Mind yourself

In June 2023, Trucker's Health6 MinutesBy Laura HulleyJuly 17, 2023

You may hear ‘mindset’ and immediately think of yoga retreats, meditation and kale smoothies. But there is a more simplistic and relatable meaning of mindset. It simply means your way of seeing or framing things, and it can be the make or break of achieving your health goals.

Having a positive mindset is important in all facets of life, especially regarding your health and wellbeing. I have worked with many clients who know how to get healthier, fitter and stronger – their battle is with their mindset. It’s a huge topic that can’t be thoroughly covered here, but I want to identify the type of mindset that can be helpful when trying to achieve health and fitness goals.

Have a positive mindset
I understand that this is easier said than done. I don’t mean taking all the challenges that life throws at you and smiling and pretending everything is okay – I suggest having a positive frame around what you want to achieve.

For example, a negative mindset would be, “I can’t eat chocolate cake because it makes me fat.” A positive mindset would be, “I’m going to eat this chicken stir-fry because it tastes good and it makes me feel good.”

It is just a simple reframing of what you’re doing and why. Talking to yourself about ‘not being fat anymore’ puts you subconsciously in a negative frame of mind.

Compliment yourself and celebrate milestones
It is very easy to be hard on yourself and not appreciate the effort you’re making. This leans into the positive versus negative frame as well. For example, “I only walked 5km, that’s terrible – I should be walking at least 8km,” versus, “Awesome, I walked 5km today. That’s much better than just sitting on the couch.”

If you are thrown by constant self- criticisms, you will never feel like you are good enough and will be more likely to give up. Whereas, if you give yourself small pats on the back each day for the little things you’ve done and achieved, you are more likely to feel accomplished and excited to keep on with the progress.

Surround yourself with like-minded people
The people around you can make a positive mindset either very difficult or very achievable. There will always be a bit of teasing from your mates if you are cutting down on the pies or having fewer beersies on a Friday night. It is all fine in jest, but we do need to remember that being around people who share similar values on their health and fitness can make a world of difference. They can create a support network and help reaffirm that what you’re doing is worth it in the grand scheme of things.

Learn to reframe and pivot
The temptation to let one diet ‘slip-up’ or missed training session ruin your whole week is overwhelming. I’m sure you can relate – if you miss a training Monday, you might let Tuesday slide and think, “I’ll start fresh next week.” Or you have a chocolate bar or pie at morning tea and then think, “Ah, well, the whole day is ruined now”, and proceed to have fish and chips and takeaways for the rest of the day. Missing one training session or having one ‘naughty’ meal hasn’t ruined your entire week – just make your next meal healthy or get an exercise session in at the next chance. This means you’re not writing off an entire week – or month – and will get to your goals quicker.

Resist the urge of boredom
Eating the same food or doing the same style of exercise can get boring. When bored, we can often get distracted and go completely off track. Instead of having an all-or-nothing approach, take a broader stance and be more flexible. This may be a change of training style.

Just because you’re bored of walking doesn’t mean you’re bored of exercise and you must stop completely – just try something new. Being sick of the foods you’re eating doesn’t mean you’re sick of eating healthy, it means you need to add more variety into your diet. There is a huge list of healthy foods.

Eating well and exercising is not a punishment. It is a reward and should be seen as an accomplishment. You are giving back to yourself and investing the time and energy to feel good, which will, in turn, give back in many other areas of your life.