One Tabata, two Tabata, three Tabata, four…
Tabata defined: a high-intensity workout protocol with fitness and weight-loss benefits. A round of Tabata is eight cycles. Each cycle is 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds to rest. One entire round, including the one minute break between rounds, takes five minutes.
At my regular cardio kick class I attend, the instructor has escalated from her original introduction of the concept of Tabata about six months ago to planning full-fledged workouts for us that consist entirely of rounds of Tabata.
The workout is rigorous. If we do this for the length of an entire class, I am guaranteed to have a week where getting out of bed in the morning is accompanied by a small bit of teeth grinding and a mental reminder to breathe.
But as sore as I’ve been, it strikes me how hard I worked during that hour at the gym. I really gave it my all because I can feel a difference right away, and over time, I see results.
It’s hard work, but it’s easy to do. Easy because someone else made the plan.
It’s nice to take a break from making all the decisions, isn’t it?
In many places in our lives we fizzle out because we are doing it all. We are coming up with the ideas. We are making the plans. Implementing the action steps that it takes to accomplish some of our big goals. All in the midst of our everyday responsibilities of careers, raising kids, managing households, and trying to keep ourselves sane and happy.
It’s a big job. Throw in something extra and no wonder we fizzle out. How can we change that fizzling feeling to a fired up feeling?
How do we stick it out to start the business? Go back to school? Brave the challenge of losing a significant amount of weight?
I’m going to explore this question for the next several weeks. How can we keep making progress toward our goals and intentions when we are exhausted just thinking about them?
For this week, let’s start this conversation with a discussion on mindset.
Your mindset is literally what’s happening in your brain when you think about your plan, project, goals, or intentions.
Is the story you’re telling yourself one of excitement and possibility?
Or is it one full of doom and despair?
You can do a quick check-in on mindset in your journal. Two easy questions to get you started are:
What as my big idea/intention/goal that I wanted to accomplish?
What are the challenges that are coming up as I try to accomplish this?
Do I still believe this is possible for me?
When you’re exploring this in your journal, keep it really honest. Dump all of your fears and concerns onto the page.
Then it’s time to switch gears. Try these questions next.
Why did I want to accomplish this in the first place?
What difference would it make in my life if I made this happen?
This is where we start to shift our mindset. When something comes along that is really important to us – losing weight, starting a business, writing a book – there is a high-level of excitement and anticipation.
When we start to realize how much work goes into achieving what we want, we lose that high energy. We start to get overwhelmed. Old stories and fears pop up that hold us back from moving ahead. We look at our plans for making changes or starting something new and instead of feeling excited, we feel tired and lethargic. Just the thought of all of our responsibilities wears us out.
When we focus our energy on our mindset, we can tap into the excitement that lead us to setting up the goal in the first place. Yes, life is busy and full of responsibility. Yes, there are things that scare us and we might not want to do. Yes, it might be easier to just keep doing the same old thing.
There is a part of you that recognizes the possibility for positive change and growth. What can you do to grab that energy, that mindset, and have it be the state in which your brain functions on a more consistent basis?
You can change the stories you tell yourself from why you can’t do to why you can and must do. Write your new stories in your journal, on an index card you can keep in your pocket, or even record your own voice to listen to when you need it.
You can change the stories you tell others. Focus your language on what is going well in your life and celebrate things like getting to the gym, setting up a website, writing a page a day for that novel. Anything that indicates progress toward your end result deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated. A loud “woo-hoo,” sharing your progress on social media, or even a nice hot bath – choose something that makes you happy.
Keep inspirational materials close by. A pretty card with a favorite quote, a letter from an encouraging friend, a photo of your kids. Whatever it is, keep something nearby that reminds you that moving forward is where you want to be, and that your new story is one of positive change and possibility.
Working on your mindset takes time. Be gentle with yourself and see what fun strategies and tools you can come up with that keep you moving toward the changes you are seeking for the better. Have fun with this!