Sunday, 31 January 2016

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference

Today I wanted to talk about attitude. It’s our approach to every aspect of life. Something that has so much impact on us but is so often overlooked.
 
So what is attitude? I thought I’d do a simple Google search for this post to see what attitude is actually defined as. And quite simply put Google said it’s:
 
“A settled way of thinking or feeling about something”
 
And I thought that pretty much summed it up really.
 
Over the last 2-3 years I have put so much emphasis on attitude. It’s something I consciously think about every day and in my quest to always be becoming a better person it’s something that’s become very important to me. I genuinely believe that our attitude determines so much in our life. Things will happen to us that upset us or anger us or that we don’t like. And sometimes it’s ok to feel those emotions but we also have to remember that we have control over those feelings too.
 
One thing I’ve learnt to do over the last couple of years is to challenge myself mentally. So when something happens in life that doesn’t quite go as I might have hoped I allow myself a period of time to feel a real emotion towards that situation. And after that time I ask myself one question; ‘so what are you going to do about it?’
 
I developed this skill a few years ago at a time when I found myself very weak and I don’t mind admitting it now, pretty pathetic. And the months after that I had to become a stronger person and more resilient to life. The next 12 months I transformed myself mentally into the person I’ve become today; through one challenge after another becoming mentally tough, focused, determined and self-reliant. Qualities I am extremely proud of and I hope I never lose.
 
For me, I’m a self-confessed control freak and I especially don’t enjoy it when I feel like I don’t have control over my emotions. So this skill helps me regain that control. For example if someone does something that upsets or disappoints me I’ll give myself 24 hours to feel rubbish about the situation (12 hours sometimes if I’m feeling particularly hard on myself) and then I’ll ask ‘so what are you going to do about it?’ and I make a decision in my head both on a practical level if I want or need to do anything but more importantly on a mental level; what attitude do I want to have towards the situation? And I decide what attitude the situation needs and I stick with it. Head strong. And for me it works. It means I pretty much always have a sense of inner peace; I don’t let anyone or anything destroy that even if things are chaotic around me. Which is why I have a quick acceptance level now to people’s behaviours and actions and situations and it’s why I don’t tolerate things in my life that negatively drain on me. I feel settled in my head. This was a particularly important trait to have when travelling solo last year where there was a lot of change and uncertainty on a daily basis.
 
Anyway the reason I write this post is because when you’re dieting and training with a particular end goal, your attitude is one of the most important things in this journey. It will ensure you hit every goal or it will ensure you miss every goal. And since coming home my attitude has been on point. Determined, focused, positive, motivated and from October to December I sailed through everything. Don’t get me wrong when I say that; it wasn’t easy but it also didn’t feel difficult for me mentally.
 
I’ve written before about my new programme that started from 4 January and the main change with this was the diet. Whilst I was eating clean before it stepped up a notch from this point to the most strict I’ve ever done and I went into it with the same attitude I’d had for the last 3 months; determined, focused, positive and motivated. Week 1 was easy. I smashed it and noticed big improvements in my body shape and in my training performance. Winning.
 
I then got ill towards the end of week 2 and from then on it was hard. I wrote last week about how badly I was craving naughty food and how hard the sacrifices were and that rolled on into week 4 too. Last Friday I had the day off work and a little bit more time to think about things and how I’m progressing and to just have some time alone to process my thoughts. Now I am my own worst critic and on Friday something kind of flipped in my head for me.
 
I reflected on my attitude over the previous 3 weeks and again challenged myself. Was I happy with my attitude? Was I being the most positive I could be? Was there anything I could change about my attitude that would make this whole process easier? And when I really thought about it; I was pretty disappointed if I’m honest with my attitude towards the diet. I’ve stuck to it (apart from the trip to Krispy Kreme which I confessed to in last week’s post) but I’ve hated on it. I’ve begrudgingly eaten my veggies, huffed and puffed about having to break down my macros every day and moaned about it to pretty much anyone that would listen.
 
Now that’s not the Rebecca I know and it’s certainly not the Rebecca I want to be. I give myself a bit of a break as it’s something new to me and it’s tough. It genuinely is. Especially when you’ve got a hectic lifestyle too. But from that moment I reminded myself why I was doing this. I reminded myself that I committed to do this and no one forced me to and that I could either make this so much harder for myself by hating it every day or I could be more positive about it which I knew would already make it so much easier for me.
 
I’m allowed a bit of a treat every 2 weeks so I’m focusing on that and I’m focusing on the days where I wake up and look in the mirror and I can see the start of some abs forming. And when I train and I can do it better because I’m not fuelling my body with rubbish. All of those things. One quote I heard from a fitness guru a few years ago which stuck in my head is that ‘you can either be the sickness in your life or you can be the cure’. And how true is that? It takes the same amount of energy to be positive or to be miserable and so it’s all about choice.
 
Now that’s not to say that since Friday I’m sailing through the diet and relishing each and every single healthy meal and not craving anything bad but it does make a difference. I stayed with friends last night and they had a selection of sweets and chocolates on the table in front of me (including Milky Bar buttons which I adore) and I can honestly say last night it didn’t kill me to not have any. I went prepared and took my big water bottle which I kept topping up, my green teas and a protein snack instead. And I was positive about not having the treats and the reasons I wasn’t having them. And I woke up this morning feeling so happy that I’d resisted.
 
So I challenge everyone to challenge your attitude. Towards everything in life but particularly if you’re dieting and trying to keep fit and perhaps feel like it’s a bit of a chore sometimes and like it’s hard work. Rather than thinking you ‘have’ to go to the gym re-programme your attitude to think more about what your goals are and that actually you ‘want’ to go to the gym because you want to reach those goals. And if you have a down day or a down hour allow yourself those times but then ask yourself what are you going to do about it? And this applies to all aspects of life. So often I hear people moan about things and they seem to forget they have the power to change things and that often comes with changing your attitude towards it first.
 
My personal trainer is very much helping me through this time; not only with the practical plans and diets but also emotionally as he knows I’ve been finding it tough the last few weeks. I very much like Michael’s approach as he’s understanding about it and acknowledges how difficult it is as he’s done it himself so knows first-hand. But he’s also very firm with me which keeps me on track…and scares me a little haha. He text me on Friday and what he said stuck in my mind; ‘the harder you are on yourself now, the easier life will be on you’. I’ll leave you with that thought.

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