One of the best things you can learn from exercise is to re-program your thinking, and train yourself for success. Isn’t it funny how often great athletes turn out to be great achievers in other areas of their life.
What if the mental discipline you learn from exercise carries over into your work and personal life? Could that give you a competitive advantage? Maybe help you to stay focussed on difficult tasks and achieve great things? You might end up with a career path like Arnie, the Governator.
Warning: These tools can have mind-altering affects.
Tool #1: Be present: No I don’t mean turn up to your session (I assume you’ve already done that!). I am referring to your mental state. Whether you are training weights or going on a run, let go of your distractions. Recognise when they come in; is that person looking at me? What’s for dinner? And as soon as they do, cast your thoughts back to your breathing and focus on your body’s movements. Ask yourself questions; “Am I breathing to the base of my lungs? Are my shoulders relaxed? Is my body symmetrical?” These questions help to keep you in the moment. This is called having mindful awareness. You might have to refocus twenty times throughout your workout until one day, you realise you’re doing it automatically. This not only leads to far more coordinated and effective movements physiologically, but is a form of meditation that improves focus and concentration.
Tool #2: Discipline: The key to discipline is preparation. Preparation? Yes preparation. Why don’t you plan at the start of your week which days you will train. Know exactly what you need to do in each workout, and what scores you need to beat for improvement. Once you are actually training, you shouldn’t need to think about disciplining yourself (if you have used tool #1). If you feel your motivation fading adopt the JFDI principle (don’t know it, google it!) and JFDI it!
Tool #3: Visualisation: You will always behave the way you see yourself. So if you see yourself as being out of shape and slow, you will train that way. Instead, try to visualise yourself beating your personal best. Visualise how good you will feel after your workout. Imagine the feeling when you reach your goal weight that no one thought you’d achieve. It’s very easy to visualise the bad stuff so why don’t you stop yourself when a negative thought comes in and project it into a positive one.
Have a go at adapting these principles into your professional life as well. When at work, be present, especially when communicating with others. Prepare your tasks in a manner that encourages self discipline. And if you are struggling with something, try not to put it off, instead JFDI it! Visualise your new office when you have achieved that promotion, or how will you feel when people are looking to you as their mentor? Apply these principles with a dash of passion and you will grow into a true champion.
Do you already train like a champion? I’d love to know how you have adapted these principles (and others) to achieve success.