How to Change your Mindset - The Entire Process
The other week I received a question from a parent from one of our partners, Extreme Goalkeepers, asking how to rearrange your mindset to live a more active lifestyle. I personally love this question because it can be based around pretty much anything; some people need to work harder, others need to disconnect, etc. So, instead of addressing it solely off of fitness, I’m going to address it as a whole and give some simple ways to effectively change your mindset.
What has to be addressed first is that changing a mindset is very straightforward, but it takes a lot more than just “flipping a switch.” Yes, that’s part of it, but it’s not all of it. It’s not something that’s just mental, nor is it something that’s just physical; it’s both - it’s a lifestyle. You need to be able to make an entire lifestyle change in order to shift your mindset; from what you do, to how you do it. I think where a lot of people go wrong is by thinking that just by making a “mental switch” they can change everything, when in fact it requires a conscious change of actions and behaviours to solidify the change. It’s like when someone says they intend on doing something, but don’t actually do it. From my experience it’s not enough just to know what to do, but instead you have to know how to do it before actually carrying out the actions. This is where I feel a lot go wrong during the process and end up “falling off” from whatever it is they intend to change. My purpose with this article is to help you stick to the change regardless if you’re an athlete, or a business professional, trying to change their mindset.
I use a series of steps that I call WITPPA (witt-puh); know: your “why”, identify what you want/who you want to be; direct your thoughts, rearrange your purpose, understand the process, and carry out the actions. I know there are a lot of other ways out there that people suggest making a change, but I’ve found this is the simplest, and most effective, way that has been working for my clients - so I created these for them.
So without further ado, let’s address how to change your mindset.
Knowing your “Why” - Before anyone can make any change they have to understand why they’re doing it, and more importantly they need to be connected to that why for the entire process. How can anyone expect to change if they don’t know why they’re changing? It’s astonishing for me to see how many of my clients don’t understand why they’re doing something, but then say that they’re going to do their best. In order to do your best you need to know why you’re doing it, and what you’re doing it for. My simple suggestion is to write it down on a piece of paper that you can take around with you or look at daily. Or you can write it in a place where you know you’ll see it daily. For example, I know one athlete who wrote his why on a piece of paper and stuck it on his lamp beside his bed because every morning and every night he turns the lamp on. It’s simple and easy, and that’s exactly what the point of this is.
Identifying yourself - In order to change your mindset you must understand who you are. Everyone speaks of self awareness, but I feel that not enough people actually practice it with intent. Knowing who you are can make or break you in the process of changing your mindset. Some people are great at sticking to long term processes, where as others may need to step back and take a break at times. Regardless of what it is you need to understand who you are and what works for you; this will make it much easier for you to stick to the process and follow through with your actions. Think, if you work to your strengths you have a far better chance at succeeding than you do when working with your work-ons. It’s similar to performances; during game day, or presentation day at work, you only focus on your strengths, but when it comes to training day you focus on your work-ons. More importantly you have to be able to identify what this new mindset is that you want to possess. What does it consist of, what does it do, and what doesn’t it do? My suggestion is to write down what you’re good at and what needs work, and what this new mindset is; its easier in the long run when you know what works for you and what doesn’t.
Directing your thoughts - It’s amazing to me how many people don’t understand the power of directing your thoughts. I don’t think people take enough responsibility when it comes to “owning their thoughts.” Seriously, I’ve seen so many people become self-defeated because they don’t control where their thoughts go and how they initiate them. When it comes to shifting your mindset you must be able to control your thoughts. The easiest thing I can suggest is to catch yourself when you’re doing it right/wrong. Meaning; when you catch yourself thinking something that can derail you from the process you need to consciously identify it and make a point to change the thought. For example (and this is the easiest one to use because I know that we all run into it at times), it’s like when you decide to shift your lifestyle to being healthier and find yourself in a scenario where you’re about to make a poor choice in regards to food. This goes back to identifying who you are; for me I always tell myself “this isn’t what I do; this isn’t me.” It allows me to control my thoughts and more importantly relate it to something/someone that I want to be. Now I know why I’m doing it, and I’m making a fundamental change.
Rearranging your purpose - When you’re shifting your mindset you have to be able to attack every situation with a purpose. It’s not enough just to think of a what you have to do - you have to be able to know the purpose behind what you’re about to do. Will the action help you become a better person? Will what you’re about to do help you make the change that you want? So many people don’t understand the power behind attacking a situation with a purpose and really miss out on the long term results that are associated with it.
Understanding the process - This is one of the most important parts to all of this; you have to understand that when you’re making a mindset shift there will be great times, and will be bad times. However, it is important to understand that all of those experiences are a part of the process. All of those processes are a part of becoming a better version of yourself and knowing that you'll be able to make a change as a result of it. You have to experience every part of the process in order to genuinely appreciate what you’re changing into (for the better of course). My suggestion is to be conscious of when you’re going through a high and when you’re going through a low. Please understand this: when you’re going through a low the key is to not freak out. I know it’s easy for me to say, but please trust me when I say this: lows are temporary if you let them be. Meaning, if you slip in your diet you can’t freak out and completely throw everything away; instead pick up and keep moving forward. Similarly, if you don’t do so well in a presentation that you’ve been preparing for don’t lose your cool; instead recognize your mistakes and keep moving forward. And similarly during the highs don’t ever get content; always be willing to work for more.
Carrying out the actions - Finally, you must carry out the actions. Once you’ve identified everything previously mentioned you must act on it immediately. Don’t wait and stall the process - act on it. So many people get caught in the tandem of putting together the “perfect plan,” but fail to execute it. Let me disclose something: there is no such thing as the perfect plan, and you should never want there to be. A plan suggests that you depend on the right time, place, environment, and people to be present, when in reality we all know this never happens. You have to be willing to adapt during a process, it’s part of it, and you must be willing to challenge yourself. Don’t fear making mistakes - you’re holding yourself back. So many people don’t trust that they’ve put together a great action plan and sit there questioning themselves. Stop. Take action. How can you know if something works if you’re not willing to make mistakes? And I don’t mean just taking action for a week or two, I mean taking action for as long as you said for the process. If you predict 90 days, stick to 90 days. If you predict a month, stick to a month. Regardless of what it is, take action immediately. Otherwise you’ll constantly be fighting with yourself and won’t take any positive steps.
This entire process really is as simple as it seems, it’s just that so many people don’t act on it. You have to be conscious that it’s a mental and physical process to change a mindset; it’s a lifestyle. If you’re trying to change and can’t, try acting on these tips I’ve listed. So many people live in fear of change, when really it's a good thing. You have to be willing to reinvent yourself if you want to constantly take your game, or mindset, to the next level.
I wish you all the most success.