By Ken Hunt—Owner Steel Gym and AFI Certified Trainer
I have always believed that in order to be physically fit you have to develop “mental toughness.” So here are some tips to help you develop that tough mental attitude you need to succeed in meeting your fitness – and life goals!
Listen to the experts. Read biographies and listen to audio programs that talk of winners who have overcome tremendous obstacles and setbacks to become successful. They are people just like you. So if they can do it, WHY CAN’T YOU?
“What next?” Give yourself solution-oriented feedback when solving your problems. Don’t dwell on what went wrong. What are you going to do about it? Spend your energy on moving forward, finding an answer.
Get comfortable with the unfamiliar. Make it a part of your daily routine to do something totally different than what you normally do. Turn your TV off for a month. Take a different route to work. Change workout routines regularly. You’ll be better prepared to handle diverse environments with greater calm and confidence.
THINK AND SPEAK WELL OF YOUR HEALTH. Teach yourself to use positive self-talk about fitness and personal health. Too much attention is paid to minor aches and pains. We tend to make real what is the “main feature” of ourselves. What’s YOUR “main feature?”
Don’t be a victim of ads and fads. Make sure the thing that impresses you meets your criteria, and satisfies your concerns. Mental toughness doesn’t mean going it alone, with lose-weight-fast or get-rich-quick schemes. Mental toughness means learning from the pros that have been there and done that.
Align yourself with people who have already achieved their goals or who are dedicated to goals similar to yours. Avoid associating with people who have the same unresolved problems or who are frustrated by their lack of achievement.
Focus on desired results. Pure and simple: winners dwell on the rewards of success. Losers focus on mistakes and failure. Do what’s necessary NOW!
Expect the unexpected. You can’t control what nature and others do. You can anticipate what MAY happen, and prepare for them as best you can. You can also control your response to what happens.
Daydream – Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dream location. Breathe slowly and deeply. Whether it’s a beach, a mountaintop, a hushed forest or a favorite room from your past, let the comforting environment wrap you in a sensation of peace and tranquility.
Collect positive emotional moments – Make it a point to recall times when you have experienced pleasure, comfort, tenderness, confidence, or other positive emotions.
Enjoy hobbies – Taking up a hobby brings balance to your life by allowing you to do something you enjoy because you want to do it, free of the pressure of everyday tasks. It also keeps your brain active.
Share humor – Life often gets too serious, so when you hear or see something that makes you smile or laugh, share it with someone you know. A little humor can go a long way to keeping us mentally fit!
Volunteer – Volunteering is called the “win-win” activity because helping others makes us feel good about ourselves. At the same time, it widens our social network, provides us with new learning experiences and can bring balance to our lives.
Treat yourself well – Cook yourself a good meal. Have a bubble bath. Set aside one night a week just for you. See a movie. Go and see that Broadway show that you have been thinking about. Call a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in ages. Take long walks. Enjoy the sunrise one morning. Watch a sunset one night. Spend more time with your pets. Make a list of everything that you have to be thankful for. Whatever it is, do it just for you.
Ken Hunt is an AFI-certified trainer and owner of Steel Gym in New York City Ken’s articles have been featured in The New York Times, Compete, Horizon Barcelona, Dignity, Men’s Fitness, Genre, HX, Stonewall News and EXIT South Africa, and he’s a frequent guest on Sirius OutQ Radio. Ken also travels the country lecturing on physical fitness and sharing his work-out secrets. He is currently finishing his new book “ The Hunt for Fitness,” working an a new cable TV project.
Steel Gym has been named one of the top 5 gyms in the U.S. by Muscle and Fitness Magazine. Steel is also ranked as the “#1 Gym in New York” by the American Fitness Institute for “cost, cleanliness, equipment and service,” and has been called “the last real gym left in New York” by famed bodybuilder Victor Martinez. For the second year in a row Steel was awarded both the Talk Of The Town Award for outstanding customer service, and received the New York Award for Physical Fitness.
The gym is located at 146 W. 23rd St, New York, NY