Motivation Part II: What’s Your Strongest Body Part? (Hint: It’s one you can’t see)

“What’s your strongest body part?”  This is a question frequently asked in bodybuilding communities, as many individuals are often very interested in what their most prominent, eye-popping muscle group is.  However, what most people who ponder this question often fail to realize is that the strongest body part of any successful bodybuilder/physique competitor/athlete or person who has attained greatness in any field is their mind.  Without having your mind in the right place, you’re bound for disappointment.  In order to maximize your efforts on any given task, it’s imperative that your mind is 100% focused on the task at hand.  So, if you’re doing any type of physical training, be sure to leave any thoughts on the outside world at the door of your gym.

Now, while in theory this sounds very easy to execute, the reality is that focusing your mind on a single goal can prove to be quite cumbersome.  However, fear not!  There are a number of tactics that I’ve found to work wonderfully in helping me keep my mind focused on tasks I’ve wanted to accomplish.  The first of these is writing down your goals, and looking at them on a daily basis.  Although this practice may seem elementary to some of you, it works wonderfully because (a) writing down your goals forces you to internalize your goals a second time by reading what you’re writing and (b) looking at these goals everyday will prompt your mind to think about attaining the said goals.  Thinking about your goals is essential to attaining them because thoughts provoke action.  The more you think about doing something, the more likely you are to do it – it’s as simple as that.

As well, in writing down your goals, it’s also very important that you make sure to have both short-term goals in addition to your long-term goals because ultimately, reaching your long-term goals is the end result of successfully achieving short-term goals that help you move forward in accomplishing that large end goal.  Writing down daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and multiple year goals will allow you to move forward more efficiently as well as not get caught up in the grandeur of chasing your lofty goal.  For example, a 400-pound individual looking to lose 250 pounds might feel overwhelmed by their goal because losing 250 pounds is quite a bit of weight!  However, if the individual makes a weekly goal of losing 2 pounds each week, a monthly goal of losing 9-11 pounds each month, a yearly goal of losing 125 pounds each year, and a two year goal of losing 250 pounds, then the seemingly impossible goal of weighing in at 150 pounds becomes much easier to believe.  In having large long-term goals, it’s essential to have a number of short-term goals because they better demonstrate to you how you can go about achieving your long term goal as well as give you constant shorter goals to focus on, which end up increasing your motivation because of the shorter period between reaching milestones by accomplishing these shorter goals.

Another great strategy that works well for me is putting up posters and/or pictures in my dorm room that also make me think about goals that I have.  In fact, the largest poster in my room is a 56-page rasterbator poster of the “Conquer” banner image that’s on the top of this site (for those of you interested in using this program, see http://arje.net/rasterbator – special thanks to Chang Bao for showing me this).  Every time I walk into my room, I’m reminded to go about my day in a fashion that will allow me to reach new heights by achieving goals I’ve set for myself.  I have also done the same with both my laptop and cell phone wallpaper images, putting in things that make me think about what I’m doing when I view them.  My current desktop wallpaper is a clock counting down the days, minutes, and seconds until my physique competition in Las Vegas, and my cell phone wallpaper is a picture of my most recent progress pic.  (A slight tangent – if you’re looking to make improvements physique wise, I highly recommend taking progress pictures at least once per week – they have helped me out immensely while preparing for my contest).  I’ve chosen to do this for the past fourteen weeks because both of these images serve as reminders to me that I need to continue making improvements and progressing forward for my upcoming competition.  If what I’m doing isn’t in line with the goals I’ve set, these images serve as useful tools to get me right back on track to having purposeful actions.

An additional tactic to strengthening your mind is reading biographies and/or autobiographies of successful people who inspire you.  Reading about the lives of inspirational individuals implants positive thinking into your mind, which in turn often causes you to desire achieving more.  Monkey see, monkey do is a phrase for a reason: humans have a strong tendency to mirror one another.  Reading about inspirational individuals and finding inspiration from your friends and family will definitely translate into an increased drive in you.  Thus, putting daily reminders in your life that help to strengthen your mind and remind you of your goals will be sure to help you achieve them at record rates.  Once you cultivate the strength of your mind and make it your strongest body part, you’ll be bound for an unprecedented level of success.

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