With the cold weather fast approaching, it’s important to stay on the path and keep your mind in the fitness game. This past week I’ve had a few friends and acquaintances say to me, “Tina, I really wish I lived near you, because I need your influence to get in shape.” My response is always the same – You don’t need me, all you need is the right frame of mind to get started and build momentum.
The real key to getting on track and staying on track is focused attention—the ability to train your mind, as well as your emotions, on a specific outcome. What works best? It may surprise you that it’s not getting into those jeans or that bikini. No, studies show that for long-term results, we need to focus on how attaining a certain goal will make us feel.
It would be so great if we could figure out a way of making workouts feel easy & motivating for everyone. Right? So here’s the trick: Give yourself a mental-image pep talk.
Mental and Emotional Power
My clients hear me say: Thoughts are things. The impact of our mental and emotional selves on our physical selves cannot be overestimated. Thoughts and feelings have a direct physiological impact on our bodies. Here’s a quick example: think about an ice-cold, tart cherry. See it in your mind’s eye, and imagine the chill in your fingertips from grasping it. Now, imagine popping it in your mouth and rolling it around on your tongue. Cold and smooth. Now, imagine biting into it. Did your mouth begin to water? If a simple thought can do that to your tongue, imagine what negative, anxiety producing thoughts can do to your body!
There is great power in this relationship between mind, emotions and body. Elite athletes know that mental attitude accounts for 80 percent or more of performance. Visualizing a goal, and using positive self-talk to reinforce your abilities, can get you where you want to go—top of the hill, last set of squats, one last push up. So too, negative thoughts and anxious feelings can sabotage all your efforts. Harnessing power of your mind and your emotions can transform your workouts and your life, too.
Mental Imagery: Visualize your best self
One of the best ways to prepare and follow through on your workouts is to give yourself a mental image pep talk. Here is my Three-step process to help you sail through your workouts:
1. Picture it. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself performing well during your workout. Feel your lungs filling with air, your breath originating with the deep exhale of the diaphragm. (Are you breathing correctly? Learn how here.)
2. Feel it. Feel your head held upright, your eyes forward, taking in the path ahead and the beauty of the scenery. Feel yourself moving confidently over your terrain. Imagine yourself feeling energized, confident and powerful. Do you feel your muscles begin to twitch? Good. Now, put one step in front of the other, and repeat.
3. Integrate it. Literally step into the picture and feel how easily your body and mind begin to flow into your workout.