Mental Management Series – Thought Processes

Today is November first and I always feel extra motivated when I get to start fresh with a new month. I don’t know about you, but it seems like the possibilities are exciting. I usually take a few moments to map out a plan for myself. This month I am focused on mental management and my thought processes, mainly positive and negative thoughts.

I take a look at the month ahead and see what upcoming events I have planned. I also like to look at my calendar and determine what challenges I have in the weeks (weekends) ahead. We often have dinner meetings and social events lined up throughout the month. This makes it very very difficult to stick to any kind of regular eating plan. With the holidays looming in the near future, it will take a strong mind and mental toughness to get through challenging situations and to be able to make the right decisions when presented with options.

What I try to do is assess the upcoming “damages” and see if there is any way to minimize the impact these outings will have on my overall fitness goals. Occasional dinners out on the weekends, with smart food choices, can have little to no effect on your forward progress. Problems develop when you throw in the towel and decide because you went to dinner that the whole weekend is shot. I am taking an in-depth look at the urge to “give up”.

That is one of the mindsets I am still working on and will continue to work on in the months ahead.  I do have the tendency to revert back to “all-or-nothing” thinking, so learning to allow myself a dinner here, or a cheat meal there, is exactly that, a learning process.  I am beginning by taking stock of the thoughts that regularly run through my head and examining the semantics (meaning of the words) involved.

Changing the way you naturally think is not an easy task. It requires a lot of work and a lot of self-analysis. First, you have to be conscious of your thoughts. Most of us don’t even think about what we’re thinking about!  Once you start listening to all the verbiage going on in your head (also known as “self-talk”) you can begin to focus on changing what you say to yourself.

A lot of our thoughts tend to be stated in the negative, creating negative patterns.  It’s important to focus on the positive.  I probably can’t say that enough. When you say things in the negative, you will get negative results.  Learn to state things in the positive. An example of this is “I don’t like to overeat” (negative) versus “I like to eat in moderation” (positive). It’s a good idea to practice turning your negative self-talk around into positive statements.

Here are some of my favorites:

“I don’t want my workout to be long”
“I want my workout to be quick and fun”

“I don’t want to mess up my diet on Saturday night”
“I want to go to dinner and make healthy low fat choices”

“I don’t want to gain weight”
“I want to successfully burn off body fat”

“I don’t want to eat junk food”
“I want to eat clean healthy wholesome foods”

“I don’t want to be tired”
“I want to feel energized”

You get my point. It’s important to begin re-phrasing the way you talk to yourself and make negative statements into positive ones. Your mind can’t process negatives, so it only “hears” the things you say you don’t want and focuses on getting those things.  It takes time and practice to change this habit.  But, the results you naturally and easily begin to achieve by managing your mindset will be well worth the effort.

So, focus on getting what you do want. Let your mind hear the things you want, like “burn off body fat”, “have great workouts”, “make healthy food choices”. When your subconscious mind listens to these words, it will automatically steer you toward these things.

This month my mission is to get a grip on the thoughts streaming through my head. I will be changing negative thoughts into the positive versions of themselves. One again, this won’t happen overnight, but the more I work on it, the more second-nature it will become. In fact, this is probably a life-long learning and changing process.

It’s exciting to watch, though, what can happen when you really get a grip on your thought processes and make them work for you. Make this Mental Management Month, and get started by turning the negative thoughts into positive thoughts for yourself.


* some excerpts and ideas courtesy of Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle and Program Yourself Thin

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