When it comes to “enhancing performance”, thoughts of supplements and various “hacks” may instantly come to mind. However, one of the best tools we can employ to boost results has nothing to do about turning externally for the solution. For a quick fax. Rather, it’s inside of you. What’s the magic tool, you ask? Your mindset.
Your mindset might just be the most important resource you have for enhancing health and fitness performance. It affects almost every action you take and every decision you make.
Here’s the thing about your mindset, however … it could be playing tricks on you!
Here’s why it’s worth paying attention to:
People can develop beliefs, habits, and feelings that initially may help us … but later in life, those same beliefs, habits, and feelings can work AGAINST us without us even realizing it!
I’m going to focus on fitness & wellness, but this applies to every area of your life, from your finances to your relationships.
When you were growing up, food was used as a reward or way to soothe your feelings when you had a bad day. So now, if something great and/or stressful happens, you believe you “deserve” pizza and ice cream even though they aren’t helping you reach your goals (not to mention the stomachache after you eat them).
You spent years competing as an athlete and now believe that you didn’t do a “real” workout unless you give it your all, even if it leaves you feeling exhausted and overly sore (and maybe even aggravates an old injury). You believe rest days hold back performance and are not necessary.
You get the picture!
We all struggle with these things at some point or another.
The good news is that you can CHANGE your mindset around these beliefs. While restructuring of believes is a complex topic (explored not only in behavioral health coaching but also in CBT and other models within the realm of a licensed therapist), here are 3 straightforward steps to get you started. Each helps your efforts to overturn those limiting beliefs.
1. It starts with PAYING ATTENTION.
Pay attention to your mindset and recognize when limiting beliefs crop up.
This can be surprisingly challenging because they can feel like non-refutable facts or actions, to the point where you don’t even question them.
This is why it’s so important to:
2. Question your beliefs and habits.
Try to understand them – while they might have served you in the past, are they doing you any favors now?
Ask yourself, “Why do I think or do this?”
And, “How do they (or don’t they) fit into my forward-looking health vision and goals?”
3. Step out of your comfort zone (with baby steps).
Over time you can replace your old beliefs with positive beliefs and habits that support your goals and current lifestyle.
It's critical to first identify the character strengths and core values that underpin your health vision (desired best future self).
Once this foundation is established, you can then link new (small) habits, positive beliefs and goal “experiments” back to it. To the values most important to you and the future vision motivating you to change. This ensures that you are moving forward in a direction that is meaningful to the “you” you wish to become, versus the you held back by limiting beliefs that no longer serve you.
I hope this article has got you thinking a bit how our mindset can hinder – or help – us.
If you need support getting rid of limiting beliefs that have been getting in your way, and establishing a health and wellness vision that compels you forward, I’d love to be of help. My coaching practice relies heavily on appreciative inquiry and motivational interviewing methods to focus on your strengths and abilities, shifting your mindset and motivation towards positive change and increasing your belief in yourself. You’ve got this!
Your partner in health,