Overcoming mental hurdles to meet fitness goals.
You don’t have the luxury to not have time or to not “feel” like it. You must understand and believe that if you’re serious about changing your lifestyle. If you don’t, then I urge you to accept that reality. If you do, then read on.
This is where the analysis starts when it comes to overcoming mental hurdles to meet your fitness goals. Your children, your partners, your family, and even your job, require your physical and mental fitness. You can’t give any of these areas of your life the attention they deserve or require if you’re in bad physical and mental health.
I hear you. Easier said than done, right? Well, this advice isn’t coming from just another “keyboard motivator”. I actually live every bit of the advice that I share with you here. That is how I know it’s difficult, but that’s also how I know it’s possible.
So, I believe everyone who’s reading this has had to prepare for, sacrifice, or in some way delay self-gratification to meet a goal at some point in their life. From graduating college, to raising children, to starting a business, to getting a job or promotion at work, you had to put in the work to be successful.
Do you remember how good you felt or continue to feel as you accomplish goals in these areas? The same concept applies to your physical and mental health goals.
Some of you know this, and made promise after promise to start exercising or eating healthier next week, month, or year. Regardless, at the time of the planned workout, or when you were faced with food choices, you just didn’t make the right decision. Instead, you gave in to that gentle consoling voice in your head telling you that it’s ok, that it’s only “one time”, that you have something more important to do etc. By the way, that “one time” excuse drives me crazy! I will explain in future posts how that “one time” can really sabotage your goals, depending on where you are in your journey.
Well, as I said in the beginning, you don’t have the luxury to give in to that voice anymore, and your well-being, family, and ultimate success, demands more willpower from you.
Now, it is VERY important to understand that this lifestyle change is not an overnight process.
It takes commitment and patience. It also takes a genuine desire to understand more about nutrition, exercise and weight loss. It’s amazing how we pack pounds on over the years but expect it to disappear overnight! At one point I had those kinds of expectations and could not accept the concept that I had to work so hard to only lose 1-2 pounds per week.
I want to close by sharing some of the things that I routinely remember and do to overcome my mental hurdles, maintain healthy nutrition, and incorporate more physical activity in my lifestyle. I know that if you make a CONSCIOUS EFFORT to consider them, you will find it easier to change your own lifestyle.
Enough said, right? I mean, is there anyone who really still does not understand that physical exercise is good for their health? Good nutrition and exercise reduces stress and makes you feel so much more energetic! It helps with blood sugar regulation, improves cardiovascular function, bone and muscle development, and improves your skin tone. I could go on for a long time about health benefits and will do so in a future blog post.
Oh the joy of fitting into that outfit that was once way too tight! Yes, my clothes motivate me. Having to buy new clothes when I already have a closet full of clothes is unacceptable to me. I would much rather redirect that money into getting a trainer and buying healthier food.
3. Vacation or Staycation
I try to go on vacation once per year usually in the summer. Something about going on vacation makes me want to get in good shape. It also keeps me in a good mood and gives me something to look forward to and plan at least 4 months ahead of time.
Marathon running is my sport of choice. However, is there some sport you used to be good at that you can start competing in again or a new sport that you want to try? If not, maybe you can draw some motivation from watching fitness competitions. I watched the Wodapalooza Cross Fit competition this weekend and was so motivated by the athletes there!
5. Throwback photos
I know most of us won’t ever look like we did in college or high school anymore. But looking back as these types of pictures can really create motivation to exercise.
6. Get a bike, treadmill or other exercise equipment at home
I had to give in to buying a treadmill about 3 years ago. My days are very hectic most times to the point that even the 15 minutes it takes to drive to the gym counts. Also, it is much more difficult to talk myself out of exercising when the treadmill is literally steps away. Over time, the room with my treadmill has become my workout room. The goal is to create an environment that kills excuses.
7. Music, books, podcasts, movies
This is one of my favorites and most effective. It’s also the most productive, because I can get through my books without actually being stationary to read them. I prefer to listen to motivational books during my workouts, because they just make me feel even more inspired. Where are my TV and reality show junkies?? You can get through a 1-hour workout per episode! I watched the first season of Game of Thrones again when I was training for the Chicago Marathon (don’t judge me!). Whether you choose to listen to a book, music, or watch a movie, the goal to is to keep your mind occupied and accomplish two things at once.
8. Set realistic goals
Please do not set yourself up for failure or disappointment by looking for immediate success. The process is slow and sometimes stagnant. Focus on the journey, and not the destination. Focus on changing one habit at a time. For example, if you drink soda, set your first goal to cut soda out of your diet. Enjoy the process. Enjoy learning more about making healthier choices. Enjoy experimenting with what works and does not work for you. When I started on my journey I needed to lose 20 pounds, and because I was so worked up with how long it was taking and how hard the process was, I really did not enjoy it as much as I should. The truth is, that if you are consistent in making the right decisions, change is certain to come in due time.
Your friends, family and coworkers should know about and support your goals. It is very important to associate with like-minded people who can educate and motivate you along the way. My trainers have become my best friends. In fact, they are like family. A majority of the people I follow on social media are in the fitness business. Basically, I literally go out of my way to put myself in a fitness-focused healthy lifestyle environment.
10. Sometimes I can’t make it
I try to be very conscious about my personal and work tasks and how I can keep a healthy balance between that and my exercise schedule. Sometimes, I just can’t make an event, because I need to catch up on my sleep, or because I need to get up for a 6AM run before the sun comes up. Other times, I make the event but I have to leave early. The point is to try to put your physical and mental health first as much as possible.
11. Be prepared
This is very important. So you’ve decided that you are ready to make some changes, but what’s your game plan? Have you purged the junk food from your kitchen cupboards so that you won’t be easily tempted to make a bad choice? What snacks are you packing to take with you on that long out of town trip? How about looking at the restaurant menu that you’re going to have dinner at and deciding what you will have ahead of time, instead of making an impulse decision? I will discuss a lot more about how to prepare to be successful on your journey in a later post.