7 Steps to Success (Nutrition): Step 7—Keep a Positive Mindset

Achieving our goals (whether they are related to training, nutrition, or anything else) requires consistent hard work and some level of sacrifice. How we view that work and perceived sacrifice is up to us. If we are able to create and maintain a positive mindset, we are more likely to continue on the path to success and enjoy the process.

The Seven Steps to Success (Step 7)

Keep a positive mindset!

Our way of thinking becomes our reality. Creating and maintaining a positive mindset has a profound impact on our physical health, our mental well-being, our relationships (including with food), and our overall quality of life.

What is positive thinking?

Positive thinking does not mean ignoring or avoiding bad things and looking at the world through rose-colored lenses. Instead, positive thinking means approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It involves making the most of difficult situations, viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light, and trying to see the best in the world around you.

Let’s face it. Achieving our goals (whether they are related to training, nutrition, or anything else) requires consistent hard work and some level of sacrifice. How we view that work and perceived sacrifice is up to us. If we are able to create and maintain a positive mindset, we are more likely to continue on the path to success and enjoy the process.

The danger of negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is our inner dialogue with a negative bias, where we are incredibly unkind to ourselves. It is the voice in our head that ruminates on mistakes or moments that we don’t feel good about. This is often in the form of criticism or judgment of our work, our appearance, or even our personality. Here are some examples of negative self-talk that can truly inhibit progress:

  1. I already know I won’t like it.
  2. Things just aren’t working out right for me.
  3. I just know it won’t work.
  4. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to lose weight.
  5. I just don’t have the patience for that.

To change, you must first be open to change. Second, you must believe that you are capable of change.

Negative things that we say to ourselves cause massive roadblocks for us. As a nutrition and strength coach, I routinely hear all of the above phrases. My job, the way I view it, is to help clients develop the skills, habits, and strategies that will allow them to succeed. I cannot do the work for somebody. The phrases above represent a fear or unwillingness to even try.  They are filled with skepticism, self-doubt, and projected failure.

To make lasting behavioral changes that lead to results, you must believe in yourself and trust the process. If I could get clients to dismiss negative self-talk, have a positive mindset, and believe in themselves, I would be the most successful coach that ever lived!

Additionally, negative thinking leads to negative behaviors. For instance, if you start the day by saying, “I had a donut for breakfast, so the day is ruined,” you are more likely to make a poor choice at your next meal.

When it comes to achieving sustainable results with your nutrition goals, here are some ways to create a positive mindset and set yourself up for success:

  1. View every time you eat as an opportunity to make a choice to nourish your body, improve your energy level, contribute to your health, and take control.
  2. Let go of guilt; it serves no purpose. Instead, treat the next meal that you eat or the next day as a “do-over.” You now have another opportunity to stick to your intentions.
  3. If you are making progress, be proud! Celebrate your victories and share them with others.
  4. At the end of each day, reflect on the things that you did well. Acknowledge your small victories and set intentions to improve the things that you struggled with.
  5. Give back by helping someone else. Did you learn something new and helpful? Teach it to someone else. This can be anything from a hack that simplifies food prep to sharing a recipe of something that you made or teaching your child how to make a healthy sandwich.
  6. Seek out and consume content that keeps you inspired to stay motivated. Books, articles, videos, podcasts, and songs can all serve to give you the nudge to stick with it and pick you up when you feel like giving up.
  7. Immerse yourself in a community—whether virtual or real-life—that shares the same mindset and values (hint: you are already found one if you are reading this :))

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