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Architect mindset & what it has done for my fitness journey


22 JAN 2024

Okay, you’re in charge. I’m making you the boss of the next big project - yourself.

You’re sat around a big table with your ‘investors’ and ‘stakeholders’ - your parents, your siblings, partner, closest friends, children, pets, you name it, they’re all there, waiting to hear how you plan to ensure that come the end of the road, yours was a life that was long, healthy, happy, and full of activity and adventure.

Where do you even begin plan a project this huge? So huge, in fact, that the decisions made early on may determine your entire life trajectory.

Last year I stumbled across the term ‘architect mindset’ when it came to establishing my personal and business objectives for 2024. Probably a term more readily used in the circles of sales, marketing and becoming a stronger force in your business industry. But who cares? I liked it, and used it to my advantage.

What is ‘architect mindset’?

  • Zooming out and looking at the bigger picture

  • Imagining creating a blueprint for a beautiful building

  • Ensuring the foundations are solid and unshakeable

  • Finding simple solutions to complex problems

  • Learning how to become ‘surgical’ with your goals

The idea is to use this approach to move away from the broad generalisations we tend to see in the health and fitness world, and move towards sharp, clear-cut visions of what we want ‘the thing’ look like, down to the finest details. It is the pre-emptive anticipation of our behaviours, availability, mood cycles, commitments, and answering of the questions we are damn sure going to have on arrival further down the line (and sure, this may involve some educated guess-work).

What might these broad generalisations look like?

Person 1 - ‘I’ll commit to my training and never miss a session, beast mode 2024 baby’

Person 2 - ‘Well, I’m going to really get in shape, 6-pack abs here we come!’

Person 3 - ‘I’m going to work harder than ever before, non-stop grind’

Person 4 - ‘I’m going to go at it all guns blazing, 5am runs 5 days a week’

The enthusiasm is admirable, but let’s acknowledge here - this is saying a whole lot, without really saying anything at all. What do these claims even mean? The majority of the time, you only need to ask 1 follow up question to this person about what their goal actually means, and they are rendered speechless, because guess what - they haven’t really thought any deeper or more specific about it.

Where’s It Coming From?

Sometimes, sadly, people just make these claims around January time for the clout of appearing to be engaged in their health and fitness, in pursuit of the inevitable likes, favourites, and applause/fire emojis that are likely to come their way as a result. This type of extrinsic motivation is rife on social media, with many fleeting forays into the fitness world quickly fizzling into thin air. I’ve lost count of the number of people I know who have started fitness-based instagram accounts, which are now racking up the years since their last post. This isn’t a negative slight on the person - just a reality of how extrinsic motivation reveals itself in society. When the instant gratification fades or doesn’t materialise in the first place, the intensity of the endeavour falls by the wayside.

Fostering the architect mindset is about analysing yourself and your process closely, the nuts and bolts - your ‘systems’, in other words. You realise the mechanics of how lifelong habits and commitments interact with your feelings and emotions, which then become actions and behaviours we define ourselves by, and ultimately determine who we are.

If I could identify and summarise the single most important criteria for taking steps towards developing the mindset, it would be:

Know yourself, and act accordingly

We have to be up front and honest with ourselves about who we are, what we are pursuing, and how we are going about pursuing it. Then evaluate whether the decisions we make and actions we are planning to take, match up with what we have established as within our skillset, time availability, motivation tank etc. For example, it's easy for me to plan a run for a Monday morning, but Sunday football will have other ideas. I wake up on Monday's with my body feeling battered and bruised. Not only do I not feel like running, I'd probably cause injury or illness by trying to.

Therefore the details within the design of our training life are important. My aim is to keep this fact at forefront of the mind when doing any large scale planning, leading to better consistency, better results, more enjoyment of the journey, and minimal surprises along the way.

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