There are many reasons why people start working out: it can be for better health, better digestion, to look great in swimsuits for the summer, or simply to feel better about themselves. However, signing up for a gym membership doesn't necessarily guarantee that you will be focused until you reach your goal. In fact, you may cause your own setbacks yourself if you are not mentally, emotionally, and physically ready to take on the new routine you are about to begin. That is why we have rounded up some key ways to mentally prepare yourself to reach your fitness goals:
1. Find the reason why you want to be fit
The reason why you want to be fit will be your driving force towards your goal. If you can't find the reason for making yourself busy with meal preparations and workout schedules, you may find it harder to keep going on once you start doubting yourself. You have to dig deep for the reason you’re spending five hours at the gym weekly—rather than spending it driving to the drive-thru for a cheesy and mouth-watering quarter pounder from McDonald's.
Find your motivation, hold onto it tightly, and write it on your mirror if you must—anything to remind yourself that you should keep going.
2. Gather some fitspiration
Creating a mood board may sound cheesy but there's a reason why fashion designers and filmmakers all create a mood board as a part of their production process—it narrows their focus on the goal. By gathering some fitspiration for your fitness goal, you will be more motivated to keep up with your routines and schedule. You’re new found fitspiration will remind you time and time again why you're on the path that you are on right now. Here are some photos that you can include in your fitspiration board:
- Celebrities whose bodies you want to replicate
- Your ideal body
- The meal plan that you should stick to
- Clothes you want to fit into
If you currently don't have space to put up your fitspiration board, simply following fitness pages on Instagram will do the trick. They will serve as a daily reminder of your goal. The great thing about it is you will also find new diet tips everyday to make your fitness plan more effective.
3. Pair up with a friend
During a state of emergency, it is often recommended that individuals use the buddy system, and the same thing can be done if you want to reach your fitness goal. Here are the reasons why pairing up with a friend makes it all worth it:
- Working out becomes more fun - working out will be more fun if you have a friend beside you to chat with while you're going out for a run at the park. Having someone to socialize with while taking a rest can make it easier for you to forget the muscle pain.
- You'll have someone to remind you of your goals - feeling down time and time again is quite normal, but by having a friend around you, you will be reminded of your own goals and why you should keep going despite feeling insecure or tired.
- Get into a friendly competition - set a weekly challenge to make your workout sessions more fun. Maybe it's about who loses more weight by this week, who prepares the best meal, and who can do more reps on the bench press—a friendly competition will surely get you going.
- Leads to a safer workout - some workout equipment will require you to have someone to spot you in order to avoid any unwanted accidents. Some fitness enthusiasts also like to jog at night, but that can be dangerous. However, as long as you jog with a friend, you will be safer and have someone there to look out for you.
4. Prepare for major setbacks
When you try to reach your fitness goal, you will have to prepare yourself for some major setbacks that can stop you from even thinking about going back to the gym. If there's one big enemy that will stop you from achieving your ultimate goal—it is yourself. You have to be prepared to over-analyze a lot of factors about yourself, such as why you're not losing weight fast enough, why your body is different than others, and why you're not satisfied yet with your progress. It's okay to take a breather from time to time, but you will have to remain optimistic despite your insecurities in order for you to truly reach your goal.
If you find, however, that your negative body image or overall mental well-being suffers over time, it may be best to speak to a professional, like those at Psychologists Southern Sydney. They’ll help you improve your mental health in order to improve your fitness.
Yes, lifting those weights is hard but there are gonna be some days where trying to convince yourself to go to the gym will be the hardest decision. However, no matter what happens, you will have to stick to your diet, your goal, and your commitment to better fitness health. It may take a lot of effort but in the end—it's all going to be worth it.
Janice Killey has a wealth of experience and training. She holds a Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Master of Arts (Counselling), Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy (ASH) and is a Registered Psychologist at Psychologists Southern Sydney. She’s also a member of the Australian Psychological Society.