 30 minutes every day,
Or lifting weights at lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
So, how do you develop these habits?
i. Pick one thing to work on
Not three things,
Not even two.
Pick the most important habit to work on right now,
And eliminate all the other ones…for now.
If you remember, if you take on one habit, you’ll have an 85% chance of success.
If you take on two habits, your success rate goes to 35%,
If you take on three or more habits, your success goes down to less than 10%.
ii. Ensure confidence
Assess your confidence in achieving that habit on a scale of 1-10.
If you are a 9 or 10, go for it.
If you are an 8 or less, shrink the change.
If your goal is to eat lean protein at each meal, maybe just start with breakfast and supper.
You can always go back and grow the change later.
iii. Do some process planning
Script the critical moves.
Where are you going to do this habit?
When are you going to this habit?
With whom are you going to do this habit?
How long will it take?
I am going to work out for 30 minutes at lunch,
In the gym at work,
With my co-worker, Jerry.
iv. Track your progress
Have a system of tracking your success from day to day.
Maybe you keep a workout journal.
Or even a Meal consistency sheet.
Whatever you do, create a daily cadence of checking off your habit.
v. Get accountability
This could be as simple as putting a goal out there on social media that you are going to work out 3 times per week,
Or that you are going to eat veggies at every meal.
Once it’s out there, things get real.
You’ll often times do whatever it takes to maintain that action you put out there for the world to see.
Or you could, of course, get a coach.
That is the secret sauce of getting back into shape.
Not only will your coach be someone to be accountable to,
They can help guide you through obstacles and setbacks,
And pick the strategies best suited for you right now.
The growth mindset will unlock potential in you you thought you never had.
When you have viewed challenges and obstacle as insurmountable your whole life,
It can be incredibly liberating to know that those obstacles can serve you,
That challenges can improve you,
And that setbacks are the path to a better version of yourself.
Use the growth mindset strategies in this article to lose fat,
Keep it off,
And to get your high-performance body back.