Talent, skill, natural ability, intelligence, opportunities, luck – these are all great attributes to have in our life. But there’s nothing quite so important and influential to our level of success in life than a positive, optimistic attitude.
Whether our attitude is positive or negative however, we’re not born with it. It’s something that’s gradually shaped over time, largely through our life experiences and through the influence of the people around us.
The good news for those whose attitude perhaps isn’t the very best is that it can actually be changed. While most of us go through life letting our attitude just develop of its own accord, usually based on how difficult or how easy our life is, it is possible to make conscious changes to the way we think that lead to a much more positive and beneficial attitude. And the better our attitude, the happier and more successful we will most likely be in life.
Here are 9 simple but effective ways in which your fitness lifestyle will allow you to mold yourself a positive and successful mental attitude:
1. Burning off stress and negativity
Let’s face it, it’s not that easy to be positive or optimistic about anything while you’re stressed and angry. And with the constant pressures of today’s modern lifestyle, stress is an ever-present factor that many of us simply have to learn to live with.
Your thoughts at any given time largely reflect your mood. When you feel happy and upbeat, your thoughts are bright and optimistic. When you feel stressed and angry on the other hand, your thoughts tend to be dark, pessimistic, cynical, selfish, and so on. And of course the way you most often think is what most influences the direction in which your attitude develops.
While it’s not always easy to avoid getting stressed, frustrated and angry in the first place, it isn’t all that difficult to burn off that negative energy either. And there are few things quite as effective as sweating it all out in a nice, hard workout session in the gym.
After you’ve left it all in the gym you’ll walk out feeling refreshed, invigorated and like the sun is shining once again. Like the feeling after a storm. Take a few moments after each workout to take a few deep, refreshing breaths and to think about how good you feel and how good it is to be alive.
2. Giving you self-pride through daily achievements
There are many things we can do to improve ourselves as people but very few people take the time to do any of them on a regular basis because their everyday life occupies all of their attention. So they miss out, and end up neglecting their own growth.
When you follow a fitness lifestyle, you achieve something positive for yourself each and every day. It doesn’t need to be a PR in the gym or some weight lost or muscle gained, however. Simply sticking to a workout and healthy eating plan is achievement enough. It’s something you’ve done to better yourself. And of course from time to time you actually do reach milestones as well.
Making these regular achievements strengthens your sense of self-pride. You’re on a journey of self-improvement and growth and that helps to foster an attitude of confidence and self-worth.
Remind yourself regularly of the value of taking the time each day to make yourself a better person. This will help to maintain a positive and confident attitude in your life.
3. Teaching patience and a strong work ethic
Getting into shape takes two things in large amounts, patience and hard work. It’s one of those rare areas of life in which you can’t fake it or cheat. There are never any shortcuts or magic solutions. No one can do the work for you, you’re totally on your own on that one, and what you get out of it depends totally on what you put in.
Fitness, therefore, is a great teacher of life lessons. While so many people nowadays are searching for quick and easy results, get rich quick schemes, and putting the very minimum into whatever they do, fitness teaches us that success is earned, not inherited. No one deserves anything, unless they work for it.
Another important lesson is that sometimes you have to work harder than other people to achieve the same results. It might seem unfair, but life isn’t always fair. That’s just how it is.
Being ingrained with these valuable lessons helps you develop a realistic attitude towards achieving success in your life in general. Rather than feeling entitled to be successful and waiting for it to come your way, you’ll be more optimistic about your own ability to create your own success.
Embrace the hard work that you put into your fitness, even if sometimes you’re not seeing the results you’re hoping for. The development of your positive attitude and character are even more important and more beneficial to you in your life than the physical development.
4. Giving you more energy
It’s no secret that being fit means having more energy. And that means being able to attack each day with far more vigor and enthusiasm. How you feel physically directly affects your thoughts and your attitude.
When you feel constantly tired and lethargic, it isn’t possible to be too excited about anything. Everything is a burden and too much effort to worry about. Life in general is a struggle. When you feel energetic and vibrant on the other hand, your attitude shifts to one of positivity, enthusiasm and optimism. Your mind doesn’t defeat you before you even make an effort to achieve something.
Apart from physically having more energy, being accustomed to working out regularly also instills a mindset within you that you’re capable of overcoming hardship. In other words, it strengthens you mentally. This helps to build your self-confidence and level of self-belief in your ability to cope with life’s challenges in general.
Working out can also be stressful on the body however, so be sure to take good care of it by fueling it only with good, nutritious foods, and also by getting plenty of rest. These factors are very important complements to your training for ensuring good overall health and longevity and to maintaining a high level of energy day to day.
5. Teaching you humility
Humility is a very important quality for a person to have, for two main reasons. Firstly, a humble person will always find it easier to connect and form relationships with quality people who have integrity and will make a positive contribution in their life. And secondly, a humble person will always be open to learning new things since they’re more aware of their limitations and need to grow.
Fitness is a great teacher of humility since, for most people, it is one of the most difficult challenges they’ll ever encounter. Making progress with your physique and fitness is always slow and arduous. Look around at others who are also working hard on their fitness and making progress – it makes you realize that there are many very motivated and driven people out there who can rival you in terms of your commitment and perseverance.
Always remember how far you have come in your journey however. Never forget where you came from, and accept the fact that there will always be someone who has progressed more than you. Don’t be discouraged by these people, but instead let them motivate you to push harder. Allow your humility to put aside any competitive feelings and keep moving forward.
6. Giving you self-confidence through purpose
For most people, their identity in life is pretty much summed up by their family status and what they do for a living. For example, Susan – married, mother of two children, and a nurse. These things describe what their life is about, or what they’re primarily devoting their life to.
Being involved in fitness adds to your identity and gives you yet another purpose, which sets you apart from the crowd. Having an important purpose or passion in your life and working towards it constantly gives you a real sense of achievement and self-pride, and that in turn builds your self-confidence.
Even if your physique isn’t quite where you want it to be just yet (it rarely is!) the discipline and dedication that you apply in striving for it is a large part of what builds a greater sense of belief in yourself and an attitude that you’re capable of sticking it out in overcoming challenges.
Take some time every day to commend yourself on the effort you’re making – don’t take it for granted or allow it to go unnoticed. Appreciate the fact that by sticking to your fitness program you’re able to do what many people aren’t. It’s positive proof that you’re an extraordinarily strong and capable woman.
7. Putting you at cause, not at effect
The majority of people live their life “at effect”. This means that who they are and what they have is largely due to the effects of what happens to them throughout their lifetime. In other words, they simply “go with the flow” and life happens to them, without them having much say in it.
Living at effect is comfortable because it alleviates you from taking any responsibility for your situations in life, but the problem is you also give away your power to change. For example, we’ve all come across people who are unfit and overweight, and blame everything from genes, to their parents, to the government, to not having enough time, for being out of shape. Everything and everyone but themselves.
Working on our own physical fitness however, is something that puts you “at cause” with regards to your health and your physique. That means that you make yourself the direct cause of it. You’re the one in charge of creating the results. It comes with responsibility, but also the power to change yourself.
Living at cause is a very empowering thing because it instills within you a “can do” attitude. It makes you realize that you’re not just a victim of your circumstances, but rather, the one who decides what path your life is going to take and who you become.
Remind yourself each and every day that you’re in charge of your life and your success. Luck and circumstances don’t come into it. Your dedication to being fit and healthy is an ongoing example of your power to carve out your own future. This attitude fosters greater self-belief, which already takes you half way to achieving success in many areas of your life.
8. Connecting you to infectious attitudes
One of the great things about the fitness world is that you get the opportunity to meet a lot of like-minded people who are also passionate about fitness. And people who are passionate about fitness are very often very motivated and energetic individuals.
The good news for you is that positive attitudes, like negative ones, are infectious, so simply being exposed to them and interacting with them tends to influence your own attitude to be the same.
There’s a very well-known observation that the five closest people to you are a reflection of the person that you are. That’s because not only do like-minded people tend to flock together, but they influence one another’s thinking and attitudes and so they grow more similar. They begin to both think and behave the same as each other.
But like any area of life however, there are negative people as well as positive people. Make an effort to seek out and connect with the most positive, enthusiastic people at your gym or health club, their energy and positive attitude will gradually rub off onto you and help yours become the same.
9. Teaching you to accept that you can’t control everything
While part of having a positive attitude is the confidence of knowing that you have the power to shape your own life, fitness teaches you that you can’t control absolutely everything.
Sometimes the most careful and diligent people can have accidents and injuries, and worse still, sometimes the most fit and healthy people can contract serious illnesses. Another thing you learn is that sometimes you can be doing everything right and working as hard as you can but still not get the same results as someone else.
This is an important lesson, because as I mentioned earlier, life isn’t always fair. Someone who doesn’t accept that inevitably develops an attitude where they sulk and complain when things don’t go their way. That achieves absolutely nothing and only puts you more and more at effect.
Embrace the fact that all you can do is your best, and allow life to take care of everything else. Everything happens for a reason as they say, and as long as you’ve done the best you can, you should have no regrets or complaints.
This acceptance will help you maintain an optimistic attitude that keeps you positive and open to new possibilities in your life rather than casting yourself as the victim when things don’t go your way.
When people think about fitness, the first thoughts that generally comes to mind for many is looking good, feeling great and being healthy. These of course are all very important, but as you can see from these nine points, the changes inside you as a person can be just as significant as the physical changes.
In other words, fitness is character building. It has the ability to make you a better person and to teach you the right attitude to find more success in all areas of your life.
Everyone’s fitness journey is unique and very personal, and each individual gets something different out of theirs. I’d love to hear what life lessons fitness has taught you, and how it has changed you as a person. Please leave your experiences in the comments below!