Decade Kickoff Step #2 – Forge a Winning Mindset

Yesterday, we started our entry into the new decade by creating a source of motivation for the next 90 days.  The all important action step was to take 5 minutes to come up with something to train for over the next 60-90 days. It literally only takes 5 minutes, but the payoff is huge. If you didn’t get a chance to read the article, you can find it here.

So now that you are training for something, it’s time for the proverbial “come to Jesus” moment…are you willing to do what’s necessary to make it happen?

Certainly it comes down to the work you put in, but the work we are willing to put in comes directly from our mindset.  If you approach your next 90 days with the right mindset, doing the work won’t be a problem.  Finding excuses won’t happen.  Success will be inevitable.

Here’s how we build that winning mindset.

Step 1 – Realize that YOU control the outcome.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in life, business, and fitness is that 90+% of the time we alone are in direct control of our success.  Sure there will be outside forces we don’t influence, but we do control how we respond to them.  We do control how we think about them.  We do control how we anticipate them.

On the one hand, this realization is incredibly motivating.  You are in control! YOU have the power to make it happen!  Who else would you rather have that kind of power?  When you succeed, it’s because YOU made it happen.

On the other hand, it’s also incredibly sobering.  If you don’t succeed, it’s because you didn’t make it happen.  It wasn’t because of the unexpected work trip, the sick kid, or the lack of sleep.  It wasn’t because “life got busy” or you couldn’t find time to train.  It’s simply because you didn’t find a way to make it happen.

While it’s both scary and motivating, the foundation of a winning mindset starts with complete ownership of the outcome.

Step 2 – Identify the critical path to success and hold it holy.

In my quest to hit certain numbers on my bench, squat, and deadlift, I knew it was absolutely critical to hit my linear progression for each lift twice a week.  1 time a week wouldn’t get it done.  6 sessions instead of a full 8 in a month wouldn’t work.  Twice a week was the minimum and I committed to it at all costs because I knew it was absolutely critical to success.

Conversely, I also had accessory work as part of my program.  It is also important and helps with the speed of progression, but I knew if I absolutely had to miss it here and there, I’d be ok.

Take some time to figure out your own critical path (we will help you with that).  This critical path will become the foundation of your commitment to yourself.

Step 3 – Alter your vocabulary to one of ownership.

I recently read the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*$% and the biggest take away for me was when the author wrote – “you are not special.”

He didn’t mean that we don’t have something unique to offer as an individual.  He meant that we face the same challenges and problems as everyone else.  Everyone is busy. Everyone has unexpected things to deal with – family issues, sick kids, crappy bosses, work travel, etc.  Everyone has a million demands of their time.  Everyone shoulders some sort of burden.

The difference between people is how they choose to deal with and respond to those things.

For me, that meant changing my vocabulary in my fitness journey to one of ownership.  Here’s how it works…

Before: “I couldn’t work out today because I was up all night with Savannah.”

After: “I didn’t get a lot of sleep and I chose to turn off my alarm.  I also chose not to find a different time in the day to workout whether it be at home or the gym.”

Before: “I know I was eliminating beers, but I was with my dad and really wanted to have one with him.”

After: “I chose to have a couple of beers with my dad because I decided those memories are more important than hitting my body composition goals.”

I won’t lie to you – you have to be super vulnerable to adopt this type of thinking, but once you do, you will be amazed at how you suddenly find the time.  What is even more powerful is when you combine this new vocabulary with the next step!

Step 4 – Plan for what could go wrong.

In case you haven’t heard of him, Ben Bergeron is the owner of CrossFit New England and has coached more high level CrossFit athletes than I can name.  I respect the heck out of him as a human, business owner, and coach.

One thing he asks his athletes to do leading up to a competition is to write out a list of 100 things that could go wrong and how they would respond.  Example: a judge miscounts my reps – I just keep moving because I’ll waste time arguing.

I want you to do a similar exercise with the things that could go wrong as you pursue your 90 day goal.  You probably don’t need 100 things, but start with at least 10. I’ll help with some…

  • You have a week long work trip and won’t be able to hit your training days – you’ll drop in to a gym in the city you travel…or…you’ll do a small workout early in the morning in the hotel gym.
  • The kids are sick so you have to stay home and miss class – you make arrangements to go the next day which is typically your off day…or…you find a 10 minute workout off the CrossFit SciCoh travel wod page to do when the kids are napping.

Here’s the beauty of this exercise – it eliminates excuses because you are prepared! Let’s look back at the two examples I gave in Step 3.

“I couldn’t hit my typical workout time because I didn’t have the energy to train from being up all night with Savannah.  Instead, I did 20 minutes of pull ups, push ups, and squats at home while she was napping in the afternoon.”

“I value sharing a beer with my dad, so I did it today, but eliminated my after dinner treat to keep my body comp goals on track.”

Step 5 – Create a mantra to rally around.

There’s a reason there are so many shirts, memes, etc. out there with sayings on them – they can create an emotional response! Sometimes, that’s all you need to get in gear.

For years I’ve had the same one – “Make it happen.”

For me it embodies everything I wrote about in this article.  Ultimately, it reminds me that I’m in control and it’s always time to grind.  Not every day will be an easy day, so sometimes this little mantra is all I need to suck it up and get after it.

Steal mine or create your own.  Just make sure you have one and try using it when you need an extra boost!

Give this stuff a shot and let us know if you have questions.  Tomorrow we will talk about leveraging your best asset…trust me, you don’t want to miss it!

Mike