Training Your Mind to be Thoughtfully Fit: The Power of Pause. Think. Act.

We’re about halfway through 2021, and odds are, some of our resolutions are feeling a bit neglected. That’s okay! I’ve definitely neglected a resolution or two. The goals we set for ourselves—resolution related or not—can be challenging to keep, let alone achieve. But the key to enduring through the challenges we come across is being fit for them…Thoughtfully Fit.  

We’ve all been told about the importance of being physically fit. It’s the number one resolution people make at the start of the new year. People set goals, make workout plans, take group exercise classes, and even hire personal trainers. We all know what physical fitness looks like. But what about mental fitness? What does a fit mind look like, and why is it important? And where’s the plan for training your mind and your thoughts?   

I’ve spent thousands of hours training my clients to overcome any obstacle, using my signature model, Thoughtfully Fit.  

When you’re physically fit, movement feels easier. When you’re Thoughtfully Fit, life feels easier. Not because there aren’t challenges, but because you’re better equipped to handle them. Hurdles are inevitable. We all experience our own, whether they come in the form of traffic, a demanding work project, or a colleague who gets on your nerves. When we handle these challenges in a not so thoughtful way, we can end up regretting it later. And it often results in more people problems. 

But when you’re Thoughtfully Fit, you develop a mindset that allows you to create awareness of both the obstacles you’re faced with and the options you have to address them effectively. 

It’s All About Your Core 

Just like with being physically fit, how Thoughtfully Fit you are comes down to the strength of your core. Your core consists of two things: 1) Focusing on what you can control and 2) Exploring what choices you have.  

When we’re presented with a challenge, we can often be taken off guard by it and react hastily. When you engage your core, you create awareness of what you have control over and explore the choices you have.  

How do you engage your core? Three simple steps. You take a moment to Pause. Think. and then Act.  

Hitting the Pause Button 

The first step to engaging your core is hitting the Pause button. When you Pause, you take a step back from the challenging situation and give yourself a moment. It can be hard to do, but Pausing is crucial to addressing it thoughtfully. That moment gives you a chance to catch your breath and refocus your sights on your intentions, instead of responding on autopilot with your gut reaction. Your default might be to call the person who is frustrating you a cotton-headed ninny muggings or to disassociate from the situation all together—none of which will solve the issue.  

If you want to respond in a way that’ll have the best results, and is more in line with your intentions, you must Pause. and then Think.  

What Are You Thinking? 

Thinking is all about building awareness. Where do you start? You can prompt productive thinking by asking yourself the right kind of questions: How do I want to overcome this challenge? What are the obstacles getting in the way? What do I need right now? Asking yourself thoughtful questions can help you get unstuck, figure out what you can control, and explore your options. They might even bring about choices you never even thought of. This step in engaging your Thoughtfully Fit core is important as it leads to meaningful Action.  

Make Your Move 

As much as we wish we had an infinite amount of time to Think over a challenging situation, we eventually have to Act. For some of us, Acting can be an intimidating thing, especially when it involves a tough hurdle. But if you wait too long to make your move, chances are you’ll miss your window of opportunity to take control and Act in a thoughtful way. That said, you can rest assured that, when you take the time to Pause. and Think., the move you make will be with your greatest intention in mind. No more impulsive gut reaction that leads to a mess to clean up later. 

Putting It All Together 

Life’s challenges can take their toll on us if we don’t handle them thoughtfully. Whether it’s overloading ourselves with work because we said “yes” to one too many projects or letting negativity fester between us and a colleague because we felt uncomfortable addressing the issue. When we don’t take time to Pause. Think. and then Act., the choices we make will present us with even bigger problems down the line—often people problems. What’s worse is they can eat up the time and energy we could’ve spent on more important things.  

When you Pause. and Think. about your intentions, what you have control over in the situation, and the choices you have, you create more awareness of the hurdles you’re facing. You can then take meaningful Action. Not only that, but you’ll discover where you’re at as a leader. You may not be equipped with the skills to handle certain challenges YET. But when you consistently engage your core—just like with training your body—the more you do it, the easier it gets. 

Now that’s a resolution worth making and keeping. 

Workout Your Core—Without Breaking a Sweat

Whether you’re trying to revive a resolution or are on the verge of calling someone a cotton-headed ninny muggings, it’s never too late to engage your core. Practice by doing this one-minute workout:

  • Pause. If you’re stuck in a not so ideal interaction with a colleague, hit the Pause button.
  • Think. Ask yourself the right questions. What do I need right now? How do I connect with this person? How do I want this interaction to end?
  • Act.  Identify that next step, take it, and do a victory dance (maybe when you’re alone). 

Do this training plan for your mind, and you’ll start to notice stronger relationships and more success—personally and professionally. 

This guest post was authored by Darcy Luoma

Darcy Luoma, author of Thoughtfully Fit: Your Training Plan for Life and Business Success, is a Master Certified Coach, dynamic facilitator, and inspiring motivational speaker. She has worked as director for a U.S. Senator, deputy transition director for a governor, and on the national advance team for two U.S. presidential campaigns. As the owner and CEO of Darcy Luoma Coaching & Consulting, she’s worked in forty-eight industries with more than five hundred organizations to create high-performing people and teams. The media has named Darcy the region’s favorite executive-and-life coach four times. Darcy balances her thriving business with raising her two energetic teenage daughters, adventure travel, and competing in triathlons.