I cannot tell you how sore I am today. My quads hurt, my butt hurts, my abs hurt, my shoulders hurt and my triceps hurt. I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mac truck and, quite frankly, I’m loving every minute of it! Yesterday I busted out a particularly tough circuit training DVD I haven’t done in months but used to do quite regularly and it felt as if I’d never done it before. I wasn’t even through the first circuit when I found that my arms were shaking and I immediately doubted whether or not I’d be able to get through the next 40 minutes.
I told myself I couldn’t do it. I’m nursing a pulled calf muscle and it’s limited me in my cardio and I’d been afraid to put too much pressure on my legs so my workouts have been few and far in between over the last few weeks. I made the mistake of almost convincing myself that the DVD was showing me that I wasn’t ready for it yet. I started beating myself up for not keeping up on my strength training. Sure I pulled a calf muscle but nothing was wrong with my upper body, I could easily have just switched to focusing on strengthening my core, shoulders and arms but I didn’t. I told myself that I was getting lazy and how was I going to be a personal trainer if I couldn’t even work through an injury?
By the time I was done berating myself I’d worked through a second set of circuits and was onto the next part, giving my aching arms a break and working on abs. This is when I snapped out of it. This is when I told myself that “enough’s enough,” I will not talk to myself like that and instead reminded myself that the first time I worked through this DVD I actually cried it was so hard. It was so difficult that I had to stop several times for water and a break. This time? Although it was still tough, I didn’t have to break (with the exception of one quick breather) AND I was performing it with heavier weights! I reminded myself that, yes, the circuits make me shake but I only need to do them each for five minutes and then those muscles get a welcome break.
I finished that DVD and I’m certainly sore today but I’m so proud that I did not let that crappy attitude I had at the beginning get to me.
I bring this up because I see this attitude far too often when people try to change their behaviours. When we decide to change our lives for the better, we tend to bring a lot of baggage with us and a lot of that baggage has to do with a negative attitude. This attitude tells us that we won’t be able to do whatever it is we want to do, it tells us that we’ll give it a shot but we know it won’t work, it tells us that “we’ll give it a try” but without the excitement.
I had one friend tell me the last time I saw her that she was giving up pop but that she knew it wasn’t going to work. My response? Why bother trying then if you know it’s not going to work? Why do that to yourself?
I have another friend who tells me all the time she wants to “change” but whenever we work something out, she never does the steps and then apologizes to me, telling me what a bad person she is.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
It’s quite simple, your attitude determines your direction. If you think you’ll fail, you’ll fail. If you think you can’t do something, you won’t do it. And what happens is that you use the outcome as “proof” that you were right. You jump to conclusions and use faulty logic to determine that you really are a failure. Instead of gathering all the evidence, you just look at the evidence that supports your preferred conclusion. Instead of reminding myself that I had, indeed, successfully done that DVD hundreds of times before, I chose to focus on the fact that it was hard and that I had not been working out “enough” to determine that I just couldn’t do it. Obviously that was a load of bull because I actually finished the damned thing AGAIN!
If you want to succeed, in anything you do, you need to choose to be positive. There’s a commonality to many successful and happy people out there: they CHOOSE to be positive. They’ve practiced it for so long that it’s become a natural part of themselves. I’m a pretty positive person but, as I just demonstrated, I still have my negative thoughts. The point is that I very quickly recognized how negative I was being and CHOSE to change my attitude. Had I kept my negative attitude I most definitely would have stopped the DVD 10 minutes into it and called it a day but I didn’t. I chose to look at the evidence telling me that I could do it and focused on that instead.
Successful people are successful because they believed they could be successful. If Richard Branson didn’t believe he had what it took to be who he is today, do you think he’d be who he is? No! Instead of shutting himself down, he looked at opportunities and went for them, regardless of if it didn’t pan out or not because he recognizes that business failures do not equate to PERSONAL failure. A negative attitude shuts down your possibilities because you’re seeing the outcome through tunnel vision; you can only see one end result and that end result is failure. Looking at something with a positive attitude opens yourself up to the possibilities, you break down the tunnel and see ALL the possibilities with failure just being one option of many.
A simple way to learning to be more positive is the next time you catch yourself saying something negative, such as “I can’t do this,” or “I’m going to fail,” ask yourself “What if I can?” and then brainstorm all the possible things that could happen if you actually did achieve your goal. Write down these possibilities and then ask yourself what it will take, without allowing your negative thoughts to dominate, to get there. Then? Start DOING THEM!
By simply asking yourself “What if,” you start to open up your mind to possibilities other than failure. That small question is exactly what I used to get me to pick up running for the first time in my life and is the exact question I used to get me over the finish line of my first half marathon. I starting doing things to “just see” if I could do them. The more I did different things, the more successes I had. The more successes I had, the more positive I became that I could do things that I never tried before or started succeeding where I didn’t in the past.
Try it today! Only you have the power to change your life and successful changes can only happen with a positive attitude but you have to choose this attitude! It doesn’t just naturally occur in some people and not others, everyone who is positive CHOOSES to be positive. It’s like a muscle that needs to be strengthened daily. It’s easy to be negative but the outcomes are nothing but misery and mediocrity, if you want a life that excites you, fulfills you, a life where you succeed beyond your wildest imagination, choose happiness!
Photo credit: Reenie-Just Reenie