Brain Training for Fitness
Changing your body and improving your health isn’t only a physical process. It’s a psychological process as well. Quite often, your outward appearance is a reflection of your inner health.
Mental skills are important to be successful in creating a healthy lifestyle and sticking to fitness habits include:
- Mental skill: Staying focused
Deliberately placing attention where it needs to be, even in the face of distraction. For example: Following a healthy eating plan despite a busy work schedule. Or keeping on track with a home workout while your kids are crawling the walls.
- Mental skill: Re-focusing
Bringing your attention back, as soon as possible, when things get sidetracked. For example: Immediately going back to a normal healthy eating routine after a holiday weekend of partying. Or finishing a workout after a text message from your boss.
- Mental skill: Goal follow-through
Setting a goal, working toward it, and staying on track with it. For example: Deciding that sleep is more important than catching up on your TV shows and sticking to that priority almost every night.
- Mental skill: Identifying core values
Understanding your most essential values in life, prioritizing them, and taking steps to live them. For example: Realizing that your #1 motivation is to set a good example for your children and following through on that.
- Mental skill: Developing awareness
Understanding how your immediate thoughts and feelings are closely connected to your behaviors. For example: Realizing that different emotions consistently lead to certain eating choices. Or specific external factors dependably determine you to attend or skip the gym.
- Mental skill: Uncovering stories about ourselves
Realizing that we’re continually “writing” stories and scripts for ourselves and recognizing that we possess the power to rewrite them with a different outcome. For example: “I’m a gym dork” can be re-written to “I’m showing up every day and putting in a solid effort” and eventually “Hey! I just did my first chin-up! I know what I'm doing”.
- Mental skill: Releasing wondering and worrying
Dealing with anxieties, fears, or worries head on instead of shirking them. For example: Noticing and naming that you’re “worried whether this will work” or “that you might fail” and that it’s okay to feel these things—everyone does—and that these feelings are no reason to pull back.
- Mental skill: Limiting factors
Acknowledging limiting factors and changing them. For example: Maybe you hate your job, have unsupportive friends, or live in a place unsuitable to your goals. Identifying that and working to improve it.
- Mental skill: Getting “un-stuck”
Knowing when harmful beliefs or patterns are stopping you. For example: “I guess I just don’t have any willpower”. And being able to create new beliefs or patterns. For example: “I am in charge of my choices”.
- Mental skill: Impulse and emotion control
Seeing when impulses and emotions tend to get the better of you, paying attention to that, and working to improve it. For example: Improving your usual responses to being angry, sad, or bored.
- Mental skill: Discomfort
Accepting and sitting with discomfort. For example: When learning a new movement or habit, knowing it’s supposed to suck. And doing it anyway.
- Mental Skill: Resilience
Trusting that you’ll survive, no matter what, and rebounding from “failures”, defeats, and/or setbacks. For example: “That bad thing happened and it’s okay; I’m going to take it as a learning experience and be better because of it”.