Want to Change Your Body? Start with Your Mind

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I’m constantly getting asked about ways to lose weight and get in shape.  And most of the time the questions include “what’s the quickest/fastest/easiest way?”  There are no simple answers and no easy ways to get in shape and be lean.  You do have to work for it.  What most people don’t realize is that it takes a lifetime of commitment to be healthy and in great shape.  And another common mistake is to only focus on your physical being, completely neglecting your mind.  Your mind is a crucial aspect of your well-being, and plays an important role in your physical transformation.

Before you start your physical transformation, you need to be mentally ready to accept the challenge and your new way of life.  You need to be committed to your body, which takes some mental practices, like willpower, habit forming, visualization, and self-motivation.  I strive to be healthy and in great physical form because I want it.  Ask yourself what you want to be in this life, and give yourself an honest answer.  If you don’t care about how you look and your health, then don’t do anything and continue living the way you are now. If your answer is “I want to feel good physically; be happy about the way I look; feel strong and energetic; live a long life” then follow the steps below to get yourself on the right track to that wonderful new you!

1. Love Yourself

The first step is to embrace yourself by learning to love your body. By this, I mean you shouldn’t just accept what you look like now and all the flaws you may have, but love yourself in a way that will make you want to treat your body better.  If you truly love yourself, you wouldn’t abuse your body with alcohol, cigarettes or drugs right?  The same goes for junk food, too much sugar, and lack of exercise.  If you tell yourself every morning, when you get up out of bed “I love myself and I love my body, and I will only put good things inside of it today”, then you’re more likely to stick with that. Just remind yourself of this promise you made every time you have a craving for something bad or feel too lazy to go work out.  I treat exercise as medicine for my body, because I know when I do it, my body will be stronger and I will feel better.  And I treat junk food as poison that will do nothing good for me.

 2. Find Your Passion

The second step to your mind-over-body transformation is to find what you are passionate about.  Everyone has it; you just need to realize what yours is.  Some people love music – it just moves them. For others it could be outdoors and nature.  And some people, like me, love competition and get motivated by it.  I love a good competitive game of badminton or squash. When I get into it, nothing can slow me down! I don’t have to force myself to run, reach and try my hardest to make a point, I do it because it’s fun for me and I enjoy it.  Try to find out what moves you, and you’ll never have to force yourself again.

 3. Stay Active

Step three is to constantly stay active.  You may have days when you don’t want to do anything physical, even when you find what you’re passionate about.  But most of the time you’ll find that doing at least half your normal routine is enough to get you out of the slump.  On days when I feel lazy and try to find every excuse there is why I shouldn’t exercise, I make a deal with myself and say that I’ll just do 15 minutes of cardio instead of my usual 30.  The funny thing that happens almost every time, is that once I start, don’t want to stop after only 15 minutes and keep going longer.  Do something – anything to get your heart beat up – you will never regret it. Read 9 Ways to stay active and fit without the gym to get ideas for fun exercises.

 4. Do it Because of How it Makes You Feel

Now that you got started, let’s try to see how you can keep it up.  For most people, the trouble is not to get started on a new healthy lifestyle, but to keep it going.  This is where self-motivation comes in.  You will have better chances of sticking with your healthy way of life if you focus on how you feel rather than on how you look.  If are weighing yourself every morning and not noticing big results you are likely to give up.  But the number on the scale is not everything. What about how much more energy you have, and how much stronger you feel? Those are big achievements already!  I always focus on how lean my muscles get, how my immune system gets stronger, and how I feel more optimistic and life-loving when I exercise regularly.  Those are real success markers, and should be enough to keep you going.

 5. How Much do You Want It?

The final step has a lot to do with self-motivation as well.  When it comes down to it, it’s all about whether you want to change yourself for the better and how much you want it.  As I said in the opening paragraph, you have to be honest with yourself here and know whether this is going to make you happier.  If you are not comfortable with your weight and size, it’s in your hands (and in your mind) to make the change.  Write your goals for your perfect body on a piece of paper and look it over every chance you get. Read Achieve your Goals with Visualization to learn more about this great technique.

By keeping up these steps eventually you’ll find your new healthy lifestyle so ingrained into your subconscious that it wouldn’t be difficult to maintain it. After all, it takes about 3-4 weeks of doing something repetitively to form a new habit. After that, it becomes natural to you. Read Be a Creature of Habit to see how habit forming works.

So go on, love yourself; be passionate; stay active; and do it because of how it makes you feel and because of how much you want it!



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