By: John Spera
"The mind is the battleground. It is here that the future is told."
Goals are destined to be lost if the mindset to reach them is not built first. Our lives are a reflection of our mindset and have been built through our beliefs and perspectives of the world, to include ourselves in it. We have complete control over the mindset we choose to have on any given day—it’s up to us to create the mindset required to create the outcomes we desire.
Many jump into creating and chasing goals without creating the mindset required to reach the goals first. This is the equivalent of taking an obsolete military tactic and trying to win a modern-day war. This faulty approach stems from the “instant gratification” mind and will produce frustration and less-than-desirable results.
So, how do you create the proper mindset?
Develop the Appropriate Beliefs
The required mindset for any given goal can be created by looking at the obstacles you are facing and then developing a series of beliefs to overcome those obstacles. While athletes do not go into competition thinking they will lose, they also do not win unless they believe they’re going to win. Further, they don’t believe they’re going to win unless they believe in preparation. Lastly, they don't believe in preparation unless they have a strong belief in what preparation represents.
The mindset begins being built at the task level, and the tasks involved in reaching the goal have to have a stronger meaning than the goal itself. For example, if someone wants to lose weight, they must first have a strong belief about the importance of exercise and nutrition. Once they believe that regular exercise and quality nutrition will improve their quality of life and allow them to bring their A-GAME to all those around them, they then will filter all their decisions around exercise and nutrition through that belief. To be blunt, if a firefighter wants to perform at a high level, they have to believe their training and fitness represent life and death.
Establish Your Personal Belief System
By establishing a strong belief about what the tasks involved represent and filtering decisions through a strong belief about the tasks required to reach your goals, you will move in the direction of completing the task. This is most important when excuses develop and the lazy mind begins to emerge. Excuses and the lazy mind will have a hard time living in between the ears of the mentally prepared. Established beliefs will overcome excuses when excuses have no belief behind them.
Build your mindset first, then apply the action required to reach your goals. If you build the mind, the rest will follow.
John Spera is a career firefighter/paramedic, certified strength and conditioning coach and the founder of Fit to Fight Fire. He is responsible for the health, wellness and fitness of his department. His primary focus is increasing firefighter durability and performance through physical conditioning.