Some days I really don’t feel like running, but I’ve learned how to override such feelings by simply reminding myself that not running feels far worse. For me it’s that simple, but others – I know – struggle to get out the door and get moving; the mind is willing but the body is not budging. So, for those of you genuinely wanting to win your daily mind games (whether exercise-related or in general), here’s a list of helpful tips:
1. Establish your own personal set of everyday “Non-Negotiables”
I have a few daily non-negotiables; they include waking up early every day, making my bed as soon as I get up, listening to or reading something positive before I start my day, and always exercising before breakfast. I call these my daily non-negotiables because that’s what they are; they are habits that are locked in and only occasionally compromised. I do these things because I believe that the act of practicing them daily sets the tone for an overall disciplined approach to life.
2. Plan, Schedule, Organize!
Former NFL punter, Steve Wetherford, says that his incredibly busy life as a husband, father, and sought-after spokesperson, would not be manageable if he didn’t plan each week. He sits down every Sunday evening and writes down what he intends to accomplish during the week ahead. With a broad over-arching goal in mind, he then breaks that goal down into daily tasks and objectives. He admits that sometimes his weeks don’t go as planned, but having a general map to guide him through each day of each week helps him to use his time purposefully.
I think one of the greatest dangers of not planning is a tendency to become complacent. A lot of people spend their days simply existing – they wake up, go to work, go home, watch TV or hang out on social media, go to bed, and repeat – it’s too easy to live this way if you don’t intentionally plan your days.
3. Learn to say “No!”
Lewis Howes, host of the podcast talk show The School of Greatness, encourages his listeners to get into the habit of saying no to people and things that don’t serve their vision. It’s not always easy to say “No” – especially if you’re a “people-pleaser” – but if you keep your focus on the things that matter to you and what you ultimately hope to achieve, you’ll find it easier to justify your response.
[On the flip side, don’t be all about yourself either; paying it forward by encouraging and helping others is where you will find the most joy and motivation].
4. Divorce yourself from the past – or, only look back if you have something to learn from it!
The key to forward progress is looking forward; visualize your dream and start moving towards it. Trying to grow and move forward – while hanging on to things that once held you back – is like trying to run while pulling a tire; in other words progress will be slow!
5. Find something to be grateful for everyday!
Bob Harper, one of the personal trainers on the hit TV show The Biggest Loser, believes that one of the reasons some people fail to achieve long-term health goals is because they perceive the quality of their lives to be pretty dismal in comparison to that of others. His thinking is backed up by other fitness professionals, including bodybuilder Steve Cook who said in a recent podcast interview that if you can’t find things to be happy about today, then you probably never will. What he was inferring is that if you always see yourself as never having enough, or never being good enough, you’ll allow those thoughts to penetrate your mind and influence the decisions you make each day. He suggests starting each day with positive thoughts and actions that lead to feelings of thankfulness and happiness.
6. If you really want to win in life, stop thinking “short-term” and start thinking “long-term”
When most people set out to lose weight or get fit, they set themselves a “finite” goal; for example, “I just need to lose 20 pounds,” or “I just want to look toned this summer.” If there is enough of an incentive the goal will be achieved, along with a sense of pride and accomplishment. But sadly, that pride lasts about as long as the weight stays off, or as long those muscles stay nice and toned – yeah, not so long unfortunately.
Short-term food and fitness challenges are always a huge hit, but they are not sustainable and they produce only temporary results, causing participants to repeatedly sign up. You need to be willing to accept that long-term results call for long-term changes, in the form of daily choices that you’re willing to make every day, of every week, of every year. That’s why those everyday non-negotiables matter!
7. Surround yourself with people who love, support and accept you and your goals, and disconnect or limit your time with those who don’t.
Positive people draw positivity; negative people draw negativity. It’s as simple as that!
8. Be prepared to dream, visualize, and actually work!
Here is the final kicker – and the one that I think is the most difficult. Almost everyone loves to dream and visualize their goals (goals of weight loss, improved strength and fitness, more income, travel opportunities, etc.) but beyond visualizing and planning, very little is actually done. Why? Because it’s easier to settle for what you already have today, than work hard for something that may take a year or more to come to fruition.
What it all boils down to is this: there are lots of dreamers in the world and only a few doers; it’s up to you to decide which camp you want to be in!