A single-minded focus on an ultimate goal creates stress. Instead, paying attention to the journey towards your goal, every step of the way, brings joy and peace of mind.
Rigid Goals = Stress & Frustration at Setbacks
Focusing on the Journey = Excitement with Your Progress & Peace of Mind
Our philosophy at New Element Training is that the process of moving towards your vision is more important than the actual goal.
If you value your final goal over the process of achieving it, you will feel frustration, anxiety or even anger at every setback. The resulting stress will diminish the quality of what you are doing, and you may feel frustrated enough to give up your exercise routine altogether.
Also, setting an aggressive goal is not necessarily an effective motivator. Depending upon your genetic makeup, amongst other factors, you may or may not be able to attain that goal. As this becomes apparent over time, you feel disappointment and a dissatisfaction with your body. Not a great outcome.
On the other hand, what if you achieve your goal. If that was your primary motivation for exercising, what are you going to do now? Set yet another goal and put yourself through more stress and mounting frustration?
Our approach is to focus on incremental achievements – including increased strength, improved appearance, increased motivation to stick with a healthy diet, decreased joint and back pain – while paying attention to every step in the process. This way, your workouts become a kind of dynamic meditation. The physical effects of the exercise, plus the fact that you are tuning in to your body, reduce stress. You will feel more energetic and be in a more positive frame of mind. And you will probably find that you actually achieve much more than you thought you would, while enjoying your progress along the way.
To help you become more aware of the benefits accruing to you through the New Element Training approach and to keep you highly motivated, here’s a list of scientifically backed benefits that you might want to review from time to time.
Physical benefits which are externally visible
- Increases lean muscle tissue
- Oxidizes subcutaneous (under the skin) fat
- Improves physical appearance
Physical benefits internally
- Strengthens lean muscles
- Improves muscular endurance
- Reduces/eliminates muscular pain
- Increases bone mineral density
- Results in more energy (in most cases)
- Decreases low grade inflammation
- Inhibits cancer cell development (via Myokines)
- Improves liver function
- Improves gastrointestinal transit time
- Alleviates arthritic discomfort
- Improves learning ability, memory and cognitive function
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Improves lipids profile
- Improves cardiovascular system
- Oxidizes visceral (organ) fat
- Increases resting metabolic rate
- Brings age-related gene expressions closer to younger populations
If you want to explore the science behind these physical benefits, please visit our resources page.
- The NET focus on mindfulness throughout the workout is a powerful tool for de-stressing
- The mind is less distracted by the body, as discomfort and pain decrease over time
- You gain a more positive outlook with increased self-confidence as you look and feel better, your posture improves, and your movements become more fluid.
Your frame of mind during your workouts
The New Element Training mindset during training is to give your entire focus to executing each movement, one inch at a time. For example, when you are doing a leg press (perhaps our most metabolic exercise – read, challenging, uncomfortable!), the mindset is not one of suffering through each repetition in order to finish the set. In contrast to this stressful approach, the NET frame of mind is to intensely focus on maintaining perfect form throughout the entire range of motion; on keeping a slow, controlled cadence; on noticing sensations created by constant muscular tension, and on acknowledging, without judgement, any feelings that come up in the course of the exercise.
Bringing a nonjudgmental awareness to your workout will help you achieve better physical stimuli while simultaneously de-stressing your busy mind. Performing the exercises mindfully in a state of acceptance, where you experience ‘What is’ without judgement, creates a feeling of peace that elevates your workout beyond a merely physical routine.
Between workouts, notice the many ways in which your life is improving.
Whether or not you can see or feel the difference, be aware that with every good quality workout, you are moving forward. On a daily basis, pay attention to little things like:
- You are feeling less fatigued by the end of the day
- You are less winded after climbing a flight of stairs
- You are more relaxed
- You are sleeping better
- You feel stronger after lifting a heavy object
- You notice that you are able to lift a heavy object without straining
- Pain in the body is alleviated or gone completely
- You feel like you are walking taller than before
- You are once again participating in a sport you gave up long ago
And, as reams of scientific papers will attest, your general health is also improving.
Be mindful of the small, incremental changes you are experiencing in your daily life. Make the effort to appreciate them all. Over time, they will add up to the kinds of big changes envisioned in your long-term goal, but don’t make it about the future. Make it about NOW. Enjoy your life NOW.
Frame your goal as a vision, a philosophy. Your mantra then becomes: “I want to be the best I can be.” Then simply notice and enjoy all the experiences along the way.
To sum up …
Setting rigid goals is what most of us do, with the result that we often live in a continuous stream of stress and unease. Not only do we suffer internally, we bring that unease into our environment. We have a much better experience when we do not make the goal more important than the journey. Paying attention and appreciating the little things as they happen helps reduce stress and brings more joy into our own lives and those of others.