In my almost 15 years working with clients who have had every imaginable fitness and performance goal, I find one defining quality that always predicts success. In fact, when I look back on every successful client; have it be a weight loss client, a rehab client, or a college athlete, there is one unifying factor between each successful person regardless of goal, ability, or limitation. Each one of these successful clients had the right mental approach to the process.
That’s right I said mental, not physical. Now I realize this is the physiologist starting to talk about psychology, so please indulge my little venture outside of my scope of practice, I think you’ll find it applies to you.
Now, I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know what you’d define this mental outlook as. Some might call it perseverance, but I don’t know if that explains it. Others might call it mental toughness, and as much as I like that, I don’t know if that does it justice. Some might call it being dedicated or disciplined, but still that seems to miss the mark. In fact, maybe it’s a combination of all of these things, maybe all of these qualities feed off each other synergistically. Indeed, I think it’s the culmination of each of these qualities (and probably many more) that predisposes someone to be successful in their fitness endeavor (and probably in life in general). So for lack of a more scientific term, let’s just call this having “IT” mentally.
Now why am I talking about having “IT?” Why is “IT” so important? Because your attitude clearly (in all my experience) dictates your outcome! Let me expand on this.
Reaching any worthwhile goal isn’t easy. Losing 50lbs, getting a college athletic scholarship, rehabbing an injured knee are all tough. Yeah flat out, they’re hard; if they weren’t everyone would be in great shape and played D1 athletics on a full-ride.
I’m not talking about losing 3lbs here. This isn’t walking on to a college team to be the last person on the bench, or just barely making it on the team to only ride the pine. The lofty, worth-while goals people bring to us at AFS are hard – bottom line! Everyone walks through the door with these goals, some of them achieve their goals, others don’t (I’m happy to say a lot more do than don’t). Now what is the deciding factor if we’re applying the same scientific foundations to each exercise and nutrition prescription to each person? Yup, you guessed it – having “IT!”
So what does it take to have “IT?” Do you have “IT?” If you don’t, can you get “IT?” Well those answers are simple; you can decide if you have “IT” at any point in time, you just have to make the commitment!
Now what is “IT” that I’m talking about?
Having “IT” means resolving in your mind, your body, indeed in your very soul that nothing will stop you from achieving your goals. Having “IT” means realizing your goal will take time, lots of time, months and months and months of time. Having “IT” means giving yourself permission to take the time that is necessary and not trying to rush it. Having “IT” means realizing you’re going to fail along the way. You’re going to stumble, have a bad workout, a bad week, a bad competition, or big setback.
Having “IT” means not curling up into a little ball and crumbling when adversity challenges your pursuit of your goal. Having “IT” means looking that adversity squarely in the eye, without fear, or trepidation, or uncertainty, but rather strength, courage, confidence of knowing you can overcome. Having “IT” means you retool your game plan, and you recommit even more than ever before. Having “IT” means not being afraid of failure, it means loving it, embracing it, being thrilled at the prospect of learning from a failure only to get better. Having “IT” means realizing you control your goals, your goals don’t control you. Finally, having “IT” is something YOU decide on.
Are you starting to get “IT,” have you got “IT” yet? Let me continue.
This isn’t an innate quality you’re born with or not. This is something you can choose. There are some people out there who’d like you to believe you either have “IT” or you don’t. I’m here to tell you from a lot of personal experience – that’s crap! I’ve seen countless times people find “IT.” Not just my high level athletes. I’ve seen 70 year old women find “IT.” I’ve seen guys who’ve lost over 100lbs find “IT,” when they never realized it was there in the first place. I’ve seen enough people find “IT,” that I know it’s an ability everyone has.
So what’s your goal? Say it out loud, right now!
That’s your goal, now dig down deep inside and find your “IT,” and don’t let anything stop you!