I hear a lot of people who are on some sort of health and fitness journey say things like “Oh, I would never be able to do that because I could NEVER live without <insert food/amount of sleep/morning or evening ritual etc here>”.
A typical scenario I have experienced is often food based. For example, I while back I went a month (or two or three, I can’t actually remember) without sugar. Any sugar, refined, natural – ANY (ie: including fruit). Why? Just to see if I could. And, see if it made any difference to my energy levels, training, weight etc. As I have said before, I love to do wee experiments to find out what works for me with my nutrition. We all know that there are hidden sugars in a lot of foods nowadays and even though I was eating a pretty clean diet, it definitely made me be SUPER DUPER prepared with my nutrition in advance.
Anyway, my point I am getting at is – What I found while I found while I was doing this was that I got SO many comments along the lines of “Wow, I could NEVER do that becuase of xyz (insert lame excuse here)” and, “What on earth do you eat? I could never survive on that” etc (I was also eating Paleo at the time).
I find it interesting because these people have made a snap judgement on themselves before thinking through whether it is even possible. They have let themselves down before considering if this is something they could, or even want to do. Doing something different is hard. Change is difficult. It is much easier to stick with what you know and stay within your comfort zone. If it were easy, people would start new scary things everyday. But more often than not, the fear of failure, what others may think, or second guessing themselves stops them.
There are all sorts of pictures and quotes that tell you this…
Hey, I even had a personalised diary with one of these cool quotes on it (yup, I’m a total stationary geek)..
One of the reasons I personally like to do things I that are a little crazy (not drinking for three months, adventure races, even Crossfit – hey it’s not natural to throw 50-70kgs above your head on a regular basis), is that as well as these things pushing my physical limits, it’s the mental challenge that I believe is the greatest thing to conquer. So many things we do in life, our mind will let us down much before our body will.
– Working late at night and would rather be at home on the couch – you set yourself little goals, ok, get to the end of this section of the document and then you can have a sleep-in in the morning.
– Going for a new Personal Best in an olympic lift – often you know you are going to get it well before you step on the platform to make the lift.
– Going for a new longest distance you have ever run – your mind convinces you that you can do it well before your legs decide to give up.
– Not eating the chocolate/lollies in the cupboard after dinner – whether you do or not is overcoming your mind, not because your stomach is so hungry you need it.
All of these things, if your head isn’t in the game, there is no way you will achieve it.
Mental toughness isn’t something that people are born with. Like anything, it is a skill that is worked on and practiced. The more you continue to push the limits of what you think is possible, the more you believe you can achieve the next goal you set your mind towards. And the cool thing is, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more belief you have in yourself (also known as confidence!).
Keep this in mind before you make the next assumption on yourself on whether you can achieve something or not. Surround yourself with motivational quotes and inspiring people. You might be surprised how much of an impact it can have.