PJ Monson is the founder of CentralSweat, and has been working in the health and fitness industry for over six years. Her training began in Chicago with a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, focusing on motivational weight loss programs, functional training for long distance runners, and small group programs for brides. She moved to Washington DC in 2009 and secured continuing education credits in kettlebell training, TRX resistance training, pre/post natal care, and became a NASM certified performance enhancement specialist (skills in strength, power, and endurance training for athletes). Health and wellness will always be her first priority and she is so excited to build a strong Central Sweat community focused on healthy lifestyle!
I moved to Spain last year to make a life-change. I needed to move forward, to try something new, to take a risk. I had just barely recovered from a bad car accident that left scars on my face and heart. I was at the tail end of a heartbreaking relationship. I had read Eat, Pray, Love (I know, at least I'm admitting it) and was inspired to travel, and my recent obsession with the Spanish language made a semester in Spain seem the perfect choice! When I moved, I knew nothing much past the word “hola!” I quickly immersed myself in the culture and was in school everyday for close to six hours. After a few months I became incredibly stressed out and depressed to the point of almost giving up. I went to my professora, Queralt (whom I love), and told her how I felt. She simply replied, “Polly, no lo pasa nada,” meaning “it’s ok.” (She said that to me a lot!) She went on to say that I spent too much time worrying about the mistakes I made or the things I couldn’t say instead of just focusing on the fact that I had just spent six hours in a classroom speaking and understanding a language I did not know two months ago! This new perspective opened my eyes and I soon found myself applying it to other sections of my life. I found that it directly applied to how I worked out, what I ate and how I felt about my body and my choices. I had spent so much time focusing on where I fell short (my bad habits) instead of how far I had come (my good habits).
Now I'll come back to the Blueprint for a Healthy Lifestyle I wrote about last week! (Didn't catch it? Click Here!) The Mental Mojo is the foundation of our triangle. Choosing the right cardio, strength, and nutrition plan is about making good decisions that support your healthy lifestyle. But what gives you the motivation to make those good decisions? Why do we eat ice cream after a breakup but lose 5 pounds when starting that new amazing relationship? Why are popular study snacks chips instead of carrots? Why is working out the last thing we want to do when life gets too busy?
Some of the answers to these questions may seem like common sense, and I am in no way implying that you should forgo Ben & Jerry’s for that healthy breakup chopped salad. I am simply encouraging you to ask “why!” When I talk to my clients about their day-to-day routines the question I ask the most is “how were you feeling when you decided to do that?” Habits, good and bad, that we consider automatic are simply everyday choices grounded in a strong mental foundation. This foundation is specific to you based on your past experiences, outside influencers, and everyday routines.
Start thinking about the things you do right and feel good about more than the things you wish you hadn’t done or could do better. Hold on to the feeling of accomplishment you felt after that long jog, or the calmness that surrounded you after yoga class. Take the time to create for yourself the mental picture of what your ideal healthy day would look like. Now turn that picture into a puzzle and break it up into many pieces, each piece being an action or an emotion. Everyday start to put the puzzle pieces together, one positive action with one positive emotion, until, before you know it, your puzzle is complete and your picture is your everyday!