You may have heard the saying that "your past does not define you", this is only partially true. In relation to your mistakes, yes, your past isn’t who you are but what about the good stuff . . . the victories? The true definition of who you are is based upon your past success NOT your mistakes. When you lose sight of this truth it’s easy to become unmotivated, depressed, and habitually lethargic. In turn, exercise becomes low on the to-do list.
When you consume your mind with your failures and mistakes getting to the gym, let alone doing the dishes and laundry, suddenly seems daunting and of little interest. To combat this there needs to be a shift in focus from your failures to your achievements. Dwelling on your past mistakes paves the way for further negative thoughts but when you dwell on your past success you get the opposite result: positive energy and momentum.
Here’s 3 steps to creating momentum with your victories of old to ignite your fitness:
1. GOING BACK TO THE START LINE
First thing's first you need to go back to the start line, back to when you were young. As far back as you can recall is a good starting point. Find a quiet place away from distractions and spend some time (15 minutes - less or more) dwelling on the good things you’ve done in the past, your victories.
This could be anything you did well, the accomplishments that made you feel proud, and the goals that you achieved. It could be something small or great, such as getting your first job, your first “A” on a paper, overcoming a fear, graduating college/university, etc. When you spend time focusing on this you pave the way for momentum by redirecting your energy from negative to positive.
2. WRITING YOUR VICTORIES DOWN
When you’ve gained enough momentum the next step is to write your victories down. With paper and pen ready (pencil if you're old-school or crayon if you're really old-school) write down every victory you can think of from childhood to now. WARNING: you may need more than one sheet of paper because once you start writing you’ll start to think of more and more.
There’s something about writing things down that brings life. In fact, many studies have shown that when you write things down instead of just thinking or speaking about them you're more likely to commit things to memory. This is because you’re centering your focus as you write. I challenge you to take some time and write your victories down.
3. REMEMBERING YOUR VICTORIES
Your victories will certainly become history if you don’t place what you’ve just written where they can be remembered. Make it your mission to ensure your victories are not forgotten. Immerse yourself with your victories of old, making sure they can be seen on a daily basis.
Turn your victories into your desktop screensaver, your phone’s home screen, your bathroom mirror reminder, and anywhere else you’re bound to gaze. I'm not talking about reviewing your victories daily forever but more than what you're used to. Start off strong and commit to reviewing your victories for a number of consecutive days. It’s said that 21 days cures a habit . . . so make it 40.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
It's easy to get so caught up in your past failures and forget about the good things, how much you've been through and managed to surpass, and the struggles that you're currently facing and enduring. This is why it’s so important to dwell on your past victories instead of shortcomings. When you zero in on your highlights, it breeds life instead of stagnation, it compels you to move. Such a shift in focus gives you momentum that can be used to propel your fitness forward.
Keeping your victories on the forefront of your mind will give you that extra push needed when it counts. It will push you through that last rep you thought you couldn’t do, guide you through an extra mile on your run, and drive you towards new limits you didn’t know were there. So I challenge you to try this: go back to the start line, write down the victories you’ve won, and immerse yourself with them.
Get Fit, Stay Fit, Enjoy Life!