Here are a few key points that will help you succeed in the gym, which can lead to success outside the gym as well:
1) Nothing builds confidence like success, and the harder you try, the more you will succeed. Most people don’t fail because their goal was unattainable; they fail because they didn’t really believe they could reach their goal, so they only put out a 75 percent effort.
2) You need to believe that what you do influences what you will gain, and if you’re having trouble with that idea, scale down your goals or temporarily focus on a different goal. For example, if you’re having trouble cracking the top 10, plan to break into the top five before thinking about taking home first place. Or, if your squat isn’t moving up no matter how hard you try, switch to closely related exercises, such as front squats, to win back your confidence by carving out a history of progress and success for yourself.
3) If you’re really stuck in the rut of believing that you don’t control your destiny, just tell yourself that you’re going to pretend what you do matters. For a few weeks pretend that if you try hard’going for that last rep and then doing yet another, sticking with your diet and so on’you’ll get results. Remember, you’re only pretending, so there’s no danger of embarrassing yourself by trying hard for nothing. What you will get is real results and a new belief that what you do matters a whole lot.
4) Get a training partner who will keep encouraging and’if necessary’goading you into making continual progress through relentless effort. It’s no accident that many of the bodybuilders and lifters who make the fastest progress train with people who scream encouragement like there’s no tomorrow. Did you think cheerleaders were just for the fans?
Talent is great, but it’s also overrated. Determination, which comes from a belief in your own ability to succeed, is what usually sorts the winners from the losers. Determine that you are going to succeed, and start running your life the way you’d like. Accept some personal responsibility. It’s time to take charge.
—Randall J. Strossen, IronMind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies
Editor’s note: For an elaboration on the above, plus many more mental strategies to help you attain more size and strength, see IronMind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies, available from Home Gym Warehouse, 1-800-447-0008, or visit www.home-gym.com.