How to Change Your Fitness Mindset (And How You Will Succeed Once You Do)

The power of the mind is incredible.
The power of the mind is incredible.

Ever started on the path to fitness and then gave up?

We all have.

As a Nurse Practitioner and health coach, I see it happen all the time.

Most of the time, it has everything to do with a person’s mindset.

Our limiting beliefs about ourselves are, well, limiting. Even if we decide to get fit and pursue health, we will fail if deep down we don’t really believe we could be fit or strong. Despite our determination, our negative beliefs will undermine our efforts, and we’ll sabotage our own efforts.

Good news though!   What we believe about ourselves can be changed. Our brains are capable of creating new neural pathways and changing not only our beliefs but also behavioral patterns. It just takes work.

We have it backwards. The path to fitness doesn’t start with a strategy of when and where and how to work out. It doesn’t even start with a nutrition plan. It starts with a correct mindset – one that believes we can accomplish the health and fitness we desire.

Only once we believe we are capable of change, is it sensible to work toward that goal.

How to Change Your Mindset

First, don’t expect instant results. This thing takes time. In order to develop a fitness mindset one of the first things we have to understand is that whatever physical shape we are in today, it is the result of hundreds of small habitual actions performed throughout our life.

And we have to understand that just as we don’t get out of shape and overweight overnight, we won’t get in shape overnight either. We need to truly understand that “instant gratification” is not possible.
Most importantly, we have to understand that a fitness mindset sees life as a journey rather than a destination.

That means every failure and setback is an opportunity for growth – focus on that. We are not eating salad to fill a quota. We are not even working out to build muscles. At least, those aren’t the thing to focus on. Think of them as a byproduct of your patience, consistency, and resilience. And those qualities are grown in the face of difficulty. Embrace that, and the tough days – when you’re physically spent or emotionally worn, or all your drive and desire has dissipated like a mist – those days will seem less like drudgery and more like opportunity.


Practically, changing your mindset is the training of your thoughts every day. Sometimes, especially at the beginning, it’s a minute-by-minute work.

Steps to Changing Your Mindset

  • Identify the Thought You Want to Change
    We can’t change something we don’t know about. Be honest with yourself about what you really believe. Do you really, deep down, believe you can eat clean as a lifestyle for the rest of your life?  Do you really, deep down, believe you can one day become consistent at working out? What do you believe about yourself? Do you feel that you are worth it?
  • Recognize When You’re Thinking the Thought
    This is where you spy on your own brain, catching it red handed as it lies to you. Listen closely for that negative self talk. When you’re vacuuming and your mind wanders, do you hear those negative thoughts?  For example, if you don’t believe that you can ever stop snacking on sweets in the evenings, you might catch yourself thinking, “I’m an emotional eater.” The more you think these thoughts, the more they become true. Catch them in the act.
  • Replace the Thought
    Once you catch the negative self-talk in the act, stop. Stop yourself from thinking it. Refuse to indulge that lie one more time. That’s what it is – it’s a lie. Replace it with a truth – even if it’s not necessarily true right now, make your mind identify it as a truth. It is possible, to some degree, to speak things into being. If you tell your brain something over and over, it will begin to believe you. Once you believe it, your behaviour will follow. Because we act on our beliefs. We can’t help it.  Putting pen to paper and writing these beliefs and belief replacements down has been proven to be most effective.


Positive Replacement Thoughts

There are loads of ideas of positive replacement thoughts, or mantras as some call them. Here’s a list to kick-start your brainstorming.

My most recent ones are, “I am a gladiator!” or “I am a chiseled badass granny!”  The more I say it, the more I believe it. And the more I believe it, the more I act like it. It’s the coolest thing to be able to train our brain.


What limiting thoughts are keeping you from growing in health and fitness?
What positive declaration can you replace it with? (Share in the comments so I can cheer you on!)

Join the athletic grandma community and receive a free download about how to improve your self-discipline!

The 100% rule completely changed my life (and it can change yours too!)

100% is easy, 99% is hard!
100% is easy, 99% is hard!

The 100% rule has completely changed my life!!  100% is easier than 99%.

Say what?

Yes!! When we stick to something 100% it’s far easier than if we give in to even 1%. If we decide to quit smoking and allow even a few puffs here and there, how hard would it be to stay quit? Or have you truly even “quit” if you still dabble in it?

The same goes with eating sugar or junk food! If we stay away from it 100%, it becomes solid in our mind and is actually easy! If you give in and even have one chocolate or a few chips, then how HARD does it become not to have more?

The same rule applies to exercise. If we allow our exercise to slide even 1%, how hard does it become to get back or stay on track after that?  I am currently away from home at a conference in Florida for a week with very long days and minimal sleep.  But this is no excuse not to be 100% with exercise and superfood.  No way was I going to let my health slip because of travel … I know how hard it would be to get back on track if I allowed even 1% slip!   I digitally streamed my workouts on laptop and got my early morning MMA workout in, in a very small 6×6′ space and had a delicious superfood shake afterwards.  Once you have decided to commit 100%, then no excuses will be valid, and it will be much easier!

It is true that our well-meaning 99% effort actually becomes exhausting since it consumes more energy without producing results! It is actually stressful! It makes us feel like a failure when we are not — we just haven’t fully committed to something. Putting only 99% effort into things that really matter in life means we are constantly falling short of our potential — and feeling bad about it.

It boils down to decision and commitment. If you quit smoking, then in your mind, you need to 100% not touch cigarettes…then you can identify powerfully and with certainty as a ‘non-smoker’. Because even 1% use still means you are a smoker!

Jack Canfield puts it in this way “99% is a b*tch, and 100% is a breeze”. If something is tugging at you, then you likely have been “99-per centing” too long!

Comment below about some habits that you need to change?  What have you been 99% on that feels so difficult?   Give 100% a try, you may find that it will change your life as it changed mine!


CLICK HERE to get a free download about how to get started with a clean eating lifestyle

COMPLETE THIS FORM, to join the upcoming “love-yourself” fitness challenge group for February 2017!  To get some idea what a challenge group is about first before you sign up, watch the video HERE.