Avoiding Sabotaging Thoughts

Sectors of the Brain

I was in the gym last week and started to have those thoughts that plague everybody from time to time.

As I took a look around the gym, there were a ton of people that looked better than me, lifted more weight than me, and generally just looked farther along in their fitness goals than me. It’s an easy thing to worry about. I just turned 30 and, to be honest, didn’t really get this whole fitness and nutrition lifestyle down correctly until about two years ago (I detailed that in a previous post, if you’d like to read it). My progress is lagging behind where my expectations and goals are.

Standing at a machine, I let the thought of everyone around me bother me for a few moments, but then I had the ability to stop those thoughts. My brain shifted from a very macro perspective to a very micro focus. I centered back in on myself and what I was doing.

While everyone occasionally thinks these sabotaging thoughts, not everyone can shut them off. I think the moment I just described was a sign of growth for me, and it was something I immediately recognized and generated positivity from.

The thing is, anyone can do this. You can, and you should, if you find yourself slipping into the same situation.

The overall reality of training is that YOUR progress is the only progress that matters. Really. You’re in the gym for you — nobody else — so what anyone else is doing, looking like, etc. means absolutely nothing and shouldn’t impact you in the slightest.

We all have different goals and aspirations when we even get off the couch to head to the gym. For two years, I went to the gym to put on weight. When I compare my weight-gain goal to the goals of many other gym-goers, they completely clash. So many people that work out in that same gym every night are there to lose weight, increase strength on a specific lift, train for a competition, get better at a sport … it’s across the board.

So why would I waste my time worrying about all of those other people and what they look like and what they’re doing if there’s no correlation between our goals whatsoever?

Typing it out, it makes complete sense, but I understand it’s not so easy when you’re in that atmosphere.

That train of thought lends itself to this example: If it takes me 10 weeks to lose 10 pounds and you do it in 8 weeks, are you better than me? Should I be bummed out about that? Should I have done something different?

Absolutely not.

We’re all so genetically different, with different heights, weights, ages, body types, etc. There’s no way one person can realistically be compared to another. So stop that immediately.

And once again, all of us have different goals and reasons to to go the gym and better ourselves. There’s no need to worry about anything other than yourself.

I recently watched a video relative to this topic, and it’s something I feel compelled to share. This is a video of a 32-week transformation. 32 WEEKS! It’s such an amazing example of how you can achieve success from blocking out the outside noise, focusing on the now, and working towards the future.

That’s someone who is mentally strong, for one, and it’s also an example of how accomplishing any goal is a process.

If you set out to reach a goal, go at it in full force. Don’t worry about anything else around you, because it truly does not matter.

And let’s speak on thoughts for a second.

I heard a really inspirational take once from a comedian-turned-transformational speaker, Kyle Cease, who explained that your brain can’t think two things at the same time. If you have a sabotaging thought come to mind, you have the ability to shut it down.

The first, most important step, is recognizing the thought. If you’re able to catch yourself in the process of your own mind games, you’ll be able to quickly move to the second part of the equation, which is substituting it with a positive thought. Fortunately, I’ve been able to develop the ability to carry out this process, at least occasionally, and I think I’m better for it.

When I got discouraged last week, I immediately replaced that thought with the idea of my current weight loss plan and the mental picture of what I’ll look like when I’m finished and all the hard work over the last two years paying off. Immediately, I was energized, and I hit the second half of my workout with serious intensity.

It didn’t matter that the guy next to me was doing the entire stack on triceps press downs, or that the person who took the squat rack right after me was moving 100 more pounds. I remembered how much progress I’ve made and that I’m embarking on another fun journey with more results on the horizon.

After the workout, my mind expanded beyond the idea of just the end result. I thought about the entire process I’ve gone through. I thought about how I’ve established a new level of discipline in my life, whether it be through consistent training, pushing through plateaus, managing a meal plan, and others. I’ve grown in more ways than weight.

I’d like to encourage you to do the same. Focus on YOU. Take pride in what YOU have accomplished and what YOU are working towards. Reflect from time to time on what you’ve been able to instill in yourself by living a through health and wellness.

Your mind is a powerful thing. If you gear it towards your goals in a positive manner, none of the outside noise will matter.

Recent Articles


One thought on “Avoiding Sabotaging Thoughts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s