Motivation and the mind. How to control the voice within

There you are. Looking at the bar. You have squatted this weight before. You know you can do it. But, in the back of your mind there is a voice, and that voice is telling you can’t. Every time you shoo that voice away, it comes back, stronger than last time, telling you it’s too heavy, and reminds you of the many efforts you failed. What do you do? Take it off the hooks and squat, reminding the mind that you are boss, or do you hoist the white flag?

Your mind is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. It will deal with many pressures, provide you with guidance, and let you know what you can do, and even prompt you to go harder than ever before. However, your mind will also be your biggest worrier and the one part of your body that can wreck your efforts. How do you make sure that YOU rule your domain, and your mind doesn’t? Two items that are used at the School is recording your efforts and positivity.

First of all, record those efforts. Write down your reps, sets and the weights you used. Write down your sprint times. Record your efforts on your bike, speed, total kms, average speed, top speed, average cadence. These records will help you understand what you can and can’t do. If you don’t write these things down, how will you remember next time? Rely on your mind? What happens if you failed at 80kgs, do you think your mind will remember those failed attempts? Of course it will!! However, if you give it a positive reinforcement such as looking at a number on a piece of paper, that is the thought your mind will use. Always be positive when writing your efforts. Jot down little points to refer to as to why you missed a big lift, and review them before trying again.

Can't get lost

Second is a phrase called positivity. Don’t look on failure as a bad thing. Everyone fails. Most every single day. Try to get the next green light and you don’t. Guess what you failed, but you know it’s not the end of the world. The sun will come up. Same goes if you don’t beat your time, lift more weight, or drop a deadlift. There will always be another opportunity. You just have to focus on the positives. Think about why you dropped the weight? Was your grip strength off? Did you approach the bar, same as last time?
You will know pretty quickly as to why you missed. But your mind, if you are negative will provide a raft of information as to why. Not enough sleep, too heavy, grip sucks, legs hurt, bike’s shit, as well as many other useless reasons. If you remain positive, those thoughts will not be allowed to hold for very long. For example, if your grip sucks, work on it, so it becomes a positive and not a negative. If you have a bad night’s sleep, work on getting to bed earlier the night before you next train

Conquer the mind

Where your mind is boss is when food comes into play. How many times has your brain told you “It’s okay. You have been good. Go on, have that chocolate bar”. Okay, put your hands down. It happens to me too. In fact, I would say there hasn’t been a time where it has happened to nearly everyone. Well okay nearly everyone that likes chocolate. If you don’t like chocolate choose your own “happy” food. This is where mind is king. The ability to quickly persuade you into doing something that you know you shouldn’t, and then later rather than sooner, chastise you for doing it. It’s a bastard. You need to be strong, have those goals written down, and in places where you fail the most. On the fridge, in the gym, at work, and even in your wallet. Review them whenever you feel temptation pressing you to make the wrong decision. This will allow your mind not to play a part in the decision making process.
Be mindful too of how the mind relays information. If you see a friend who is doing well, and if you are a negative thinker, your mind will tell you they aren’t working hard, how you could do better and how they cheat most days. If you are positive, most of your thoughts will be good for that person, and you will want to find out how they are getting their results.
How to be more positive? Do you have a positivity switch that can be flicked? Be prepared for the School’s next blog post.

“You want to be strong? Then you must learn to deal with your mind. The body will follow where the mind leads.”

This is the School of Strength motto. The mind is boss. Learn to shut it up.


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