Channel Mental Strength

Aim as far as the eye can see. When you get there, you’ll see farther.
— source unknown

When you’re thinking about your goals, how do you frame your mindset? Do you feel like the world is your oyster, that you can reach for anything under the sun? Do you feel like with the right training, mentors, and willpower you can accomplish anything? Or do you sometimes question yourself – I’m not smart enough, strong enough, athletic enough – to reach for your dreams?

Spring in the Methow Valley, 2018

Over the winter, I took an interest in reading about grit and the power of mindset. I was especially fascinated with how we can channel our mental strength to get us through a challenging time or keep us motivated when we are faced with new challenges. Someone who has dedicated her life research to this concept is a woman named Dr. Carol Dweck, who outlines her work in the book “Mindset.” In this book, Dr. Dweck outlines how you have the power to cultivate the traits and qualities that you want, regardless of where your starting point is. The catch? It’s in your mindset. Some people have a “fixed” mindset –this person’s mantra may be “it is what it is.” They might not reach for their goals because they imagine a ceiling or plateau exists, and they won’t push farther. But some people have a “growth” mindset – they believe that if they work hard, stay focused, reflect on past successes and failures – they can achieve anything.

I observe this all the time in my job as a physical therapist. Someone might say “my family has a history of bad knees, so I don’t know how much better I’ll get.” It is a challenge to convince people that they have control over their own bodies despite what family history has demonstrated. The people who are most successful at overcoming their “hereditary” hurdle and recovering from their injury are the ones who can transform their view of their injury from a predisposition to one that they have control over. These are the people who embrace that which they can control and channel that to move forward.

Spring in the Methow Valley, 2018

So how do you move forward and create positive change in your life?

Start by visualizing your success. Moving in a positive direction starts with you. By identifying your goal you can start to visualize yourself there. Research strongly reports this idea of visualizing helping you be successful in reaching your goals. When I work with my clients, I always ask them “what is your goal?” I am always amazed at how many people don’t know how to answer the question. I encourage them to reflect on WHY they are sitting in front of a physical therapist in the first place, and what it is that they want to accomplish by working with me. The people who can identify their goal are ultimately more successful than people who feel so trapped by their pain that they can’t think of the possibilities beyond. Even when the cards are stacked against you, if you can keep your eye on a prize it will give you purpose going forward.

Whether your goal is to overcome an injury, push your body to a new challenging pose, or running your best time in a race, don’t forget to set your goals and intentions. Visualize your endpoint and imagine yourself getting there successfully. Get moving and see what is possible!