“I choose fitness as a lifestyle”… I remember mumbling this to myself between fast breaths of panic. I was just informed that a little fall I took had in fact caused a stress fracture on my femur. Initially I was stunned, terrified, and negative, but I remembered my mantra I created when I first started making a real comeback into running. It calmed me down and reminded me that this is my life and I have control. Mental and verbal mantras are such a powerful thing; they imprint on your subconscious and impact your performance in everyday life. Professional athletes have similar types of training with sport psychiatrists that unlock mental blocks or fears that may be holding them back, preventing them from achieving their peak performance. I remember reading an article about Lauren Freshman after the Olympic Trials last year; she had just made it into the finals in the 5k by running 15 minutes a day for two months. She was asked how did she do it? She said she visualizes a lion when things get tough and she taps into the power and calm a lion has.
On an airplane on my way to Boston this year, I sat next to man named Dave, Western Washington Chapter PGA Teacher of the Year, and his specialty is training the subconscious. He helps unlock that block in athlete’s minds that they didn’t know they had. Think about the kid who never hit a home run and then all of a sudden hits three in one game. People like to say, “ it just clicked”, while in reality the belief was finally there. The skill was always in place, but the belief wasn’t. Dave told me he is often asked to help athletes that may have a mental block or fear. Dave explained how he performs strength tests with athletes while asking questions. When an athlete has doubt in the subconscious, they physically are not at their strongest. The good news is that the benefit of training the subconscious for us mortals is the same as those who are going for an Olympic record or joining a pro sports team. If you want to lose weight and eat healthier, make trips to the park more. You will not do it if you are mentally sabotaging your success. So, train your brain to see the success already happening. Write down your goals daily, weekly, monthly, and change your self-talk into an empowering mantra. Investigate your emotions daily by asking yourself why is this making me happy, sad, mad etc. Lastly, consider reading books or listening to positive speakers before you go to bed, so the wheels in your head turn all night in a positive light instead of the stressors that most of us think of before we sleep.
In my case, I found out I will be riding a bike for about three months and I said, “Great! I want to sign up for a 100 mile bike ride.” In spite of my personal challenges, I made health a lifestyle. It’s easy for me to forget this at times when things get rough. So I remind myself with my mantra. I say it, I remember it, and I feel empowered. Fortunately, we all have the ability to make life a more health conscious journey. Just remember, you can’t get there with a negative state of mind.