I’ve had the fortunate experience in my journey to work with and learn from many different experts in an array of different fields but some of the best life lessons that I have been taught have come from those who might be viewed as less fortunate. I am referring to adaptive athletes, and in my journey I have had the privilege of learning from individuals who have gone through some sort of loss during the war. After hanging out with these individuals I’ve learned so much about daily perspective and my own approach to what I do on a daily basis.

The other day I was making my rounds in CrossFit Milford and in a conversation I overheard an athlete discussing the day/workout, etc. What I noticed most about this conversation was the underlying theme of “I have to.” Meaning, “I have to work out today,” or “I just need to get through this day.” I feel that when you approach anything with a negative underlying tone, then that will impact any emotions or actions that follow. We need to realize that each day is a blessing, each training session is a blessing, and every experience is a blessing, because each moment, emotion, action signifies that we are still alive and healthy.

What are some ways to change this moving forward? For me it starts in the morning, right when my alarm goes off. Before I even let my brain start going in certain directions dealing with the gym or coaching, I like to bring everything back to the center. I take a moment to appreciate the day, give thanks, and do five minutes of meditative breathing. I then take time to write in a gratitude journal where I list three things I am grateful for. I always stick to a common theme (past relationship and what it has taught me, an opportunity, and something small – Tony Robbins). This, for me, is the perfect way to get my mind right to tackle the day. I need realize what I have and where I am, always. That simple action, which is often overlooked, will bring your true priorities to the forefront and help you line up your actions.

Every training session that I have with athletes on every level always begins with a moment of “gratitude.” I’ll have our athletes lie on the ground, go into meditative breathing, and think about all they are grateful for and all the things they get to do each day. If you can change your mindset to being more appreciative, rather than feeling forced to do something, then you will never have a bad training day. Sure, it might not all be personal best and highlights. However, you will appreciate that it is another day and session that you get to take part in. You get to walk into the gym. You get to work on your fitness. You get to work on your weaknesses or your strengths. You get to experience another day for self-improvement. You get to exercise and feel alive— you “GET TO!

So, next time you feel yourself focusing on the negative, take a step back and consider all you have and all you get to do each day. The simple concept of adjusting your perception of a situation can drastically change your emotions and outcome.