Mindset Matters: You are what you Think

We cannot step into the best version of ourselves without recognizing the importance that mindset plays in our daily lives. Our mindset truly has the power to propel us to greatness or plow us into deep despair. Intentionality and optimism play a critical role in how mindset shapes our daily lives.

When we believe in our potential for growth, we are living out a growth mindset.
If we allow our failures to dictate our worth, we are stuck in a fixed mindset.

What you think day in and day out ultimately shapes your thoughts and beliefs. Let’s unpack some of the key aspects that can meaningfully improve our mindset. These inlclude our daily choices, reframing our emotions and how we view failure, grounding statements and affirmations, and self-talk.

DAILY CHOICES

Our life is comprised of a series of daily choices. What time to wake up? What to eat for breakfast? What to wear to work? What kind of physical movement we pursue? Each day presents an endless list of choices!

With each conscience decision we make, our mindset and emotions shape these choices. Sometimes unexpected challenges threaten to change the trajectory of our day. It can be easy to allow negative thoughts to seep in and tarnish our outlook. When we feel like our day started off on the wrong foot or we hit a hangup we didn’t anticipate, our mindset in these situations can significantly impact the direction our day goes.

This is where choice comes into play more than ever. We can overcome our predisposition to allow negative thougths to take hold of our day by choosing to embrace the power of positivity. It certainly isn’t easy to choose optimism in these situations, but the alternative (negative thinking) can derail our whole day if we give it the power to do so.

No day can or ever will be perfect. There will be days fraught with despair, grief, and unhappiness. But even on our darkest days, we can choose to find joy in the little blessings we focus our time and energy on instead of marinating in the negative!

A great way to nurture looking for the little blessings in our day is by keeping a gratitude journal. Every day either at the beginning or end of the day, write down 3 to 5 things you are most grateful for from the last 24 hours. This timeline is important because it keeps us focused on the here and now. This journal can be a great tool on our more challenging days because when we look back on previous entries we can see the positive things that made our day special.

Help reframe negativity with a gratitude journal.

On these more difficult days, joy may simply come from a genuine embrace from a loved one or something beautiful we encounter through nature. The important thing to remember is that our choices set the tone for how our day will unfold. The choice is always ours to make. We can choose joy and embrace a growth mindset or let our intrusive thoughts hold all the power.

REFRAME EMOTIONS & FAILURE

Sometimes our anger, annoyance, and frustration hinders our ability to be the best version of ourselves. In these more difficult moments, we have to be intentional about identifying the negative emotions and feelings that we are experiencing. We should never feel like we have to hide our feelings from others, but we need to work towards reframing these emotions. When we can process them in healthy ways, we can avoid hurting others with harsh words and negative actions.

Compassion, grace, and patience are incredibly positive alternatives to these negative emotions. When we extend compassion and grace to ourselves in the face of adversity and failure, we can start to slowly find peace through acceptance.

Journaling about these stronger feelings and identifying what is causing them is the first step towards better understanding our emotional triggers.

Mood journaling can help you start to recognize patterns of negative thinking and allow you to process emotional triggers.

Integrating grounding statements into your day is also a powerful way to shift your perspective and mindset. A grounding statement I find incredibly valuable when I know I need to reframe a negative emotion is:

“I let go of my _____________________ (negative emotion) and replace it with compassion for myself.”

Reframing our mindset takes patience and practice. We have to be intentional about the work we do to help ourselves learn from our missteps. By accepting our failures as opportunities for growth, we can reframe our negative emotions and slowly start improving our mindset.

SELF-TALK

The way you talk to yourself takes up space within you. Consider how much of a gift talking to yourself kindly and with grace will impact your overall well-being. If your self-talk is filled with negativity, however, you will never be able to reach a state of self-love and self-acceptance.The power rests in your thoughts and words. Honor your strengths, embrace who you are wholeheartedly, and focus on only allowing positive words to take up space inside your beautiful heart and head.

Integrating affirmation work into your day can help you start to build confidence. The key to affirmation work is to believe wholeheartedly in the statement. If you do not believe in what you are saying to yourself, these words will never have the power to help you reach your fullest potential.

The internet is a wealth of knowledge. Use it to find affirmations that speak to the area of your life you hope to improve most. Start with one affirmation that resonates most with you. Write this affirmation on your mirror with a dry erase marker or on a Post It! note. As you brush your teeth every morning and evening, reflect on this affirmation. Then after a few moments of reflection, say it out loud boldly and intentionally.

Continue to use this affirmation until you know in your heart you are living out these words in your daily life. Then find a new affirmation and continue this practice of positive self-talk again.

Improve self-talk by reciting a positive affirmation
you genuinely believe in!

STEP INTO YOUR GREATNESS

When we can acknowledge the power of positivity and start to recognize the value of a growth mindset, the world truly becomes our oyster.

Let this post serve as a simple reminder of your potential and capacity for greatness. You got this!

Step into your greatness by putting your best foot forward!

One Track Mind

My mother jokingly says that from the moment I could walk, I chose to run instead. In elementary school my grandfather gifted me my very own starting blocks that he purchased at the flea market. Most evenings, I laced up my shoes and sprinted around the front yard letting the imaginary gun in my head send me on my way. By middle school, I ate, slept, and breathed cross-country and track. And so began the miles upon miles of strength and speed workouts that helped me develop into a distance athlete with a one track mind.

My life on the run shaped me into the woman I am today. A life of high mileage required stamina, strength, speed, skill, and spirit. In shaking the hands of my competitors, demonstrating sportsmanship through winning and losing, and forging friendships with my teammates, I developed a level of character carved out of perseverance, faith, and heart.

This year I have the privilege of sharing these life lessons with a group of high school distance runners at my school coaching the middle and long distance athletes. I hope to impart some of the wisdom I learned along the way both on and off the track from influential coaching mentors like Sylvia Torres, Melba Barreiro, Meme Garza, and Gary Staley.

STAMINA

Effective distance running requires stamina. This can only be achieved through a well-established base of mileage that allows you to find that third and fourth wind when you need it most. Success in life also requires stamina; the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. True to the adage, “life is a marathon; not a sprint.”

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STRENGTH

It takes great physical and mental strength to be a successful distance runner. Sometimes a distance race will try to break you if you let it. There are moments in life that will try to do the same. It takes great strength to overcome adversity. The challenges we face in competition force us to push through the pain, refuse to accept failure, and chase our dreams until we cross the finish line. True to the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

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SPEED

Although speed in the 1600 meters looks a little different than the speed demonstrated in the 200 meters, don’t discount the level of effort it requires. In life and on the track, it often comes down to the last stretch of the race. Stamina and strength will only carry you so far. You have to find that last gear and sprint with every ounce of speed you can reign in to chase down your opponents.

In life, there will always be a winner, and the winner is always the person who trained the hardest and refused to settle for anything but a first place finish. In life, there will always be a loser too. The positive side of losing, however, is the takeaway. What did you learn from your failure that will make you better?

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SKILL

Success on the track and in life requires a high level of skill. Developing and honing these skills takes time, effort, dedication, sweat, and grit. You can’t be afraid to fail, to fall, to hurt, and to face disappointment.

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SPIRIT

All of the stamina, strength, speed, and skill in the world are not enough to break a world record or shatter a glass ceiling. The most important part of pursuing a dream is the human spirit. Believing in yourself and putting your whole heart into your work, truly are the foundation for achieving great success in life. Humility, grace, and faith together with spirit will light the fire in your heart that propels you forward.

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Oftentimes, the phrase, “a one track mind” carries a negative connotation. But in the pursuit of a first place win, you will need to pull from all of your resources and chase down the gold with blinders that block out anything that might stand in your way and prevent you from cinching the win.

Off the track, the same mindset dictates success. Harness your spirit, muscle up, find the speed and stamina to persevere, and hone your skills so that even in the face of adversity, your one track mind refuses to back down until you successfully summit your mountain. Carpe diem!