Talent, skill, natural ability and intelligence are all great attributes to have in life and opportunities and luck can also play a part but there’s nothing as important and influential to our level of success than a positive attitude.
Whether you feel you have a positive or negative attitude, however, is not a birth right. It’s something that’s developed over time through your upbringing and largely through your life experiences and the influence of the people around you.
I’ve always been an optimistic person with a positive outlook on life, largely down to my upbringing. My strength of mind and determination was developed further during my time at the Commando training center, Royal Marines in May 2000, where I learnt that anything less than 100% in everything you do is not acceptable.
The good news for those who don’t always have a positive outlook, is that it can be improved. While most of us go through life letting our mindset just develop of its own accord, usually based on how difficult or how easy our life is, it is possible to make conscious changes to the way we think, which will provide greater long-term benefits. The better our attitude, the happier and more successful we will most likely be in life.
This resonates across all areas of my life, including reaching my own health and fitness goals. Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude when you are trying to achieve the most from your training.
Ask anyone involved in sport, whatever their trying to achieve, whether it’s dropping fat, gaining muscle mass, running a marathon in a PB, or a pro athlete like Anthony Joshua, on his road to becoming heavy weight champion of the world – what do they share? What all these individuals have in common are positive thoughts and a positive attitude towards their training.
We are all exercising for different reasons and different goals but when you get down to it, we all want to make improvements and be a better version of ourselves. The power of the mind is half the battle.
A lifter doesn’t prep himself for a PB thinking I can’t lift this weight, a boxer doesn’t step into the ring thinking I’m going to get knocked out by my opponent and a runner doesn’t start a race thinking I’m not going to finish!
So, where should you start and how can you get there? Firstly, you must adjust your thinking.
The Royal Marines have used the mottos “It’s a state of mind” and “99.9% need not apply” for years now and it is this mindset that sets Royal Marines apart. This same mindset suggests that positive thinking is a huge factor in the way we condition ourselves to exercise.
There is a direct relationship between your brain knowing it can achieve something and telling your body to actually do it. Positive thinking can have a massive impact on your weight training and how it affects your brain and body. If you think to yourself that you can do something, it is only a matter of time before your body does it. However, if your brain is convinced that it can’t do something, it never will until you start to think otherwise. Take pull-ups for instance. I have a large amount of clients who tell me they cannot do pull-ups.
A) If they never do a single pull up, they’ll never be able to do pull ups
B) If they keep telling themselves, they can’t do pull ups they’re already accepting defeat.
Before your next session do this - think about your individual goal - how are you going to bench press 10 kilos more or dead lift another 3 extra reps or cycle a bit further or faster. Tell yourself that there’s nothing that’s going to stop you building bigger arms or loosing another 5 kilos of fat. When you are weight training, focus on how much more muscle your gaining with each rep or how much fat you’re burning with each minute spent on the treadmill, rather than thinking that you can’t achieve what you desire!
Always stay positive and focused on the end result - especially during meal times and at the hardest time of the day, which for most people is in the evenings or when you’re bored and the temptation to deviate from the diet plan and eat junk food sets in. Think about how each protein shake or healthy meal is getting you closer to achieving your goals.
Keep positive thoughts and you will succeed in half the time!