For those who know me, you know I love the fit and healthy life. I love eating clean, pushing myself in the gym and I pretty much live and breath the healthy lifestyle. For almost 12 years I have been blessed to help Coach people to health & wellbeing alongside my husband I and have seen countless lives changed through A+A Wellness. We have seen everything from the common weight loss story to reversal of severe degenerative diseases and pretty much everything in between.
Alex and I have worked with thousands of clients and have our own incredibly rich testimonies. I started my own journey at 208 pounds and my husband, Alex, was able to successfully come off of 5 psychiatric medications through the implementation of proper nutrition. We don’t just talk the talk, we have LIVED it.
Through all of this rich history and experience, I have found MANY pieces to be crucial to success but none more important than the MINDSET of an individual.
When you strip away all of our varied differences from ethnic backgrounds, upbringings, economic status, gender & other things, the one common denominator we all share is our MIND. Whether we succeed or fail is greatly determined by our mindset and we all have ‘thinking brains’.
When we assess an individual prior to beginning to work with them, Alex & I can almost tell immediately by how they speak whether or not they will succeed long term.
Taking into account my own unique story and going back to when I first started my journey, I too, struggled with not having all of the pieces (heck, I had NO CLUE where to begin) and yet, I had a strong mindset and a belief that I could do it. I am convinced today that it was this ‘strong mentality’ that gave me the needed fuel to endure the lifestyle changes, obstacles and the journey to successfully losing 80 pounds.
Not everyone has this strong mind starting out and I do understand this. While some are naturally ‘strong thinkers’ others have to be TAUGHT how to think but more importantly, how to become aware of negative self sabotaging thought patterns.
The purpose of this blog post is to encourage you to start to focus on building your mental ‘muscles’ as much as your physical ones and to give you some tips and suggestions based on my own journey and experience in helping others.
The stronger your MIND, the stronger your body and the better adapted you will be to succeed and overcome obstacles in your life.
5 Classic Signs of Weak Thinking & Steps to Address Them:
- Constant Negativity: Listen to a person speak and you can pretty much sum up their life. Are you hearing a constant stream of negativity and ‘Debbie Downer’ talk? This says so much. Negative people tend to hold this viewpoint of the glass being “half empty” in each part of their life. Some do not even realize that they are being negative. Start to really LISTEN to yourself when you speak. Are you consistently down and negative regarding yourself or others? Taking an account of the words the come out of your mouth will really give you perspective on how to change your thoughts into positive, vibrant and HEALTHY tools for success. You see, each thought you have will reap an emotion or an action.
Action Item: Start to really listen to each word you speak. There are times where you will be ‘realistic’ and this is different than chronic negativity. If you are finding that you are consistently a negative thinker, start to address this mid conversation by finding the ‘good’ or light in a situation and highlighting this. It is about training yourself to be positive and think positive.
Note: This is not something you wait to do either, you have to turn that ship around immediately. If you are mid conversation with someone and notice your negativity, apply this immediately. This takes time and sometimes you will have to repeat over and over until you realize that you have changed your habits!
- Excuses: Simply put, excuses are the death of GOALS. Stuff will always come up and life will always happen. The only thing you can really truly plan for is the unexpected. It is ok to share factual things that happen but when it is ALWAYS something that you are using to excuse getting ‘things done’ you may want to reevaluate your approach.
Action Item: Start to address daily the excuses you commonly use. This takes facing the ‘tough stuff’ because some can be too prideful to admit that they are habitual excuse makers. Write down the things that you commonly use as an ‘excuse’ and work towards finding solutions for resolving these things. Example: If you are consistently finding that you run out of time during the day and miss your exercise sessions, look at ways that you can tweak your schedule to allow for more time during the week. Also, become AWARE of when you are using the excuse wheel and hop off.
- Self-Sabotage: Have you ever heard a person speak that does nothing other than cut down on themselves? Some people have such deep rooted lack of self-esteem and confidence that it is just like listening to a broken tape recorder share the same self sabotaging thoughts over… and over. I was once this person. Thankfully, I gained wisdom to realize early on in my journey that I had to change these thought patterns. How on earth would I succeed if I didn’t learn to speak kinder words to myself and to really become my own best friend?
Action Item: Start to think of the voice in your head as another person. Would you ever tell someone else they look terrible, are no good, can’t do anything right or are worthless? Highly unlikely and if so, you may need to seek help for this. The key is to speak to yourself with the same support, genuine nature and kindness that you would someone else. I often recall the story of me starting out and I felt terrible. I was trying to change my negative self talk and I knew that I had a real problem. This one particular morning I stared in the bathroom mirror tears streaming down my cheeks telling myself ‘You are beautiful. You are beautiful.’ over … and over… and over. While I did not necessarily believe this at the time, I was not willing to give up. I was going to win this battle over my thoughts and turn my self talk into a supportive stream of never ending BELIEF in myself.
- Gives up Easily: When someone falls down, watch closely. If you can, help them up of course but watch how they respond. Do they keep trying or do they throw in the towel? Giving up too easily or quickly is a sign of a weak mindset. Strong people know that failing forward is key and that failure at times is inevitable to success.
Action Item: When you fall down, acknowledge this. We are all about being REAL and not living in a fake little bubble but after that, you get up, dust off and TRY TRY AGAIN. Your choice is simply to do this or to wallow in your sadness which will get you absolutely nowhere. Consider writing down the areas that you are consistently struggling or falling short and jot notes on why this may be. Also create a mini action item list for day by day as to how you can address these things and fix them. It may be through seeking the support of a friend, loved one or professional but you can either give up or fail forward. The choice is up to YOU.
- Getting Angry Quickly: If you find yourself getting angry quickly when challenged either by friends, family or Professionals, it may be a sign of something deeper than just your personality traits. I know this sounds a little tough but it is certainly truth, people are often times not as angry AT YOU as they are at themselves. As a Coach, this is one emotion I have had to really learn to work with and around (though it’s not my favorite) because it is REAL. When people feel like they are falling short or can’t measure up (in their own eyes) they tend to want to do one of two things: play the blame game and point out why nothing is working OR they get angry. Mainly, we do understand that anger is moreso deep rooted frustration at their current circumstance etc but it is anger nonetheless and it will do nothing beneficial to help you in reaching your goals or in cultivating SUCCESS that lasts.
Action Item: Anger is an emotion and a God given one at that. We have anger for a time and place and while we are not telling you to shut down emotions, we are suggesting to look at the root cause of this ANGER and if it is well directed. Many of the people you get angry at are the ones trying to help you (especially if you have enlisted the help of a Professional). Consider writing a journal to help filter out some of the emotions that are sure to come along your journey. If you feel like you are sensing frustration surface, write down why and address these things head on one by one. It may mean that you have to have conversations for further clarification but anger displaced can ruin relationships and leave you ten times more frustrated.
There you have it! These are 5 areas that you can start working on today to begin building STRONG mental muscles. Understand that these things take TIME. You will never read one article and achieve success! Our suggestion is to print this post, grab a journal and start to really address areas that resonate with you. If you focus on building a strong positive mindset, it will filter through to EACH are of your life and you will be amazed at how unstoppable you become!
I hope these help and thank you for always letting me share my heart and passion for health. I am just a comment or post away if you have any questions.
Alex and Ashley Poptodorov are East Cobb, Roswell & Kennesaw’s Elite Nutritionists and Personal Trainers. They have 3 decades of combined experience including almost 12 years of running A+A Wellness Fitness, Nutrition & Lifestyle. They are certified Personal Trainers, Certified Nutritionist and Alex is soon to obtain his N.D. Degree as a Dr. of Naturopathy. They reside in ATL, GA and offer educational conferences, seminars, grocery shopping trips and challenging personal training sessions as well as online coaching to their team of clients. If you have a dream to adopt a healthy lifestyle, let Alex & Ashley teach you the way!
For more info they can be reached at www.AandAWellness.com or 770-905-7400