How to be happy this summer and achieve your goals

In the beginning of July, we celebrated our country’s independence. Usually a fun time, one spent outdoors with friends and family, playing games and enjoying good food. But now that the celebration is over, here’s something else to think about... Instead of just celebrating America’s independence, why not create and celebrate your own, personal “declaration of independence?”

What does this mean? Make an effort to free yourself from what motivational speaker Zig Ziglar called “stinkin’ thinkin’.” Free your mind from limitations… from fear… from beliefs that no longer serve you… and from past hurts and traumas that may still be negatively affecting your life (and body) today.

Far too often, people never reach their fitness goals, nor full potential in life. They fail to realize their dreams and the goals that once excited them, especially developing their ideal bodies. This time of year with all the outdoor activities (and often less clothing), people generally want to be healthier and leaner. However, many fail to make it a reality. They start an exercise program with great intentions and excitement, then, according to George State University Kinesiology Research, over half of them fail.

There are many reasons for this. And a big place to start overcoming this statistic is changing “stinkin’ thinkin’.” Many people have become imprisoned by their mind, by negative self-image and demeaning self-talk. Distractions, negativity, and fear often get in the way of taking action and accomplishing fitness goals. We hear words of encouragement all the time, “turn that frown upside down,” “just walk on the sunny side of life,” etc. But yet words of encouragement are just that: only words. They’re not actions. In order to make positive changes, action is required. Not just hopeful thinking...

Don’t let that be you. Live your life to its fullest, by setting your mind free and taking action towards success. First, you must understand that your nervous system is a target seeking mechanism. It is designed to accomplish whatever goal/task you set (basically what you think about all the time). As Dr. Maxwell Maltz puts it, you have a “built-in success mechanism” designed to continually accomplish goals, and the key to success is that the goals stay consistent in your mind and positive. The “success mechanism” in your brain doesn’t distinguish between good and bad, it simply works to accomplish whatever “target” is being thought of the most. If a person continually lets negativity, fear and ambiguity into their head, then the success mechanism has no positive target to accomplish and that person fails to realize the body/fitness goal of their dreams.

To start directing your success mechanism toward your dream body simply program it on a daily basis. Start listening to motivational CD’s or reading empowering books, a little every day. You don’t need to read 20 books on the subject of your goal, just get a little positive influence into your brain every day to chew on. As they say, “you are the average of the six people you spend the most time with.” Start spending time with more positive, motivational sources like empowering books. A little positivity trickled into your brain every day makes a huge difference. It’s subconscious: you don’t have to try to be more positive and motivated, just allow a little bit in each day and you’ll naturally start becoming more positive and motivated toward your goals.

Next, set some alone time each day to actually imagine what you want, only fifteen minutes. The “theater of the mind,” as Maltz says, is very powerful, but you must be imagining the right kinds of movies… Write down your goals on a sheet of paper. Be specific. In this case, write down the pants size you want to be, or how much body fat you want to lose, or what kind of muscle mass or performance you want to achieve. Then write what it feels like and the great things you’ll do when you achieve the goals. Write it out in paragraph form and be very detailed. Then read that paragraph every day in your alone time and contemplate it. Imagine it vividly, and how you’ll feel with it already accomplished.

The key is to imagine the end goal, not the processes. Don’t worry about how to accomplish it, that will come. Don’t worry about all the challenges that will get in the way. That’s where most people get hung up. Instead, imagine yourself having already accomplished the goal and exactly what it looks like and how it feels. The success mechanism will take care of the rest. Feed your mind on a daily basis, so it has something to work with. And then “revel” in that knowledge and feeling as you sit and imagine it. It really does work!

Go out and conquer your biggest fears… set a goal to do something BIG this summer. Stop letting perceived limitations stop you from being all you can be. You’ll be surprised at how much greatness is in you and how much you can accomplish in every area of your life when you declare independence from the negative thinking that’s held you back... Have an awesome summer and accomplish some big goals!!

Ryan Joiner - is the founder of Athlon Fitness & Performance, a health club and personal training gym in San Luis Obispo that specializes in comprehensive programs for its members including movement re–training, weight loss, nutrition and sports performance. He can be reached for comment at (805) 546–6070 or