You’ve decided to get fitter and healthier, but now what?
First the good news: deciding to make a change is the hardest step, and it means you’re on the road to improving yourself.
I’ve worked in fitness for a long time, and I find the biggest obstacle people face when attempting to get fit is right in their own head.
You come up with potential issues to prevent you from getting started and making progress — and that leads to self-sabotage.
It’s the biggest hurdle to overcome — especially when you’re looking at making a lifestyle change.
If you have been wanting to improve your health and fitness, let me share three common mindset shifts you need to make to get on the right track
Mindset Obstacle #1: “I’m So Unfit Already, So What’s the Point?”
This is probably the biggest issue, so let’s eliminate it right away.
Everyone has to start somewhere. There is no shortage of success stories you can find about people who were in the same position you are now.
The secret is to start slow and not take on too much at once. Those who give up on fitness early on usually went from zero to 100 right out of the gate.
Taking on too much at once will only lead to you feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.
If you are new to fitness, you don’t have to start training for a triathlon or take up Cross-fit right away.
Instead, start with some walks or hiking, and slowly build up the time you spend doing it. It doesn’t have to be much — even 10–15 minutes will get you on the right track.
You want to slowly add a little extra each time until you’re doing full-hour walks and hikes without even realizing it.
If you did a 20-minute walk today, go for 22 minutes next time. These slow, incremental steps are what lead to improved fitness.
You can also do short periods of yoga or circuit training using DVDs and YouTube videos and work up to doing a full class. The secret is to start simple.
There will be plenty of time to get more specific with workouts and fitness down the road.
For right now; you just want to get moving.
Mindset Obstacle #2: “I Don’t Have the Willpower to Stick With It”
Yes, you do.
You’ll be amazed at how much willpower and determination you really have in you.
The secret again is to not take on too much at once, get comfortable with fitness, and build your confidence.
If you’re hesitant about doing strength training at a gym, check with the trainers as every club should have orientation sessions to get you comfortable and teach you the basics.
Make goals for the week that are manageable and realistic, such as doing a 20-minute walk three times a week followed by some stretching.
When you realize that you can accomplish these goals, your confidence grows. You then get more motivated, and that’s what develops willpower.
Think of willpower or discipline like a muscle itself; it needs to be used and exercised to become engaged and functional. But then it gets stronger and stronger.
Mindset Obstacle #3: “It’s Going to Take So Long For Me to Get Fit”
Fitness and health don’t just happen overnight. You also have no idea how quickly you might respond until you get going.
I’ve seen some people make some noticeable differences in their appearance in as little as two weeks.
In 6–8 weeks, you can make some remarkable changes.
This is a process and also a good time to get two words out of your vocabulary: quick fix.
The goal now is to focus on progress and not perfection and visualize where you want to be.
It might be to run a 5k, have more strength, or keep up with younger family members.
When you picture what you want in your mind and focus on that, you’ll be amazed at how that can motivate you.
You Can, You Will
We tend not to be thrilled with where we are at, but that’s just part of being human.
We always want to be better than we are, and you need to use that as motivation to push yourself in your pursuit of health and wellness.
It’s hard not to envy others who are further along than you are, but remember:
At whatever stage you’re at now, there is someone wishing they were where you are.
Important takeaway: One very key thing is having a support group around you. Getting fit with a friend or family member is great for motivation, and for one other huge reason: accountability.
But this support doesn’t even have to be from someone you know. There are so many online support systems such as Facebook groups where you can find people at the same point you are.
These groups are great for motivating and encouraging one another.
Make use of all these great resources we have and start doing something today that your future self will thank you for.