What you’re thinking, what shape your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all - Willie Mays
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, however this year has been incredibly challenging. At many different levels most of us have been hit by the Lockdown blues and suddenly our sleep, food, training, routines...Oooops, that's thrown a spanner in the works. Here’s the good news...You can change that.
There is an old Cherokee legend known as the tale of the two wolfs. A grandfather explains that there are two wolfs within each of us: One is beneficial and positive, while other wolf is negative and destructive. These two wolfs fight for control over us. The grandson is curious and asks, "Which wolf will win?".... "The one you feed"
If thoughts determine feelings, then feelings influence your actions. The first step in feeding the good wolf is learning to identify your own negative and self-defeating thoughts. We all have them. Step two, it’s time to feed the good wolf and challenge the self-critical thoughts with encouraging statements.
Mentally beating on yourself does you no good. Instead, gain clear control of your thinking process. Repeat these two winning steps to build mental muscle, improve your mood....sounds great but here is the thing, it needs practice, like push ups or running you only get better if you consistently practice over and over and over, so when a big bad wolf comes you’ll be ready.
Continue reading if you feel nerdy, Dr. Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis and his colleagues, University of Thessaly, published in July 2011, the article that confirmed that self-talk can produce significant improvements in sport performance. Additionally they found that instructional self-talk was beneficial for fine-motor skills. Conversely, motivational self-talk was found more effective for task requiring willpower, endurance or strength. Hatzigeorgiadis saids “ The mind guide action. If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, then this will help our behaviour”
WOW! What a year? Strange times for sure, a lot to take on, blue days, mental health, setbacks and uncertainty... My question is how can I maintain sanity, confidence, positivity and a “normal” routine during this times?
First thing that I like to remind to myself is that: Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, and your actions dictate your life ( not my quote but I read/listen it from different sources) Thoughts - Words - Actions. Sometimes changing our thoughts can be a big task, but the good thing is that we can start changing our actions. So let’s start this process. It is a matter of steps. Be great at this one, then that one, and then the one after that. The process is simple, but it’s not easy.
// Actions //
Ownership. Take absolute ownership of your actions. People who have the capacity to own their problems are the ones who will most quickly discover solutions to those problems. If we take inner responsibility of our actions we can be aware and learn how to change it. Instead of stop making excuses about what happen to us, which only teaches us to outsource responsibility. Discipline brings freedom - J. Wilkins.
Strategy: when something happens, analyse it from a “it’s my responsibility” point of view.
Discipline. It requires short-term pain for long-term gain. It’s painful, in the short term, to get up at 5:00 a.m. and work out; it’s painful to say no to a cookie. Long-term, though, it adds up to incredible gains. When we see successful people in life, in business, and in relationships, they are living in a discipline process that leads to greatness; these are the people who get up early to workout, who say no to crappy food, who carve out time for learning and mindfulness. They take the time to establish what’s important to them and what habits will get them where they want to go.
Strategy: Don’t... snooze the alarm, skip a workout, eat seconds.
Inside Control vs out of control. The Stoic philosophy talks about all the time, either there are things inside or outside of our control. Identifying what’s external and internal allows us to understand how to make the right choices.
Strategy: A typical example is bad weather, e.g -4 degrees when we need to run outdoor. You can not control 90% of this situation, but there is the 10% that we can change with: how we perceive and the judgement of the situation (positive mindset), our actions (wearing an extra layer) and willingness to accept what’s outside our control (I’m going to do it anyway).
// Thoughts //
Think about greater mastery of yourself and break personal barriers. Thoughts are great, in fact the process of thinking about a new idea generates dopamine in our brain that makes us feel great and motivated, however most of the time we stop there, missing the most important part...Actions lead to actions. You have been thinking about it, you delayed it, you got distracted. That’s ok you can start now.
Strategy: Stop thinking, start acting.
Positivity: A positive mindset is a phenomenal weapon, nevertheless staying positive is difficult for humans because our DNA is hardwired to hold on to negative experiences over positive ones, for sheer survival. Negativity, though, is immensely detrimental to performance, any performance physical or mental. When you’re in a negative mindset, you’re slower and less precise. Positivity, by contrast, is directly linked to improved performance.
Strategy: Next time you have a negative thought, try to revert it to positive or reframe it. E.g. “I’m so tired,I can’t run 10km today” versus “I’m so tired, but I will start running the first few kilometres and see how I feel”
Focus. Keeping the task in hand the main thing, acknowledging where you are, identifying where you want to be, and breaking it down into pieces.
Strategy: Am I committing everything I have to make myself the tiniest percentage better than I am right now, no matter how hard I have to work, no matter what I have to give up, no matter how long it takes?