In fitness, like life, you face many obstacles. None of the obstacles you face will ever prove more challenging than when you face yourself. How many times have you seen your fitness journey through to the end? If you have not, what’s stopping you? If you answered “me”, you are correct. Most people sabotage their efforts before they really get started. Here are some helpful tips help you overcome self-sabotage and finally achieve your fitness goals.
- Reprogram your thinking. There is a popular saying, “You can’t build a positive life from a negative mind.” The same is true for fitness. Eliminate limiting beliefs and thoughts. Eliminate the words “I can’t” and replace them with “I am”. Do not focus on what you may not be able to do. Instead, focus on what you are capable of performing. For those things you may not be advanced enough to perform, it is not a matter of “I can’t”, but rather, “I can’t right now.” Your perspective is everything when it comes to achieving what you want.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. While it is perfectly normal to aspire to reach a level someone you look up to has already achieved, do not make the mistake of comparing yourself to that individual. Comparing your start to their middle or end is a sure way to derail your fitness goals. Remember, you are not competing against anyone other than yourself. Focus on becoming your best version of you. Maintain a photo journal to see where you started and how far you have come. It’s only you versus you.
- Manage your outcome expectations. Be realistic in your expected outcomes. If you have never run a day in your life, do not expect to run a 3K in one week. Fitness, like anything else worthwhile, takes time. Take your large fitness picture and break it into smaller, manageable parts. Rather than attempting to sprint to the finish line, pace yourself for the full length of the race.
Putting these three tips into practice will yield incredible returns on your fitness goals. All change begins with self. In order to do better, we must commit to being better. Change your mind and you can most certainly change your life.
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Whether you are a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast one thing is certain, injuries are inevitable. While no one wants to be sidelined, repeated wear and tear over time increases the odds of sustaining an injury, requiring time away from your routine. This is where mental toughness comes in. Setbacks can be discouraging and hinder your ability to stay focused. How fast you get there is not what is important.
There are several things you can do to reinforce the discipline you will need to get you over the injury hurdle.
- Focus on the positive. Instead of honing in on your limitations, concentrate on what is still available to you. While that ankle sprain may prevent you from certain lower body exercises, it does not mean you are prohibited from other exercises. Be sure to talk with your physician first and take it slowly.
- Maintain good eating habits. Many people underestimate the power of good nutrition. Stick to your healthy eating plan during times of injury. Nutrient-rich foods not only aide weight management, they also help with the healing process. For example, broken bones benefit greatly from foods rich in calcium. If weight loss is your goal, you may have to modify your macros to accommodate your reduced activity.
- Be honest with yourself. Acknowledge all of the emotions that come your way. It is normal to be upset, frustrated, and even depressed when injured. Do not deny your feelings. Instead, express those emotions. Here’s a tip: Maintain a journal throughout your injury. Document your emotions. For each negative emotion or negative aspect you list, jot down a positive.
Optimal fitness begins with a healthy mindset. Exercise the discipline necessary not to derail your progress up to this point. Everything counts, so make your actions count toward your ultimate goal.
It is that time of year again where we trade heavy coats for light sweaters. Summer is around the corner and for many of us, fitness is on the brain. I commend your eagerness to shed the winter layers this spring by adopting a new exercise regimen but be mindful that fitness is not one-dimensional. Physical fitness is just one aspect of the wellness wheel and what goes on in your mind and body is equally important. Fitness requires more than physical strength and endurance; it demands mental focus and proper tools such as good nutrition and patience. Because our physical appearance can significantly impact our mental state, it is important to take stock of where we are, currently.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In its honor, I encourage you to assess yours as it relates to your desire to dive into a new exercise program. If you are not certain where to begin, try answering these questions.
- Are you mentally prepared to begin a fitness program? It is important to understand the fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be triumphs (weight loss, improved mood, etc.), obstacles (e.g., temptation, breaking old habits) and occasionally, setbacks (e.g., plateaus).
- How much time/effort are you willing to commit to your fitness program? It takes more than intention to succeed. Action is required. Are you willing to make time to set yourself up for success?
As you sit with these questions, be honest with yourself. If you determine that you are all in, consult with your physician before beginning an exercise routine to determine your physical readiness. Do not let it discourage you if you must start slow. Starting is always better than standing still. Here’s to your health!