You’re closer to taking back control of your health and fitness than you think, and all it takes is one simple mindset adjustment to set you on the path success, says New Body Plan creator Jon Lipsey
A few years ago when I was editor of Men’s Fitness magazine I was interviewing Andy McNab (the SAS soldier turned bestselling author) and he was talking about a time during his military career when he was captured and tortured.
He described the episode with the nonchalance of someone telling you about how they’d got cornered at a party by the boring guy who always hangs around the kitchen.
I asked him how he got through the ordeal and his answer couldn’t have been simpler.
“Well, there was nothing I could do about it so I didn’t worry about it.”
When I asked him to elaborate he talked about the idea of only focusing on the things in life that you can control.
Funnily enough it was a concept that, over the next few years, came up time after time in interviews with elite sportsmen.
Whenever I asked them how they dealt with pressure, or what they did to maximise performance, they’d always come back to this same, simple idea: if you can’t control it, don’t worry about it. And if you can control it, then it presents an opportunity for success.
It’s something I’ve put into practise in my own life and it is one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.
Sure it takes practise, and if I ever found myself in the kind of circumstances that McNab described then I’m sure I’d crumble. But my battle isn’t a military one. It’s an everyday one and my enemy is the stuff in my life that conspires to make staying fit and healthy a bit more challenging.
I can’t influence the global events that are unfolding/unravelling around me, but I can choose what goes in my shopping trolley. I can identify three hour-long slots in my diary each week and schedule in training sessions. I can choose to put my phone away rather than sitting in bed, scrolling through social media and winding myself up.
There will always be things that are beyond your control. But they are not your concern. Worrying about them is a waste of mental and emotional energy. Your job, if you’re interested in getting fitter and healthier, is to identify the key things that are within your control and execute them step by step.
So, for example, you’re in control of whether or not you start a plan. You’re in control of doing that first session. You’re in control of what you eat before and after that session.
You’re in control of more than you think. And when you add in the mental energy you’ve saved by no longer worrying about the things you can’t control, you’ll be a pretty formidable force.
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