A clear and focused mind can go a long way in helping you create your best body. These tips can help give “spring cleaning” a new meaning.
By Roger Lockridge
You’re reading the spring issue of Muscle Media Magazine and there are a few thoughts that come to mind when one thinks of Spring. “Spring forward” with clocks moving one hour ahead is one of them. The joys of Spring come to mind with warmer temperatures, leaves growing on the trees once again, and being outside more often for those of us living in colder temperatures. A third is “Spring cleaning”. Giving your home, cars, and office a good once-over and cleaning the dark, deep corners and crevasses that are normally ignored the rest of the year. You find things that you don’t need any more and toss them out. This theme is what I want to talk about, but in another aspect of your life.
Clear Mind Focus: 8 Tips to Help Clean Your Mind
Get rid of: Negative Thoughts
When adversity strikes or the stresses of life get to us, it’s easy to slip into having negative thoughts of ourselves and what we do. We also tend to see and hear more about what others think of us and our abilities. Eventually, it may influence our own thought pattern. Soon, we start beating ourselves up because we “failed” …again. This slope is slippery and can result in you getting down much faster.
Replace with: Sources of Inspiration
You can find inspiration anywhere. You can subscribe to email services with positive quotes or follow pages on social media with inspirational memes. There are many celebrities and athletes who make positivity a priority. Follow them. Once you do, share what you see so you can help others as well. Contributing your own positive posts can be very rewarding for you as well as those around you.
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Get rid of: “Can’t Dos”
While no one can do everything at once, we are able to do more than we give ourselves credit. It’s a shame that a lot of folks don’t realize this. In spite of taking care of 99 things out of 100, their minds tend to focus on the one thing they couldn’t control. There was one task that there simply wasn’t enough time to take care of. It may have been someone else’s responsibility, but it didn’t get completed. Because of that one miss, the whole day is considered a loss. Why?
Replace with: Commitment to What You Can Do
Without trying to turn this into a religious sermon, there’s a popular thought that applies here. “Grant me the courage to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.” When you start your day, write out a sticky note or on your smart phone what you’re able to do that day. Then commit to focus on those tasks and nothing else. Instead of feeling like a failure because of what didn’t get done, you can check off and celebrate what you did do. Seeing that list with checks on it can serve as a symbol of how successful you were that day.
This is also the time of year when fitness programs are neglected and in many cases, forgotten. While we want to have great bodies and health, our minds often focus on other matters. We may set our priorities, or we may get frustrated after hitting a plateau. This might be our biggest roadblock to succeeding. The time has come to address these dark crevasses as well. We’re going to throw out what we don’t need and cleanse that area of our minds with new trains of thought.
Get rid of: Causes of Stress
To cover this one, I’m going to share a personal story. I was going on vacation with friends and while I was gone, a relative was going to use my truck. The day before I left, he told me that I had a leak in my gas tank. I freaked out because I had already spent what money I had on my vacation. I spent the entire first half of my 10 day “getaway” worrying myself sick. I knew what awaited me when I got home. There was nothing I could do to change the situation. At that point, even if I were able to, I couldn’t get my mind away from thinking about my truck.
Replace with: Focus on Solutions
One of my friends finally asked me what was going on. They offered to loan me the money to fix it when we got back. That way, I could have a good time for the rest of our vacation. If I would have simply come up with a game plan before I left, it would have saved me a lot of stress and worrying. Wasting time stressing over the issue only makes matters worse. You can’t enjoy your life or take care of other business. The lesson here is: when adversity strikes, immediately ask yourself what can be done to solve the problem. When you find your answer (and you will), stick with it and move on. As for the truck, it turned out that there was no leak. He just ran it out of gas.
Get rid of: Fear of Failure
Failure can be the greatest obstacle holding many people back from success. They would rather spend their lives wondering “what if” so that they don’t have to deal with the thought of failing. What they don’t realize is that they could be living a much better life because they missed reaching their full potential.
Replace with: Embrace of the Chase
Your goals shouldn’t simply be something that you want to do. They should excite you. You should be anxious to go after them. The thought of reaching those goals should wake you up before your alarm goes off. While you’re on that run or lifting, remember that you’re working to do something meaningful. It is something that will make you better, make you happy, and will enhance your life. You’re pursuing something that’s awesome. It will change the course of life when you achieve it. The chase itself is what is great about what you do. You’re doing something that many people around you are afraid to. That alone is worth embracing.
Get rid of: Confusion
There are many different training systems out there with different acronyms. Reading about these can feel like you’re reading a Sesame Street book. “This article is brought to you by the letter x and the number 4.” There are also all of these nutrition programs and it can become overwhelming deciding which is best for you. The more you read, the more confusing it can be.
Replace with: Simplifying
As you work to find your program, you’re going to find a training system or nutrition philosophy that appeals to you. When you do, stop. Close your laptop, shut off the browser on your smartphone, or put down whatever you’re reading. From that point until the program is complete, that is the one that you’re going to do. Keeping it simple is really the best way. Trying to add more to the stack is only going to lead to the stack falling over. Pick your program and go with it.
Get rid of: Thinking About the Far Away Goals
Whether your goals were New Year Resolutions or for the next 12 weeks, right now that time feels like forever. It may seem like it’s not worth going after. You think about all of the hours, days, weeks, and months of work that you’re in for and start feeling nervous about it. Don’t fall in that trap. This is about more than one goal a long time from now.
Replace with: Winning Along the Way
Over the course of a 48 minute game in the NBA, there are many different plays taking place. Breaking these games down to four quarters or even down to the plays one at a time is what helps teams win. This is how you should approach your program. Break down your long term goals into segments with shorter term goals. If it’s a 12 week program, create four week goals. After that, don’t look past your next workout. Giving each day and each training session the attention it deserves will give you confidence and increases your chances of making those far away goals a reality.
Get rid of: Feeling Overwhelmed
How many of you have had a day like this? Your alarm goes off and the things you have to do hit you like a ton of bricks. You have work, meetings, bills are due, kids have practice. You know you’re forgetting something, but you can’t remember what. You’re suddenly exhausted again, and you just woke up. You get dressed, in the car, and are speeding to get where you need to be. Then there’s traffic. Despite what you think in the heat of the moment, you can’t telepathically make the light turn green or make the cars in front of you levitate out of your way. Frustration is mounting, your brain is running 100 mph and you’re wishing your car could do the same. This is a template for making a day go sour quickly.
Replace with: Sound of Silence
When everything appears to be getting to you and you feel overwhelmed, there’s one thing you can do. Stop. Turn off your radio, phone, or go somewhere that there is no noise. Listen for a moment. What do you hear? Nothing. Exactly. Focus on that nothing. That sound of silence can be the best medicine for you right now so you can calm down. How long do you focus on that nothing? The answer is until you’re calm and cool. Whether it’s one minute or 15, chill out and slow your brain down. That silence can be relaxing. It allows you to focus. This will help you process what you need to do.
Get rid of: What “They” Think
Many experts believe that you should share your goals and aspirations with others so they can hold you accountable. Making people aware of your plans is supposed to put more pressure on yourself to accomplish success. While this is a good theory, some people take this too far and take other people’s opinions seriously. So when others say that what you’re doing is silly, a waste of time, or impossible, those opinions often carry more weight than they should.
Replace with: What You Think
Who’s going to the gym working to reach your goals? Who’s preparing and eating each meal every day? Who’s investing in and taking the supplements? Here’s a hint. It ain’t them. It’s you. So whose opinion should matter to you? The answer will stare you back in the face next time you look at a mirror. If you want to share your goals, great, but do not let their doubt become your doubt. You believing that you can do it is what truly matters.
Spring cleaning comes every year when it comes to cleaning houses but when it comes to your mind, make sure that you only have to do this once. Get rid of what you don’t need. Replace it with the insights above so you can succeed.