When you want to improve your appearance in a lasting and dramatic way, you will almost invariably set about doing so primarily by challenging your body with dietary restrictions or exercise. This makes sense because one can easily see and feel the difference to the greatest degree as a result of these efforts. Unfortunately for so many, they neglect the fitness of the mind. As a result, they either never reach their personal fitness and health goals or, worse yet, never even get started on the road to self-improvement. The fact is that it is the mind that governs the body, not the other way around. Master your mind, and you master your body. Control your mind and you control your body.
The mind can either work for you or against you. Is your mind filled with fear and self-doubt or do you love what you have and just want to make it better? One approach is self-defeating while the other is self-fulfilling. Some degree of fear and self-doubt is healthy and normal, but when these thoughts are not contained, failure is imminent.
The purpose of the Slimshot System approach is not just to lose fat and gain tone, but also to open your eyes to the dimension of the mind and the power it has in your life. At the same time, I will teach you some very real and valuable tools to help you have a fit mind. My approach borrows a little bit from philosophy, religion, psychology and yoga. I’ve taken some of the different basic principles and exercises from these valuable disciplines and blended them together. The result is my personal approach that has served me well over the years, as it has my many, many patients and clients.
The Slimshot System mind method will teach you to keep your mind fresh and neutral. At the very best, the method goes hand-in-hand with the diet and exercise approach. By applying this facet, you will achieve a personal happiness and satisfaction that will be reflected in the ease with which you reach your physical goals. In fact, when you really have a fit mind, not only does it support the health and fitness of your body, but you will also find your life falling into place in other ways. For example, achievements in personal relationships and lucrative business successes are commonplace at this level. It does not matter whether your goals are to lose body fat, shape or tone your body by gaining muscle in the right places, or both. Your mind must be in the right place. Try the following five tools to get the awesome and unlimited power of your mind behind your efforts:
1. Be Solution Oriented
People love to voice their problems, and more than half the time they tend to not even realize it. We complain to our husbands and wives, our girlfriends and boyfriends, our parents and neighbors. We love to moan to friends, coworkers, and just about anyone willing to listen. Heck, if you pay attention, you may even find yourself complaining to yourself! Don’t worry. It’s normal. But the point is that we generally love to point out what is wrong and how bad things are going for us. Finding fault is nothing short of a national pastime. Identifying problems in your life and things you are unsatisfied with is okay, and actually quite positive, as long as you are doing something to improve the situation. In other words, if all you are doing is complaining about your situation, things will never change for you and certainly won’t get better. Being what I call “problem oriented” and constantly complaining without doing something about it, eventually makes you into a bitter pessimist and will short circuit your pursuit of the kind of physique you want to achieve.
So, while it’s fine to complain to yourself or someone else about something you want to change, just be sure you are working to improve it. Try to catch yourself when the same complaint keeps coming up. Odds are, you are not working hard enough to change things for the better. This attitude is called being “solution oriented”.
The idea of being solution oriented is an immensely powerful tool that will assist your transformation and it is not to be underestimated. Problems will always identify themselves. By simply putting the focus of your mind’s energy on solving these problems the success of your transformation and the achievements of all your dreams will begin to rapidly unfold. If you don’t like something you’ve identified in your life make sure it isn’t long before you do something decisive about it.
Most importantly, if nothing else, keep the negative energy of whining, moaning, complaining, or whatever you want to call it to a minimum. Beware! This negative energy is some of the worst kind of bad karma and will surely corrupt your health, undermine your personal goals, and derail all your dietary efforts.
- Rather than dwelling on the problem, focus on the solution.
- Above all else, don’t be a complainer!
In keeping with the tendency of all of us to allow too much pessimism to undermine our goals, far too many people foster unrealistic expectations of themselves. As a result, they bite off more than they can chew. While setting high goals is an essential part of the Slimshot approach, expecting to achieve them overnight is simply wrong. In fact, having unrealistic expectations can be phenomenally self-defeating and thus feed a new set of problems.
Make sure you set honest and realistic goals for yourself and be sure to appreciate each and every achievement along the way. While it’s okay to have some idea of what you want to ultimately look like, be sure and not set this end result as the goal. Instead, the proper positive solution-oriented way is to set smaller goals along the way to reaching the big one. When you lose a single pound, stop and smell the roses. Take time to pat yourself on the back. Remember that pennies make dollars and dollars make you a millionaire. These are the all-important baby-steps. Every little bit counts and even the slightest improvement is a cause for celebration and self-appreciation because things always snowball after that into large improvements. Measurable improvement of any kind and of any significance tells you that you are headed in the right directions. So, smile when you see it because it isa big deal.
2. Singleness of Purpose
Success depends on you being able to focus nearly all of your efforts in every aspect of your life on your ultimate goal. We achieve this “cooperation of the mind” by applying the principle of “singleness of purpose”.
Singleness of purpose means that, though you will have specific tasks on a daily basis you must do to satisfy your short-term goals, you are doing things on a regular basis to catalyze overall movement toward your long-term goal. For example, though you may have chosen a particular exercise program and planned out your meals for the week to meet your short-term goal of losing a pound or two of fat, if your goal is ultimately to lose 30 pounds of fat you must be fashioning every aspect of your life to be consistent with this ultimate goal. So, take the stairs instead of the elevator, schedule lunch meetings instead of dinner meetings, if you walk a certain way to work past a donut cart then find a different route, avoid people that are negative and not encouraging, make social plans around activities and not just food, etc. Every action must either benefit your success or at least not negatively influence it. In this way, your mind will continually and regularly be assisting you in achieving the goal you want to reach. As a result, you will begin to see your mind as your greatest ally rather than feeling as if you are embattled with your own thoughts.
Overcoming the thought battle with singleness of purpose is perhaps exemplified to no greater degree than in the game of golf. The primary quandary golf presents to the human psyche is stillness. Golf is not a game that affords one the “luxury” of reacting to a ball coming at you, or a punch to avoid and duck under. Although competing with others, like dieting, golf is actually a solitary game because no other player can hit your ball or influence the play of your shot by changing what you have done. You have to do it yourself. Instead, each move begins with the mocking stillness of the ball just sitting there…waiting. The ball waits for you to strike it in absolute silence and stillness. In this way, the moment truly belongs to you. You control everything. Nothing happens until you make a move, and absolutely everything produced from that move is a pure and direct result of your execution, and no one else.
The same is true for the Slimshot System approach. Like the golfer, nothing starts until you want it to. Nothing happens until you make it so. The successful golfer is a master at achieving singleness of purpose, and so are the women and men that have found phenomenal success. The best golfers see only the ball and the hole they are shooting at. In the same way, the golfer is clearly focused on their goal, you should be to. You must master your own mind. Re-examine and realize why other your own efforts and other approaches you might have tried have failed you in the past. In a large part, the reason is due to a lack of cooperation from your own mind.
- Developing a singleness of purpose by re-focusing your mind on your goal each and every day through even the smallest positive stride is the key to re-programming your mind for success.
3. Dealing with Negativity and Noncompliance
When attempting to achieve our body goals in life, the greatest mind obstacle to contend with are the distractions of temptation. They are negative emotional distractions because they are truly at the root cause of why certain temptations manage to pull you way off course. We are not talking about the simple temptation to eat a box of cookies or to skip your workout and watch TV instead. Rather, we speak of the subtle forces at the root of what repeatedly leads us astray. Negative emotional distractions are what drive us off the bridge of dreams on our road to our personal goals and, instead, into a ravine of hopelessness and despair. These things include self-pity, moments of depression, times of feeling sorry for yourself, and abusive anger. They are to blame for countless uncontrollable dietary indulgences and lack of commitment to exercise. Everyone has to deal with negative emotional distractions, but some struggle with them way more than others. So, the first step is to understand specifically what they are, how they gain a foothold in your mind, and how they take over and start running your life. There is no excuse to allow these forces to mess up your life. That’s what I call self-destruction. Recognize the root cause of why you are feeling negative emotions and deal with them in earnest. Otherwise, the cost of trying to ignore or suppress these issues is a toll that will be taken out on your body, mind, and spirit.
Don’t allow the nature of the negative emotional distraction to create anger turn inward and interfere with your own pursuit of personal excellence. Remember that nobody puts hostile emotions in your mind. You create your own emotional response to every given situation. So, although you might be faced with a very real life-problem, you must be strictly focused on solving the problem and moving on, not brooding over how you were hurt by the problem (back to being solution oriented).
Just know that from time to time, it’s okay to be distracted and tempted for a good reason. Such acceptable reasons to be distracted from your dietary goals would be having a piece of cake at your daughter’s wedding. Not doing so because of some extreme commitment to your diet is silly and stupid. A good reason to be distracted from your exercise goals would be the need to miss your workout to see your sons little league game. Happy distractions like this are an okay part of life. In fact, they are good and healthy and ultimately only support your pursuit of personal excellence. They are positive emotional distractions. The reason they are positive is that they are not tagged with the negative emotional content that drives the negative side of things. As a result, you don’t have to worry nearly as much about sustained non-compliance. You should go with the flow and not worry because these moments are relatively few and far between. That’s the enjoyment of life, and you have to live!
- As soon as you feel self-pity, depression, and/or anger, don’t try and ignore or suppress it. Bring it to the surface and deal with it.
- If the forces that spur a negative emotional response stem from someone you care about, work through it with that person. If it’s not someone you care about, avoid them.
- Do your best to choose more positive and less negative responses to everyone people around you. You control and foster the extent of your euphoria and the degree to which positive forces help you reach your personal goals quickly and more easily.
4. Breathing and Mental Wellness
Perhaps one of the greatest countermeasures against the negative emotions of introduced by your mind is proper breathing technique. The best place to learn about proper healthy breathing is to exercise or perform yoga. When you begin either, you suddenly become very conscious of your breathing. The depth of your breath, the rapidity, the quality, and the mechanism all begin to speak to you. Don’t panic and don’t ignore your breathing. Bathe in the quality of air moving throughout your body and appreciate the newfound chorus that is speaking to you, for it is a key to health and wellness and in keeping with the Slimshot approach.
Do you recall ever being told to “take a few deep breaths before reacting” to something? Well perhaps this age-old advice speaks to the power of the ability of deep breathing to actually calm your mind. In the same way, breathing exercises are the focal point in yoga and are a front-line defense against negativity and distractions before they lead to temptation and self-destructive behavior.
As I’ve already pointed out, the key to success is to have the full cooperation of your mind. Don’t look back. Don’t look ahead. Stay in “the now”. The past is in your mind and memories. It does not exist since it already happened. Only the present moment and what you do now is real and matters. The future is also equally insignificant when compared with the present moment, for it also exists strictly in your thoughts. The future hasn’t happened yet and is strictly dependent on the choices and actions of the present.
Take a moment and think about how your mind spends each day. The fact is that the mind of most everyone is pre-occupied with either worrying about the future or reliving the past. Why didn’t I speak up when I thought of that? How could I have been so stupid? Why did I miss that left turn on the highway? When is my dentist appointment? When will I take lunch? Who will pick the kids up? How many sick days do I have left? What’s for dinner? How will I pay for college? All these past and future thoughts are important examples of the kind of things that occupy your brain throughout the day and without rest. Although this type of past and future thinking is essential so that you correct the mistakes of the past and plan properly for the future, they should cease at some point during the day. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. We end up coming home to more thoughts, confusion, obligations and worry. Yet, as important as these thoughts are to work productivity and planning, the shocking fact is that they are fundamentally irrelevant in terms of personal happiness and fulfillment! Remember that your mind needs a rest to help it re-focus. It needs a rest from the torments of the past and future. It needs to dwell in the present, for that is where to find true reality and happiness.
So, the importance of the focusing on the present moment cannot be underestimated. Interestingly, Buddhist teaching tells us that this type of moment focus is the “road to enlightenment”. In other words, the only thing that matters and is real is exactly what you are doing at that very moment and nothing else. The rest is all in your mind. In fact, if you really break down this teaching, you realize that the lesson is quite correct. Past-thinking, often reintroduces failures and fabricated distractions that are unrelated to your present goals. The thoughts of future often corrupt your original goals and confuse the focus of the mind.
A serious commitment in using the method should dominate your psyche. But fighting thoughts of past and future pulls you away from success. Tibetan monks have used meditation for many hundreds of years to get control of their minds and improve the quality of their lives. Ancient East Indians used yoga exercises for this purpose. Through the practice of yoga, they were able to master their minds to support incredible feats of physical power.
One of the fundamental exercises is the attempt to arrest thoughts in the present and block out all thoughts of past and future. Taken to an extreme and sustained for hours, maintenance of this state can be so challenging in its purest form that some can practice meditation and/or yoga for a lifetime and never reach this extreme stage. Of course, most of us are not trying to attempt such a lofty goal. However, honorable and rewarding the lifestyle of a monk might be for some, as regular people we just want a little help to make our lives better and more satisfying!
We want to be able to harness the skill of “present focus” long enough to control our thoughts. In this way we can be sure that our sub-conscious is cooperating with what we want to do and not undermining us at every turn. We achieve this by using simplified meditation and yoga exercises.
These are methods I use to quiet and focus the mind. They are simple to understand. In order for accessibility to those less experienced in meditation and yoga to perform both these skills, I teach a modified version. This simplified version is not excessively challenging to understand and get started doing, while still amazingly beneficial. In other words, you don’t have to be a master to do it my way and for our purposes.
There are some basic but challenging exercises that can help you find you serene breath. Try the following meditative exercises and see how you do:
Begin by locating a room away from everyone where you can be alone. Write down the exact time, dim the lights down low and find a spot on the floor against the wall. Remove your shoes and sit with your legs crossed on a thin cushion or folded blanket. Lean your back up straight against the wall and leave your hands flaccid in your lap. With your head straight, eyes closed, and your mouth slightly open, let your tongue relax. Breathe in and out in a natural and unforced way through one or both of the mouth and/or nose. When you are comfortably in position without distraction, focus on your breathing and nothing else. Take three slow and deep breathes. With each breath out, increasingly relax the muscles of the body more from head to toe, except the muscles supporting you in the seated position (otherwise you’ll fall asleep!). You are now ready to begin your mental exercise.
Breathing Buddha—As you continue your natural breathing, focus every inch of your conscious being on “the now”. In other words, do not let your mind wander. It’s tougher than you think. Recalling the ghosts and thoughts of past and future will attempt to enter your mind. Don’t let them! This is the way we tame and exercise these demons of distraction from our mind. Be warned that the tendency to let the mind wander is incredibly powerful and extremely difficult to resist at first. Your point of literal focus should be on your breathing alone and nothing more. But be honest with yourself and don’t let your mind get away with anything. As soon as some image of the past, present, or future concern interferes with your state of mind, immediately abandon this thought rumination and return to the focus of breathing. At first, most people find this exercise frustrating, while others say it’s excruciatingly difficult. In the beginning, you may only last a matter of seconds before thoughts creep into your focus and distract you. Be strict, but even so, be patient with yourself. Focus only on the gentle, spontaneous and labor-free flow of air in and out of your lungs, and nothing more. As you get used to the empty, peaceful, and timeless comfort of breathing Buddha, you will be able to gradually expand seconds to minutes, and beyond.
Getting your mind and body in tune with one another is central to good health and efficient progress toward your goals. In fact, it’s an enormous process, but it begins with simple physical stillness. In other words, our bodies are in constant motion. We rush here and there. We fidget, twitch, and change position throughout the day. Unfortunately, that process involves a constant re-focusing of the powerful energy of your mind. As a result, constant physical movement is the single most powerful disconnecting factor in separating the power of our mind from the strength of our body.
Sitting Stillness—Find a quiet room and a soft place to sit on the floor. Dim the lights and sit down. You can either sit in a simple cross-legged fashion or in the more advanced “Hatha Yoga” leg-over-leg position. Either way, avoid leaning your back against the wall and, although your eyes should be open slightly, they should be relaxed and looking down. Sit up with your back straight, breathe normally, and think about nothing else except your body. Think about your body in any way you want to. The point is to just take a relative flicker of the day to focus the attention of the mind on the body itself. Take a moment and think about every part of your body from head to toes. Begin with the head and neck. Move on to shoulders, chest, arms, waist, thighs, lower legs, feet, and toes. This simple exercise starts to get your subconscious in line with what your conscious mind wants to do with your body. It’s akin to a gentle start to the re-programming process.
Meditation exercises can be effectively used to strengthen the mind to get control of your life. Just be prepared for more of a challenge. In the same way as you prepared for the Breathing Buddha meditation exercise, properly situate yourself in the same way for this exercise.
Buddha’s lake—As with the exercise of breathing Buddha, the exercise of Buddha’s lake also focuses on maintaining conscious in “the now”. Again, the objective is to not let your mind wander, except this discipline is even more challenging. As a result, it will serve to strengthen your mind and help your subconscious to get under your control. The focus of concentration is the image of the surface of a peaceful lake. We all have a similar image of what a lake looks like in our minds, but, not surprisingly, there is a twist. Equally and seemingly unavoidably etched in our mind’s eye as part of the image are the ripples on the water. They are an integral part of this imprinted imagery. In reality, we’ve simply never seen a large body of water without ripples. Creating such a vision in our mind is not an easy task. This exercise thus presents quite a challenge of our ability to concentrate and focus. Herein lies the challenge—to hold a picture of this lake in your mind with an absolutely still surface, without a single ripple. It is true mental work to vanquish the ripples from the water surface. They tend to keep popping up! Again, be warned of the powerful tendency to let the mind wander. A hint is to not try and tackle the entire lake at first. Instead, work on the stillness of a puddle or small portion of your imaginary lake and then expand upon it to encompass the entire lake. Reaching even fleeting moments of absolute glass-like stillness on the lake surface is quite an accomplishment, and a testament to a quiet and controlled mind. Work on gradually expanding the time of this image from seconds to minutes, and beyond. If you can, expand your lake to an ocean and witness the quiet of your soul! Tap into this stillness and you bring the same calm power and control into your own life!
The most powerful passive Slimshot System metabolic activator is proper rest. Without it, your metabolism slows to a crawl because stress hormones run rampant. Sleep is critical to successful toning and shaping. It is during sleep that cortisol levels balance and surges of lean mass-producing growth hormone occur. Sleep is the time our bodies focus on healing the internal environment, rejuvenating us, and making us whole again. Lousy sleep patterns not only leave you a physical, mental, and emotional wreck, but they undermine and corrupt your ability to foster a healthy metabolism that supports the retention of lean tissue. If you don’t get enough sleep, catabolic processes take over. Muscle tone and shape is lost. The body softens and atrophies. Of great importance to the male, testosterone levels drop from repeated bouts of insufficient sleep.
Of course, sleep requirements differ from person to person. But it suffice to say that anyone on the Slimshot System program looking to activate their metabolism by fostering a strong environment needs to first satisfy their minimal need for adequate sleep. In addition, this fifth finger not only functions as a metabolic activator independently, but in conjunction with the other fingers, sleep is especially critical. In particular, the rigors of exercising and dieting for fat burning and tone and shape requires deep healing and rebuilding sleep to produce muscle tone and shape. Make time to get proper rest for strengthening your body, mind, and soul.