Quite often when we exercise our mind becomes filled with thoughts of the body sensation we are experiencing. The burning muscles, the racing heart, the rapid breathing.
It’s been repeatedly shown though that this internal focus, what is called associative attentional strategies in scientific literature, can be detrimental to your motivation. It has its uses in a sports setting, but for the average Joe like you or I, it makes our brain scream one thing. “This is uncomfortable. Stop!!”.
You can train yourself to stop hearing this plea though. By using the opposite tactic. The disassociative attentional strategies.
This is when you take your thoughts away from yourself, away from the body sensations you’re experiencing. And by distracting yourself in this way you can push yourself a bit harder, squeezing out those extra reps or steps that are going to supercharge your progress.
Its worth noting that it does take a bit of practice. But if you keep pulling your thoughts away from your body then you will become a mental distraction master! They will inevitably still pop up. But by letting them drift through, and pushing them out with an external focus, you will become the master of your destiny. Claiming that control from your negative thoughts!
There’s a few strategies that you can use. Internally you can think about what you need to do later, or make plans for the weekend or think of your favorite film or song. One of my personal favorites is to imagine that it matters. That I am on a battlefield, or more then likely that I am running away from or fighting a werewolf (I’m scared of werewolves. Yes I know its dumb, but thats what American Werewolf in Paris at 5 years old does for you I guess haha).
Another option is to use some kind of external distraction. These could be anything from a friend talking to you, watching TV, listening to music or having that hot girl/guy from the gym checking you out 😉
My choice of external distraction is to listen to audio books. Audible gets heavy use on my phone! And this ties nicely into my internal distraction tactic. As i often listen to fantasy novels. So lots of enemy hordes and monsters for me to visualize I’m up against =]
But what works for me will be completely different from what works for you. So try several tactics, and practice, practice, practice. The more you do, the better you will get, and the more you will get out of your training plans!
Good luck! =]
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