If I asked you how to be healthy, you probably know the answer.
We can’t escape information around health today at all. On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, on reality TV, in magazines, blogs, books… the information is abundant to the point where it’s confusing and overwhelming.
But what we don’t talk about enough is mindset.
That’s why I’ve written an entire post dedicated to it because I believe it’s THAT important — even more important than knowing what foods are and are not healthy.
Your mind runs the show.
You may not realize this, but everything you do (or don’t do) to make progress with your health is a choice — even the binges.
I know during a binge it feels like you’re a puppet being controlled by the craving monster… but really it’s a decision. And your brain is in on it.
Being able to change your mindset means being able to change your LIFE. Your point of view and the way you think about health has a ton to do with how healthy you are now, and how easily you’re able to reach your goals in the future.
Powerful stuff right?
This post is going to break down the first three steps to mindset mastery so you can start making those powerful changes in YOUR life.
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1. Ask yourself the hard questions
I think that sometimes we work so hard toward something, be it a number on the scale or a fitness goal, that we forget our why.
Sometimes the reason we started in the beginning, years and years ago, isn’t something we care about now!
At least, that’s what happened to me.
In college, I put a ton of value on looking “hot” by society’s standards for a woman. And I’m sure you already have a picture of what that looks like in your head (we all do).
I would basically torture myself by restricting to the point of depression and anxiety. Of course, I binged HARD on dining hall cookies a few times a week. Then I’d promise myself that next week would be perfect.
Like many, I was totally caught up in the Restrictive Eating Cycle.
I used to try to work off “bad” eating at the gym, I would try to skip lunch and I even used to avoid social situations where pizza or fries might be involved.
Ridiculous, right? Because what was the point of all that? What is the point of looking hot by societal standards when it’s impossible?!
A few years after college while continuing this self-sabotaging behavior, I had to ask myself the hard questions. The questions that would reveal what REALLY matters and if my actions match that.
If you’re unhappy with where you’re at, part of having a healthy mindset is getting super clear with yourself, what matters to you, what you want and why.
Here are some questions to start with:
- Who am I on this journey for?
- When will I really be happy?
- What will it take to love myself?
- What sacrifices am I taking for health right now? (and are they positive/healthy?)
- Am I cool with those sacrifices or are they actually not worth it?
Take some time to answer these in a notebook, or contemplate them when you have some quiet time to yourself. I know they’re heavy, but they can reveal a lot. It’s so important to check in with yourself to make sure that what you’re doing on the daily actually aligns with your current desires and goals.
2. Adopt an abundance mentality
You may not have heard of the abundance vs. scarcity mentality concept, but I’ll break it down for you here.
The most popular reference to it is in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People and is often brought up in resources that help with personal finance. BUT it can easily be applied to how we think about health, fitness and diet.
Changing your mind(set) is as simple as making the decision to, but just because it’s simple DOES NOT mean it’s easy. This takes time!
Think of having a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality as a lens in which you see the world and process what happens to you.
Having a scarcity mentality means:
- Worrying you’re always running out of something and there will never be enough (like money or calories)
- Thinking you’ll never be able to change because there’s too much that’s out of your control (like not living near a grocery store or not having access to a gym)
- Focusing on the past and worrying about what you did yesterday, or a week ago (like a binge you had over the weekend)
- Feeling anxious about giving or sharing because it means less for you (doesn’t apply to health that much, but it’s important to be aware of this)
Guess what? Counting calories is something that is the cause of a scarcity mentality. This is one of the reasons I don’t count them myself and recommend the 80/20 approach instead because it promotes abundance thinking.
Having an abundance mentality means:
- Knowing that there’s plenty of resources to go around (like money and calories)
- Believing that you always have room to grow and change no matter your circumstances
- Focusing on what you can do in the present to be your best self instead of trying to correct the past
- Feeling very positive about sharing and giving because you know that you benefit from the act of giving
Having a scarcity mentality stems from fear. Fear of change, fear that it won’t work, fear of losing something. Can’t you see how this mentality holds you back, no matter how many times you promise yourself to eat perfectly?
Your mindset has to match your actions. Otherwise, your brain will be in a never-ending game of tug-of-war with your body.
Having an abundance mentality stems from confidence and security! Confidence that even though change is hard, it comes with good things. Confidence to take steps forward, even if you might fail (and knowing that mistakes are part of the journey).
Adopting an abundance mentality means you know that no matter what the outcome is of the stuff you try to do, you gain experience — and that’s valuable.
This is why I ALWAYS encourage you to experiment with that diet or meal you’ve been thinking about. You try it once and if it works, great. If not, it’s not the end of your life!
Even with my meal plans – for people who are unsure, I tell them hey, it’s just two weeks of your life. That’s such a small amount of time in the grand scheme of your life.
Having an abundance mentality in health means being open to new things even if it “might not work.” As long as they don’t put you in danger or can potentially make you sick… why not?
How to put the abundance mentality into action with your health:
- Trust yourself
- Experiment and BE OPEN
- Acknowledge your fear and do it anyway!
Speaking of doing stuff, key number three is where this all comes together.
3. Set small, actionable goals
This is where the mindset mastery really comes into play.
One of the biggest questions I get when talking about mindset and consistency is about motivation. People ask, “but how do you get motivated to eat well/exercise?”
The truth? You don’t! Motivation has NOTHING to do with it in the long term.
I talk about this in my post about how to be consistent, but the goal is not to lose weight or get fit. The goal is to make it a HABIT so you can get the results you want… and keep them.
Of course, in the beginning of our journeys a little motivation is helpful. That’s why small, actionable goals are here to save the day.
Small goals work because they’re more approachable. There’s less pressure. And they REALLY work because it’s easier to turn these smaller actions into habits.
If I sat you down and told you that you have the option of starting to lift weights for three hours a day starting tomorrow or starting to lift weights for thirty minutes a day… which one would you pick?
The second one, right? Because it’s way more doable. And easier to fit into your schedule. Making it easy for yourself means making it easier to get motivated!
In my experience, when I started focusing on the small goal of bringing lunch three times a week, it got SO EASY to build off that. After doing that for a month, I just added more meals and kept going until I got to where I am now. It takes time, so start small. Start too big and you’ll “fall off track” in a week.
Here are some examples of small actionable goals you can start doing today!
- Take the stairs
- Walk to work if you can for 1 day/week
- Prep just snacks for the workweek
- Prep three lunches OR three dinners for the workweek
- Go to the gym 2x a week for 40 minutes
- Walk 10k steps
- Meditate for 5 minutes before bed
- Replace sugary snacks in your home with fruit
Think small, think easy. Yes, the results will come slower BUT you will feel so good about yourself for keeping something up.
That’s where the motivation comes from. We aren’t motivated by our goals. We’re more motivated by what’s easy to do.
You have control over your mindset.
I don’t care how healthy you eat, how much you work out or how much you weigh. You’re not your healthiest until your mindset is healthy too.
This is powerful stuff! Your mindset affects everything in life – not just health.
I know this is a lot. I challenge you to tune out healthy eating/workout advice for a week to just focus on you. Your state of mind. How you feel about yourself. What you really want.
It all matters so much.
If you have any questions about developing a healthy mindset, reach out to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.