If you have ever been to a yoga studio, hung out with a hipster, or been around anyone who has ever used the word “ZEN” in a sentence, then I can almost guarantee you have heard the word “mindfulness” a time or two. But what exactly is mindfulness? Well, mindfulness in its most basic definition means, being 100% in the moment. This means, giving all your attention to the task at hand, not getting distracted by outside thoughts. A way to relate this into the fitness world would be to think of it like this; the opposite of mindfulness is, working out while simultaneously thinking about what you are going to make for dinner and how you only have 2-more days until that major work project is due and that you also forgot to pay the electric bill. In other words, you are completely distracted during your workout thus resulting is a sub-par performance.
But mindfulness is more than just focusing on the current task, it is an actual way of life. It (mindfulness) is about embracing the NOW, it is about living in the moment. Trust me, living in the moment can be harder than you think! How many people do you know that are still living in the past, (remember Al Bundy and the 4 touchdown game)? Or what about the person so concerned about the future that they forget to enjoy (or at least experience) the present moment? They focus so much on the end-result that they forget to enjoy the journey. In the fitness world I call them the “grass is always greener” people, and these people suffer from a major form of self-sabotage because they spend more time waiting, wanting and/or reminiscing about the “good ole days” then they do, “doing”.
A grass is greener person is living the exact opposite of a mindful life. Instead of focusing on their current exercise program, they are waiting and hoping for a new gym, a new trainer, a new supplement, a new diet, and/or a new exercise program to come along and be the solution to all their fitness related problems. Why? Because it is easier to wish and hope for results then it is to earn them! It’s true, success is hard and despite everything we know, many people still believe that short cuts exist. So instead of buckling down and putting in work, they spend most of their time looking for unicorns and leprechauns!
So how do you know if you are a grass is greener person? Well let’s look at some of the signs/symptoms:
- You are once again excited about another “new gym” opening up – The world of fitness is definitely growing and it seems that new fitness centers are opening up all the time especially if you live in a major city. Now if you love fitness it is definitely natural to be a little curious about the new gym (their trainers and methodologies) but your curiosity boarders on obsession. Ironically your obsession with this new gym makes little since as you have never been there or know nothing about the place other than what you read on their Facebook page. However, this doesn’t stop you from sharing all their posts and voicing your excitement on all forms of social media. Sadly just like the guy/girl that can never find true love, your relationship with this exciting new gym last no more than a few months.
- You constantly want to “mix-up” your workout – It has only been 3-months but somehow you think you have once again hit a plateau in your current workout. This lack of progress (remember it has only been 3-months) has you convinced that your muscles have adapted to your current workout rendering this particular workout useless. The solution? CrossFit, or yoga, or maybe hot yoga, or hot yoga crossfit (don’t steal my idea 😉 ) or maybe even pilates, spin, and/or Kettlebells, in fact you want to do anything as long as it is not your current workout plan.
- You have every gadget or gimmicky machine you can get your hands on – Whether it is the Shake Weight, the Thigh Master, the Ab Lounger, Fitbits, Heart Rate Monitors, Step Counters, or Bar Method you have spent more money and more time looking for the easy path instead of doing what actually works, being CONSISTENT!!!
- You still believe in fad diets – You have finally found the solution to your fitness problems, it is the cotton ball diet, or raw food diet, or the master cleanse diet, or the latest MLM diet, in fact any “diet” sounds like the solution to your problems except eating REAL WHOLE FOODS!
Now I am not saying that you should never change things up, in fact change can be a good thing but it needs to be a conscience decision. Because there is no perfect workout plan or perfect diet (except eating real whole food). Always remember that there are many ways to the top of the fitness mountain but no matter which route you take you must find some consistency. Consistency is and will always be the key to success and instead of looking for the next best thing sometimes you just need to “dance with the girl you brought”.
While I would never encourage anyone to settle, I definitely don’t want you to fall into the trap of thinking the grass is always greener, because if you know anything about fitness it is impossible to master. You can always run faster, lift more weight, improve your form, and/or increase the intensity. The journey of fitness is not about finding the next best thing it is about finding yourself, and it is impossible to find yourself if you do not push thorough adversity. While there are multiple paths to the top of the fitness mountain no one path is any easier than the other, they are all hard, so instead of worrying about the future, focus on what you are doing today to become the best version of yourself. Life is too short and if you spend all your time waiting for something better to come along you will look back over your life and see all your wasted potential! Every day you wake-up you have the opportunity to become a better person, you have the opportunity to take an active part in designing your own future instead of waiting around hoping that someone or something will come along and design your future for you. So I urge to to start living in the moment, I urge you to stop waiting and instead take an active part in your life.