7 Steps To Mindset Mastery: For Fitness & Life - Phil Hawksworth

7 Steps To Mindset Mastery: For Fitness & Life

Been working out for a while and still not getting the results you want?

Maybe struggling to get started on a fitness regime, even though you’re fed up of how you look and feel right now?

Learning from the best part of a decade working with clients as a Personal Trainer, I can tell you that it is almost always the same story.

Lot’s of experience and observation of people at every level of their fitness journey always points back to the same thing that is holding people back.

Can you guess what it is?

It isn’t the wrong training program or diet plan.

It isn’t not having a good gym buddy, nor that niggly shoulder injury.

It’s always a mindset problem. Always.

I’m going to give you the 7 steps to mastering your mindset for success in fitness (and life), but first we need to lay some groundwork.

The Right Mindset To Change Your Body

I believe that all other problems stem from either the wrong mindset, or incorrect beliefs.

It’s rare that someone simply doesn’t know what to do. Especially nowadays with the interwebs. People have too much information. More commonly, we have too many conflicting ideas.

We tend to major in the minors, obsessing about minutia, while missing the big picture.

Most people know too much, and do too little.

If we stuck with one person’s ideas for a sustained period and gave our all, instead of program hopping and looking for the next shiny object…

If we stopped switching between “bulking” and “cutting” on a bi-weekly basis, dependent on how many abs we see in the mirror or some off-hand comment someone made about you looking fat/skinny this week…

Then we would all be a lot better off. But I digress.

To achieve more in our body, we need to think better. We need to fix our mindset.

What does mindset even mean?

I use mindset in the broad definition of encompassing the way that you think.

To change your mindset is to change your thinking.

Mindset – in my definition – is applied psychology.

I believe that our thoughts and beliefs are the only limiting factor we face.

Even if you have a dumb goal like you want to be in the NFL, despite being a sedentary 35 year old… that is still a thinking problem.

Your goal is all but impossible – incorrect thinking – wrong mindset.

You could rattle off a million reasons like;

“You’re too old”.

“You don’t have the genetic potential”.

“You don’t have 10-15 years of dedicated training under your belt”.

They’re all secondary to the fact that it’s a stupid goal, aka; a thinking problem.

Entertaining the idea of wanting something that is impossible is a faulty thinking pattern… because it is impossible!

What I’m getting at here is that the thinking – the mindset – underpins everything else. Nothing happens in the physical world that hasn’t first been thought of in your mind.

Saying we want to achieve something we don’t really care about is a thinking problem too. Maybe you’ve felt like you should do something for years – but never committed to doing what it takes?

Getting in shape is simple (but not easy)

All that you need to succeed in the fitness game is a well laid out plan.

You probably know what to do without me telling you. At least the basics.

Sure, there’s advanced stuff that’s useful to know, but doing the basics well stacks all of the odds in your favour. Much of this is common sense stuff.

People have been getting in great shape for a long time. All you have to do is follow the plan that has been laid out by many people over history.

Ignore the latest Instagram fad and do what worked for people 10, 30, 50 years ago.

It’s a fairly simple system to follow. The human body hasn’t changed in a long time, and you could safely ignore everything that has been said on the topic in the last 50 years and be no worse off.

Maybe even better off. Advice won’t be tainted by people on gear giving advice to people not on gear, leaving them wondering why they can’t keep up with the program.

The real sticking point in all of this is in the implementation – the doing.

Like I said; simple, but not easy.

If it was easy, everyone would be in great shape. Look around your average high street or mall and that is evidently not true.

Look around your average gym and it still isn’t true!

So we know what to do…

(I promise you do know what to do. Don’t worry, I’m gonna tell you anyway, to make sure, but I’m confident 10/10 people know what to do. You just don’t have confidence in that knowledge, because you’ve never been able to action it).

We know what to do…

But we don’t do it.

That is the disconnect.

All people, at all stages of their training life know what they need to do to go to the next level. Some people are simply not willing to do what is required to get to the next level and are ok with that.

But most people can’t get to the next level…

Even though they know what is required and they want to do it.

Let me tell you what you need to do. Then I’ll explain how to get your head straight and get yourself into the right mindset to change your body.

Here’s exactly what you need to do…

If you want to lose body fat…

  • Consume less calories than you expend
  • Maintain positive nitrogen balance (high protein intake)
  • Add a training stimulus to maintain muscle mass


If you want to gain muscle…

  • Consume more calories than you expend
  • Maintain positive nitrogen balance (high protein intake)
  • Add a training stimulus to maximise muscle building

It’s really that simple.

There’s lots of ways to skin that cat, but it isn’t important here. That’s just details.

Focusing on the details and missing the big picture is most people’s problem.

And no, you can’t do both at once. Choose one.

I’ve detailed what it is going to take in the section below. Choose the one that is relevant for your goals.

Mindset For Weightloss vs Muscle Building: What it Takes

Mindset For Weight Loss

Getting in the right mindset to lose weight

Let’s get a few things straight. This is what it’s going to take to move the needle on your body and lose fat…

  • You’re going to feel hungry at times
  • You’re going to crave things sometimes
  • You’re going to feel weak or tired
  • Your joints might get a bit sore, you won’t recover from training as well
  • You will have to track what you’re eating and be very conscious of it
  • You need to lay back / knock off alcohol
  • You will choose what to eat based on your diet first, tastes second
  • You might have to forego social occasions
  • Sometimes you’ll be in a bad mood
  • You will ‘cheat’ on your diet at some point and need to bounce back from that

That’s all assuming you’re already training and eating right. If you’re not, then following a weight loss plan will actually leave you feeling better.

Can you deal with that?

Is losing weight worth it?

I’m not trying to put you off.  I’m telling you the reality. You need to accept reality. If you’re not prepared to do what you need to do, don’t waste the time trying.

If you are prepared, great!

You’re ready to move on. Skip the next section and go to step 1.

Mindset For BodyBuilding

Getting in the right mindset to build muscle

Wanna build muscle? Here’s what you gotta do…

  • Force feed yourself when you don’t want to eat anything more
  • Eat, consistently.. all day, every day
  • Be prepared to hold water and look ‘soft’
  • Probably gain some fat, lose your abs
  • Train a lot. No excuses
  • You might outgrow your clothes
  • You will probably sweat a lot
  • You have to prioritise training and eating over your social life

Getting muscular isn’t all fun and games. It’s work, it takes time and at times is uncomfortable.

Up for it?

Good, go ahead to step 1.

I tell you this not to put you off, but to empower you.

Every fitness company in the world wants to tell you how EASY it all is with their system.

Bullshit. It’s hard work. Part of the right mindset is accurate thinking – knowing what it is going to take to achieve your goals .

7 Steps to Success: Fitness Mindset

Click the image to download the 7 steps in summary.

7 steps to success: fitness mindset

Step 1 – Know WHY You Want This

fitness mindset - why?

Why do you want to change your body?

If you don’t have an answer for this, you need to find one. You are probably repeating someone else’s goals. You are saying what ‘sounds right’ based on societal norm, or the opinions of friends, parents and partners.

To find why you want to achieve something is to strip it down to it’s base and discover your true desires. A strong, powerful why will give you the strength and desire to get through any barrier.

While lacking a strong why leaves you floating, motivation fluctuates and the chances are you will never meet your goals.

The real reason you want to change your body will be related to your core values and the biggest themes in your life.

If the thing you value most is family, your why might be around being strong and fit to protect them, being healthy to ensure you get to see kids and grand-kids grow up, setting a good example for them, etc.

Step 2 – Set MEANINGFUL Goals

fitness mindset - set meaningful goals

When you know WHY you want to change your body, you need to translate that into some specific goals. These goals must be meaningful. In other words, you need to have a clear vision of what achieving this is going to do for you.

You need to be able to close your eyes and play a movie in your mind of yourself having achieved the goal.

If your goal is to add 10lbs of muscle, because you want to be stronger and more attractive to women, you need to see how women react to you, how you feel around women, the things they say to you, etc. etc.

When you have a clear vision of what happens when you achieve your goal, it goes from being an abstract thing to becoming real for you.

The more visceral and emotional your goal is, the stronger you will be pulled towards it.

Step 3 – Link Your Transformation With Your Major Life Goals

fitness mindset - link fitness with your main life goals

If fitness is not one of your highest values, we need to make it one.

You will know if it is, because you prioritise it in your life above other things. When something is a high value we prioritise it, enjoy it, obsess over it. When it is a low value we procrastinate, it bores us and we generally dislike it.

It might be somewhere in the middle, but you will know what your highest values are. What are you always excited to do? What will you make time for, rather than making excuses for? What do you talk or read about most?

We want to link fitness with our highest values by discovering how changing our body will help us achieve more in the things we value most highly.

Here are my highest values:

fitness mindset - your hierarchy of values

Let’s imagine that training wasn’t already one of my highest values – how would changing my body help me achieve more in business and with women?

In fact, let’s write a list. Write down 100 reasons why improving your fitness will help you achieve more in business and with women. Here’s an example of mine:

  1. Improving my fitness will give me more confidence to make sales
  2. Improving my fitness will give me more energy to work harder
  3. Improving my fitness will allow me to make a better first impression on business contacts
  4. Improving my fitness will teach me discipline
  5. Improving my fitness will increase my self-belief
  6. Improving my fitness will make me more attractive
  7. Improving my fitness will give me more confidence around women
  8. Improving my fitness will make me better at sex
  9. Improving my fitness will make me more photogenic, improving online dating outcomes
  10. Improving my fitness will show women I value myself

You get the idea…

Do this with whatever your highest values are.

We are framing our fitness goal in the way that it is most meaningful for us. Understanding how it helps us achieve the things we care most deeply about. Anything that helps us achieve more in our passions will motivate us.

It ceases to become tedious hard work to achieve some arbitrary fitness goal that is meaningless to us. It is a direct path to getting more out of the most important areas of our life.

Step 4 – Determine Who You Need to Become

fitness mindset - who do you need to become?

What needs to happen for you to achieve your goal?

You need to engage in the habits and behaviours that take you to that goal. To engage in the habits and behaviours, you need to have the beliefs and thinking patterns of someone who does those things.

In other words, you need to be in the mindset of someone who is successful, before you will be successful.

Don’t think in terms of what you need to do – that implies you are going against your nature. There will always be conflict and it will feel like you’re forcing it.

Instead, think in terms of who you need to become. When you become the kind of person who is in great shape, it comes naturally. It’s fun. It’s easy.

Who you need to become is a person who thinks and acts in a certain way. Define what those thoughts and actions are.

When you have laid out who you need to become, you will know what you need to do.

I always use the word transformation, because you need to go through a personal transformation. To achieve a significant change in your body, you literally have to become a different person.

You transform into a different version of yourself.

This change in mindset is taking your fitness from something you want to do; which is a weak weasel phrase, to something you area strong phrase.

Step 5 – Find Potential Limitations

fitness mindset - find potential limitations

One mistake most people make when setting their intentions is failing to look at the potential roadblocks.

Focusing only on the good intentions is not seeing the playing field as it is. You’re looking at an empty run through to the opposition goal posts – forgetting there are ten 250lb guys on the opposition team who want to rip your head off.

Positive thinking is not the same thing as living in a dream world.

Positive thinking is seeing the reality and believing you will succeed.

To create an effective plan, you need to see where you might trip up, and then plan around it. See what is potentially going to sabotage your efforts, and create contingencies.

Knowing what is potentially going to hold you back and already having a solution is empowering. It puts you in control and allows you to sidestep most of the difficulties that would usually stand in your way.

Of course, sometimes things will come up that you couldn’t possibly have planned for. The difference now is, because you have sidestepped all other potential problems and been making excellent progress, you have lots of self-confidence.

You’re not worn down and low on willpower, having to recover from slip up after slip up. You’re feeling great, confident and motivated to overcome this.

Step 6 – Create The Plan

fitness mindset - create the plan

Once you know your potential limitations, you need to create the plan based on who you need to become, while working around the potential problems.

This will become your plan.

Only now do we progress from ‘head stuff’ to practical, actionable strategies. Now we focus on what training split to use, how to set up a diet, etc.

Most people start here, and then wonder why it never works.

Without the mindset underpinning it, you’re just shooting in the dark. Taking someone else’s plan, applying it to someone else’s goals that you don’t really believe in, and then having predictable problems sabotage your efforts.

By spending a couple of hours focusing on getting your mind right, you are giving yourself the best possible platform to achieve more.

Not just achieving more, but doing it in an easier, smoother, quicker and a more enjoyable way.

Step 7 – Make Commitments To Execution

fitness mindset - commit to execution

The final stage is the doing.

This is where we stop thinking about goals, and start talking about commitments.

I don’t believe in process goals.

If something is within your control, it is a choice.

Setting a goal implies you’re going to try – weak weasel words.

Make a commitment that you are doing.

It sounds like a pedantic difference in language, but it makes a difference in the way you think. The language that you use dictates how you think.

‘Try’ implies 2 things. It implies that it is in the future, not in present tense. Secondly, it implies that you are going to struggle and might fail.

Why would you struggle and fail with something that is completely within your control? Because you choose to.

Instead make present tense commitments that you are doing it.

What if you make commitments but still fail to keep them? It means you didn’t set your intention correctly. You had a faulty belief or the situation has since changed.

That is nothing to be ashamed of. You have not ‘failed’, unless you give up.

Rather, you have expanded your knowledge and gained a clearer picture of the reality of the situation. This is empowering. You can now engage in more accurate thinking and are therefore closer to achieving what you set out to do.

Bringing it all together…

Once you’ve been through the steps above, the real work begins. It is the doing that counts.

Getting deep into mindset, motivation and planning is great, but don’t let it become mental masturbation.

It only works for you if you do the work.

The purpose of mindset work is to facilitate you getting better results. Not as an excuse to not do anything. This is just a platform, to get mind and body aligned for the best possible chance of success.

You will still face setbacks. You will still have unexpected problems.

You will still doubt yourself. You will still sabotage yourself.

I don’t claim to be able to help you avoid any of that. That is life.

You now simply have the tools to give you the best possible chance of coming out the other side victorious.


Want To Transform Your Body?

Discover the big secret that the fitness industry don’t want to tell you…

Because they’d rather sell you supplements and workout plans for ever (profit!)

Click HERE to find out the truth of what really makes for a great body.


Like it? Share the love