Whether it’s setting a goal or overcoming a challenge, mind over matter is a powerful tool. It often comes down to a mindset shift in the everyday words we say to ourselves, like “can” versus “can’t.”
Sometimes we may not even realize we need a mindset shift — and it’s a little deeper than just seeing your smoothie glass as half-full or half-empty (although that’s a good place to start).
When you feel blocked or discouraged, a mindset shift can quickly help you get back on track and thinking positively in stressful times.
Here’s a quick list of ways to fast-track a mindset shift when you start to feel down on yourself, your progress, and your setbacks.
1. Think “Choose” Not “Should”
“Shifting from using words like ‘should’ to ‘choose’ establishes that you have agency in how you live your life,” explains therapist Amanda Stemen, MS, LCSW, who uses movement and the outdoors to help people with mindset shifts. “It leads to feeling more empowered, which increases your likelihood of success.”
When you approach a workout as an obligation to meet someone else’s ideals or idea of having fun, rather than your own personal decision to get strong, you’re less likely to keep showing up.
2. See Hurdles as Opportunities
If you feel angry and defeated after a tough day, know there’s a way to flip the script.
See those hurdles as chances to learn, get stronger, or even just master meditating instead of reacting.
“You can choose to stand in your power and see things happening to teach you a lesson or give you an opportunity to grow,” says yoga instructor and life coach Nathania Stambouli, MA, E-RYT 500.
She stresses how important mindset shifts are — after all, it’s pretty normal to look at crow pose in your first yoga class and think, “I can’t do that ever.”
3. Stay in the Moment
Instead of thinking about future outcomes or what you expect down the line, stay present and focused on what you’re doing right now.
That means being proud you are lifting a weight instead of thinking it’s not good enough or that it’s too light.
“This mindset shift allows you to take the pressure off and boosts your confidence,” says Brandon Nicholas, a NASM-certified personal trainer. “You will be more motivated when you see it positively now.”
4. Bury the Negativity
“Anytime you experience a negative thought toward yourself, replace it with three positive thoughts,” says Liv Bowser, a certified meditation and mindfulness teacher who runs a mental fitness studio.
“This positivity ratio helps to balance out negative emotions. Your mindset will become more loving toward yourself with this practice.”
While scientists haven’t yet pinpointed an exact positivity-to-negativity ratio, anecdotally, we all know that being kind to yourself works.
5. Remember You’re Not Alone
“Sometimes shifting your mindset is done more efficiently with another mind,” recommends Morgan Rees, an ACE-certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and health coach.
“Working out with a friend or making a commitment to one another to keep each other accountable.”
Talking to someone else can both help motivate you and make you realize that you’re not the only one who struggles doing 20 burpees.
6. Think “Get to” Not “Have to”
“My favorite mantra is ‘I’m coming from a place of love and abundance rather than fear and lack,’” says Elizabeth Gunner, RDN.
“Applying this mantra to eating healthy, it’s saying to yourself, ‘I’m choosing to eat this salad because I love myself and I want myself to feel nourished, vibrant, and energetic,’ rather than ‘I have to eat this salad because I hate the way my body looks and feels,’” she explains.
The activity is the exact same, eating a salad, but the mindset behind why you’re doing it is completely different.
“This mindset shift helps people stick to their healthy habits because their why is energetically loving and positive rather than restrictive and fear-based,” she says.