Why mindset is so important
Is your inner voice negative? Do you feel like you never get anywhere and start from square one every Monday? Does this make you feel like a failure? And then when you don’t do anything about it, that sense of failure just keeps compounding? Well, you’re not alone!!
We believe that living your best life is not just about having a healthy body, but equally as important, having a healthy mind. Whether you have decided to change something in your life, or you are simply going through a tough patch, your mind is the key to unlock the door to a more happy and healthy you.
I want to say straight off that bat that we are certainly not mind/psyche experts, nor will we ever try to be. Sometimes we need qualified people to give us professional advice, and if you even for a moment think that's you, I urge you to do that. As we can all agree, our minds can just as quickly hinder as they can help.
Nor will you find anything particularly new or groundbreaking here. Go ahead and google mindset and you’ll find pages and pages of results (and probably some really expensive secluded retreats in Thailand to attend!) . But instead, what you can expect from us is that:
- We will share our own personal challenges and solutions.
- We want to try and give you more insight into why your mind is making you do things which you may not like and how we can go about gradually improving that.
- We want to always relate these insights to our everyday lives
- We want to give you awesome little tricks and hacks to kick start your journey
- We want to distill important messages, articles and studies into a light hearted, easy to understand and achievable fashion
No matter whether it’s personal stories, important research or kickstarting hacks, we just want to keep the importance of mindset at the forefront of your thoughts through your everyday life. And if we’ve succeeded, you’ll apply this stuff to your day-to-day. Theory is fine, but it’s action that counts!
Focusing everyday is key. I don’t know about you, but from my own personal experience, I can say that my mind will almost always default to negative. In fact, it's quite accepted that as humans we’ve been hard wired to be negative as a way to avoid risks and it seems to be the default pattern for most people. So don't feel like you're the only one complaining to yourself all the time, we all do it!
And because we all do it, there is so much written about healthy mindset, it's virtually cliche now. So let's not go down the rabbit hole with the sheer amount of theories available, let’s just all agree on this: A positive mind will always be healthier than a negative one.
Yet, as logical and easy to understand this message is, why are we not all perfectly happy, efficient and healthy humans roaming this wonderful planet? Experts from lots of different fields have given us lots of potential answers, but a couple of concepts that resonate the deepest with us are:
Simple does not mean easy:
The truth is, change is hard. There’s no sugar coating that. Whether it’s time, physical or mental effort, personal resources will always be required. We live in a digital world with endless information at our fingertips and countless articles distilling every process down to its most reductive form, which sometimes lulls us into a false sense of simplicity and security. Have you ever caught yourself reading an article about the best new easy workout that can get you into shape for summer in 6 weeks and then saying to yourself “awesome, I’ve found the solution I’ve been searching for, I can handle all those exercises, all I have to do is start it tomorrow and everything will be fabulous”...
Knowing what to do isn’t the same as doing it:
From our example above, the problem almost always is that “tomorrow” never comes. It’s not that you find yourself in the gym, confused about how to do that squat. Nope, it’s that you find yourself at your desk, having an internal battle about how you hate the way you look today so you won’t want to run into anybody at the gym, so it’s probably easier to just miss. After all, you know what to do, you can just start tomorrow.
Remember this, the effort is almost always the most difficult part!
That calorie counting app can calculate your ideal diet and macros, but it can’t remove that donut from your mouth. Nope, only you can do that.
BUT, regardless of your goal having your mind on-board is fundamental if you want to progress towards it. There is no doubt in my mind (pun very much intended!), it is worth every effort to do whatever you can to get your mind to start being a team player.
Negative mindset, it happens to all of us…
How about a real-world example of what I mean when talking about negative mindset? Well there is no better place to start than with the Chief Negativity Officer over here called Gina B! Yup, I struggle with my mindset day in and day out and I honestly believe anyone that says different is not only fooling you but fooling themselves. This stuff is hard, that's why it's so important for me to keep this discussion at the forefront of everything we do here at Up to the BEat.
But back to our little tale, that starts years ago, when my parents immigrated to Australia from Russia. They didn't want their kids experiencing their meager upbringing, so treating us to abundance was their way. And food was one of the primary means they expressed that. So it developed as a fundamental love of my life. However, this abundance was a double edged sword within my dancing career. In this realm, I was deprived of food so that I would fit the required skinny culture of dancesport. And this conflict was the genesis of a lot of my negative mindset and behaviours towards food.
Fast forward to adult me. Because I had yet to confront this issue, my mind manifested this into a seriously undesirable physical actions. Amongst other things, I began what I labelled, “secret eating”, where I’d binge fast food privately, even though I would portray a healthy “perfectionist” image to everyone I knew. Family, dance partner and friends included.
This behaviour, which turned into a habit, was setting myself up for both physical and mental destruction. I felt constantly guilty, a failure, an imposter and I always placed blame (things like not having enough support, “hating” my gym, weather’s too cold etc). But no matter what amazing coaching, workout programs or eating plans I had thrown at me, I was gaining weight and losing my mind. It just never occurred to me, to stop looking outside and start looking within. Not surprisingly, when I did, things started to magically change for the better.
So with this in mind, maybe it’s a good time to start looking within yourself also? Head over to our article on common negative mindset patterns, to get some insights on where I think our negativity comes from and some of the most common naughty behaviours we get up to.
Can you identify with any of them? If so, maybe start to have a think about why and where they started and what your potentially destructive physical and mental habits around them are?
How Do We Actually Change Then? TAKE ACTION.
As we’ve said earlier, there's been so much written on positive mindset and how to change negativity, that it's really overwhelming. Just try doing a google search and you’ll get pages and pages of results, each giving a different technique, hack or shortcut. So instead of adding to the pile, I want to share what’s helped me the most in my life and what I passionately believe will help you also. Having said that, I also realise we are all unique individuals and different things will work for different people, so please keep this in mind and take my thoughts as just a part of your journey.
Right off the bat, l will say that I believe change starts from physical action. I realise this may be a little counter-intuitive (and controversial?) as we’ve been talking about mindset this whole time, but stay with me. I constantly lived inside my mind. I would ruminate and overthink everything. No matter what positive affirmation tips and tricks I would try, I’d never really believe them and I would always default back to a negative space. Ultimately all this thinking never lead to any action.
My first steps to real change was when I stopped living inside my mind and started living inside my body.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” Lao-Tze - Tao Te Ching
Even more importantly though, whatever my goal way be, I think of the smallest possible action I can take to move closer to that goal. Small steps work (don’t just believe me, some of the most efficient cultures in the world agree!). Yet I also believe we all have an innate ideal and desire for perfectionism, hence why we all leap before we can jump.
We start our journeys with the most grand (and difficult goals), often only leading to a sense of failure when we fall short. Instead if we accept we cannot start from perfection and that perfection is a journey, we may set more appropriate, attainable and realistic expectations on ourselves
Small steps are wonderful as they can be easily integrated into our current lifestyles. They won't cause great physical or emotional impact. Do you agree that it's much more likely that you’ll stick to drinking one less can of soda a day rather then cut out all sugar and becoming vegan overnight?
“Actions determine outcomes, and outcomes inform actions” Gary Keller - The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
So what all this means and why it's so powerful is that even the smallest physical action leads to a feeling of accomplishment. That feeling of accomplishment then leads to a small bump in motivation. That small bump in motivation then pushes you to perform another small task and so on and so forth with the loop repeating and becoming stronger. With some time, that small initial step will lead to a big change.
How about an example? Let’s say your goal is to lose weight. You’ve identified one bad habit that's contributing to your weight is drinking soda at home after work watching TV. When you read our article on habits, you’ll identified your cues (time and location) and know you need to change your routine.
So what would be the smallest physical action you could take to start changing your routine? Swapping all soda for water? Nope. Sure that would be a great achievement, but unlikely to last. You won’t satisfy that sugar craving and you’ll feel deprived, leading to a big emotional and physical impact.
For argument's sake instead, imagine you have 3-4 glasses of soda each night. Why don’t you trying having one less glass of soda each night for a week. Then the following week try and have two less glasses each night. Then once you’re down to only one glass of soda a night, try and have one soda free night a week. Then progress to two free soda nights a week and so on and so forth until you get to a point of soda free nights throughout most of the whole week. That’s how a small step can lead to big change.
So I hope i made my point that it's all about taking action. I like to say, you can't think yourself out of failure. In the example above, even if you had identified all your negative mindsets and bad habits, you’ve read all the theory on how to change and you’ve created a bunch of positive mantras to tell yourself. If you ultimately didn't start drinking less soda at some point, nothing would of changed and you would of felt like you failed.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for thinking. We should work hard and smart! But we concentrate too much on the smart part initially. Maybe we’re trying to avoid any harm or missteps? In reality all this does is slow down momentum and stops our progress.
People in business often say “ideas are nothing, execution is everything”, and I think that's a great analogy for us also. We can come up with the most perfect framework for change involving every theory under the sun, but if we don’t get up off our asses and do it, it’s worth nothing!
And in the ultimate end-of-the-movie twist to all of this: This action and these small steps are what will open yourself to developing positive mindset, through real and genuine feelings of accomplishment. Small steps lead to big change, in both body and mind.
So where to now?
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