You're listening to the Fitness Matters podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 254, "How to Change Your Mindset".
Welcome to the Fitness Matters podcast, where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I'm Pahla B, YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon to be author, and your best middle-aged fitness friend.
Are you ready to talk about the fitness mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let's go.
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Well, hello, hello my friend. How are you today? I am so excited to be here with you, chatting about mindset, which is what we do every single week. This has become my favorite thing in the world to do, is make a list for you of ways that you can get where you want to go. I was thinking about this today. I was going to make another listical podcast. And I thought, this one is one of the most practical kinds of podcasts that I can make for you, because I love to give you actionable things to do. We are doing creatures. Well, that's not entirely true.
Let me just take a little left turn here right away. I love to think about theories. I love to plan and create projects and make lists. I don't always love to do the things on the list.
So here is my plan for you, is to create a list for you that is so simple that it feels very easy to do, because that's like the perfect blend of my two favorite things. We love to do things, but also, we can't make ourselves do something that feels too hard to get started with. So having a plan or a list that seems very actionable, that seems very doable is such a great way to get into motion.
So let me first start off by telling you why you might like to change your mindset, before we get into the how. Because I do have a how for you, it's three steps, it's incredibly simple. But let's talk about why you might want to change your mindset. And I will tell you that this one is incredibly easy to grasp.
You might want to change your mindset because you don't have your goal yet. That's how you know that you have mindset shifts to be made. Now, I know those of you who are listening to me because I'm a weight loss coach thinking about weight loss things, you might be thinking, "No, I actually just need to find the right number of calories. No, I really just need to get off my butt and exercise. No, I really need to focus on getting enough sleep or drinking enough water." I will tell you that those things that you think you need to do are being slowed down, possibly stopped, but not really stopped. If you're aiming towards them at all, this is just a simple matter of slowing as opposed to stopping. You are not stopped in your tracks. You are not stuck. You are simply slowed down right now because of your mindset.
The thing is, that it's the way that you are thinking about your calories, or about your sleep, or about your water, or about your exercise that's slowing you down. It's not the doing. My friend, we don't do anything without thinking about it first. Even something as simple as... Right now, you can't see me, I know that, but if you know me at all, you know that I am probably talking with my hands. And I tell you what, I absolutely am. I am 100%. In fact, I'm pointing my finger at you right now. Not really you, I'm pointing my finger at empty space right now, because I'm talking to myself. But I am definitely talking with my hands. And even something as simple as talking with my hands requires thought.
However, it does not require a thought that I can hear. If I'm listening for it, I could imagine what it is that my brain is thinking, which is something like, "Emphasize your thoughts, your words by moving your hands around." But even something as habitual and subconscious as talking with my hands still has a thought attached to it. It's just that it's subconscious. Meaning, underneath your consciousness. You don't hear it. It's not something that's readily available to you to hear. You can however listen for it if you want to. We don't really need to for the talking with your hands thing, but you probably have subconscious or just very low conscious thoughts about the things that you want to do.
Your brain always has a thought first, which is then followed by a feeling, because all of your thoughts create feelings. Your thoughts are just sparks of electricity in your brain. And those sparks of electricity set off a chain reaction of hormones that then create feelings, like literally feelings, things you can feel, vibrations, sensations that you can feel in your body, that drive your actions. When you have a feeling in your body, you want to do something because of that feeling. So many of our actions, talking with my hands, walking across the room, going to the store, all of those kinds of things that seem very low grade, you don't really care, but you're still getting them done, they're driven by a feeling of urgency or desire.
Now, urgency and desire, they both sound like strong feelings, but you can have a very subtle urge, you can have a very subtle desire. Like, "Oh, yeah, I wanted to go to the store." We throw that out there so casually, but, "I want," want is a feeling. It is a feeling that is driving your actions. So anytime there is an action to be done that you are not doing or that you are not doing in the way that would get you the result that you do want, that means that there is a feeling that would drive that action. And the feeling would be created from a thought. So any action you want to do or not do in order to get your goal, the way to get the action out of yourself is to have the thought that creates the feeling that drives that specific action. So the reason why you would want to change your mindset is so that you could do the things that will get you the goal that you want.
And further, I think I said this, but let me just clarify again, that if you do not currently have your goal, you are not currently thinking the thoughts that would create the feelings that would drive the actions that get you that result. So that's why you would want to change your mindset.
So let's talk about how. I have three steps for you. They are simple. Meaning, that I clarified them for you in five words or less in each sentence, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be easy for you. But let's dive in because I want them to be easy enough that they seem actionable for you right now.
Step number one is to recognize where you are right now. I love to think about this like you are going on vacation. Because for reals, who doesn't love to go on vacation? The thing about going on vacation is that you have to be able to set your GPS. When you go into your maps apps on your phone, it has to know where you are in order to give you directions to get where you're going. So you have to know where you are right now. And really what I mean by this, is just write down a list of the thoughts that you have right now about the goal that you want.
So if you want to get to a goal weight for example, and this works for any goal, by the way. I always talk about weight loss because I'm a weight loss coach, but you can really use these actionable steps for literally any goal you have. Knowing where you are right now is the first step. And the way to know where you are right now isn't by simply kind of rattling around in your brain and being like, "Yeah, my mindset sucks." No, that's not what I'm talking about. Literally list out each thought that you have about getting to your goal. Now, this could take some time, so don't feel like you have to do it all at once.
I would start with a relatively simple question. "What do I think about weighing," whatever your goal weight is. You could also do, "What do I think about weighing," whatever your current weight is. You could also do a question like, "What do I think about doing the things to lose weight?" Those kinds of questions will help you find your current mindset.
Step number two is to know where you want to go. I already kind of touched on this, but let me really clarify. Again with the GPS, in order to get directions and get where you want to go, you need to know where you are, but you also need to know where you want to go. What kind of a mindset would you like to have? What kind of thoughts are going to create feelings for you that drive actions that get you your goal?
Now, I want to be really, really, really clear about this, because saying to yourself, "I just want to have a positive mindset," you notice from my very sarcastic tone that that's not really in your best interest. That again, we want to really get this down to a granular level of not just, "I want to think positively all the time," because that won't really help for two reasons. Number one, if you think positively all the time, it won't feel positive anymore. The reason that we know something is positive is because we have negative thoughts. The contrast is how we know what something is. So thinking positively all the time would actually just feel like nothingness, so it's not really your goal. Also, trying to think positively all the time isn't as helpful as you think. I have a whole episode about this. It's called Stop Thinking Positively, and I love this episode. I refer you to it all the time in every third podcast, because I find this particular episode to be incredibly helpful. Just trying to make yourself think something positively isn't as helpful as you think.
So knowing where you want to go isn't just about trying to think positively, it's about recognizing that there are certain kinds of thoughts that actually feel really compelling. And it's not necessarily that they're positive, it's just that they feel good to you. So really taking your time here. Again, this is simple, but it's not necessarily quick. That you can break down what thoughts you think you would have that could create feelings for you that would drive actions that will get you where you want to go.
Step number three is to dismantle your current mindset one thought at a time. Now, this is the third and final step, and I do think that this one might be the one that sounds kind of discouraging. "No, I want to shift my mindset. I want to change my mindset. That's one thing." But it's actually a lot of little things.
Here's why I think that this is more encouraging than discouraging, because this is really actionable. All you have to do is look at one thought. Honestly, you don't have to shift your entire mindset. You don't have to change your entire mind. You don't have to do it all at once. All you have to do is look at one thought, decide, "Okay, this is a thought that's not getting me where I want to go. What could I think that is in this same vein, that is in this same genre of talking about my calories, or talking about my sleep, or talking about my exercise? What is a different thought that I might have that feels good, that actually could compel me to get to where I want to go?" That's all that this takes. One thought at a time.
Now, I know that when I tell you one thought at a time and you're thinking, "Oh my gosh, Pahla, I have 60,000 thoughts a day. How in the world can I change all of them? How in the world can I ever get anywhere if I'm trying to change 60,000 thoughts?" Well, first of all, of those 60,000 thoughts, lots of them are repetitive, and lots of them are subconscious, and lots of them are just driving simple actions, such as talking with your hands. You don't actually need to change 60,000 thoughts. Honestly, to see really dramatic changes in your life, you probably only need to change maybe a dozen thoughts. I would be surprised if it's even that many.
I have seen monumental change in my life from one thought. I'm hesitant to put more of a number on it than that. I think a dozen is a good number, because first of all, it sounds really actionable and doable. And second of all, you really will see major changes in your life by the time you have found and shifted 12 thoughts. I think that's actually a really good goal. I'm going to offer that to you. See if you can find and shift for yourself 12 thoughts. And notice what kind of monumental change you get in your life from those 12 thought changes, those mindset shifts.
But here's what I'm going to tell you, when you think to yourself, "Oh my gosh, this task is huge. I'm trying to empty a swimming pool with a measuring spoon," or something like that, I want you to recognize that first of all, that's not necessarily true. But second of all that, that's still a really doable task. A swimming pool, I actually have one in my backyard, so this is a really easy visual for me. You could honestly just picture a kitchen sink. That might be even easier and probably more appropriate. Picture a kitchen sink that you have filled up one side of it, if you've got a double sided sink. You've filled up one side of it with the stopper and you're trying to empty it into the other side of the sink with a measuring spoon. It seems like a gargantuan task, but because there is a finite amount of water, at some point, you'll be done. At some point, you will get down to the last tablespoon and sop it up and put it over to the other side of the sink. This is actually really doable.
I want you to think about this task as being finite. It's true that there are probably an infinite but countable number of thoughts in the world. Thinking about it like that though, there are an inordinate number of thoughts that are available to you. But so many of them aren't relevant to you, so it really is more helpful to think that there are only a small sub-section of thoughts that you are currently thinking that would then be capable of being shifted.
Because by the way, here's something really important to know, you have the ability to change your mind. Whether you've ever attempted this or not before, your brain biologically is capable of thinking new thoughts. You're capable of doing this. This is your biological destiny, to think new thoughts. So there's nothing about this that is beyond you. This is something that you can do. It's simply a matter of wanting to. You already have the tools that are built into your brain. And then, knowing how. That's why I've given you these three steps. You recognize where you are now, you know where you want to go, and then you dismantle one thought at a time.
Now, I want to tell you something really quickly. I think this is a common way that people talk about it that I would like you to recognize is probably not helpful for you. I hear pretty frequently people talking about how, "Oh, I had this negative thought and I turned it around and made it positive." First of all, I don't love that, just because, again, the whole conversation about how you don't have to think positively. But also, I want you to understand that you are not changing your thought from negative to positive. You are quite literally creating a new thought.
And here's why I think this is important. I think this all the time when people talk about, "Oh, yeah, he stopped exercising and all his muscle turned to fat." That's not how your body works. You have muscle fibers that always exist. And you have fat tissue that can either expand or contract, and you can lose some fat cells. You will always need fat cells. You will always need muscle cells. You have both. They coexist in your body. It's how much of one or the other you have. And you, through exercise and diet, are in control of how much of each of those things you have.
It's very, very similar to your mindset, to your thoughts. It's completely okay to have something that you might call a negative thought. There's nothing wrong with your thoughts. Your thoughts may or may not be helpful for getting you where you want to go, but that doesn't mean that you need to banish them or never think them again. They're floating around. They're in your brain. And really being on board with the fact that you have all kinds of thoughts in there is part of this process. There's nothing wrong with your negative thoughts.
In fact, I would argue that the great thing about having negative thoughts is that it provides you the contrast through which you can see and feel your positive thoughts. Without the negative, you wouldn't know what positive is. So allowing the negative thoughts to exist and recognizing that with less repetition, those negative thoughts will be relegated into your lower conscious or subconscious, where they're not producing as many results for you, but you can consciously call forth a positive thought that does create feelings, that does produce the action that will get you where you want to go.
Calling forth is a really nice way to think about this. You are not creating from the ether some thought that you have never had before that doesn't pertain to you or that is really hard for you to conjure up. The fact is, you already have all the positive thoughts you could ever need in your brain.
What you're doing, why I like to think about this as a shift, is you're pulling a positive or helpful thought from your subconscious up into your conscious, where it can do you the most good. And you are shifting the negative thought that you currently have that's currently working for you by creating feelings and driving actions, you are shifting that one into that lower conscious, the subconscious. You don't need it to be heard every day. You don't need it to be driving results in your day. It can simply shift over to the side to make room for this other thought that is currently available to you. It is currently already in your brain. It just wants to be shifted into your consciousness, so that it's useful for you.
And what this really means on a day-to-day level is when you hear a negative thought or an unhelpful thought, a thought that's not getting you where you want to go, it's not going to do you any good to argue with it. Probably, this is the point that's going to be most helpful to you from this entire podcast, arguing with yourself isn't going to get you where you want to go. We all do it. This is not me pointing fingers or saying, "Oh, you're doing this thing that's not helpful." We all do it. We all hear these negative thoughts and we're like, "No, I don't want to think that." But that resistance to it, that arguing with it isn't going to produce any kind of feeling that drives actions, that gets you where you want to go. You are far better served by simply allowing the negative thought to exist.
This is why we made the list of them, just so that you could see them. "Oh, okay, these are the things that I am thinking right now. These are the thoughts that are not getting me where I want to go, that need to be shifted into a lower level of conscious, so that they are not creating results for me." When you spend more of your time and attention thinking about shifting helpful thoughts out of your lower level consciousness and into your upper level consciousness, where they can create good things for you, that's time better served. That is time better spent on your mindset than arguing with the thoughts that aren't serving you.
I'm going to leave it at this, because like I said, I wanted this to be helpful and actionable, and simple enough that this is something that you can start doing today. Grab a piece of paper, my friend. This is something you can start doing right now, unless you're doing dishes, moving the water from one side of the sink to the other, or out for a walk, or doing something else where your hands aren't free. Grab a piece of paper and just write down some thoughts right now. Where are you right now? And I do really strongly suggest that you start with the one dozen. Think about the first dozen thoughts that you would like to shift, that you would like to send to that lower consciousness of unhelpful thoughts. And find the 12 thoughts that you can shift out that will get you where you want to go.
Thank you so much for listening. I'll talk to you again soon.
If you are getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters podcast and you're ready to take it to the next level, you are going to love the Get Your GOAL coaching and accountability group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast and actually apply it in real life on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It's hands on, it's fun, and it works. Find out more at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal. And let's get your goal.