In your journey towards improved physical fitness, you’ll encounter many challenges and obstacles. Some of these might be unique to your circumstances – a recurring injury, areas of limited mobility, or changes in your personal life. Others are commonly experienced by many people, such as a lack of energy or motivation, or difficulty finding time to exercise amid a busy schedule.
The particulars of each roadblock may vary. You can probably find specific techniques that will help you eventually move past them. But if you stall, you lose momentum. Building your approach to fitness around the right mindset will help you to sustain that momentum even as you work your way around challenges. It can also help you subconsciously push past many problems that would cause others to stumble or fail. This is how you can be prepared for that journey.
Evaluate your motivation
In a society where unhealthy practices are all too common, any sort of motivation to pursue fitness and a healthy lifestyle is good. Small steps in the right direction are justly celebrated. But the initial steps are often both the easiest and most rewarding. Things get more difficult as you move forward.
Try to eat healthy for a month and follow a simple exercise plan, such as jogging around the block every morning; you can easily shed a few pounds. This makes you feel good. It reinforces motivation and keeps you going. Later on, the phenomenon of diminishing returns will kick in. Keeping up the same routine doesn’t seem to make a difference. You feel the effort, but you don’t see the rewards. It gets frustrating.
When this happens, people might seek to push the envelope. They exercise harder, running another mile. They cut down some more on the calories. This can be the right call, but it’s more challenging. It’s a motivation check that causes many people to quit and go back to an unhealthy lifestyle.
If you want to make real progress, at some point, you’ll have to revisit and examine your motivation. Good motivation may vary with each person, but it should make you feel energized after each workout. Working out for the sake of improved well-being or forging bonds with your workout buddies can be self-reinforcing. Being motivated solely to get a better-looking body won’t have the same effect, as it can take a long time before you see visible improvements.
Build up your ability
The first key to an improved fitness mindset is finding the right motivation. The next step is to work on your ability to achieve your goals in small increments. Often, these ability gains are a direct result of a carefully planned regimen. Professional trainers, for instance, teach you to work on the whole body and engage your core with proper form. If you only stick to the same exercise, your body adapts to make it easier – that’s why your hit the dreaded plateau. Apply your efforts towards a less-used group of muscles, and you will continue to witness improvements. And with these gains, it becomes easier to make progress in terms of difficulty; you rely less on willpower and motivation to get there.
Ability can also be improved in other ways. The homeowner who hires a contractor to finish their basement so they can turn it into a personal gym is increasing their ability to exercise independent of schedule variance or access to facilities. Creative ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routines are another way to increase your fitness ability. Parking further away from your destination gets you to walk more; weekend activities with your kids can be geared towards the more physically engaging stuff, such as outdoor hikes or swimming sessions. This way, even with a busy schedule, you’ll maintain a certain level and variety of physical activities in your lifestyle.
Make it automatic
With all the diversions and disruptions in today’s world, schedules can be subject to constant adjustment. People often don’t realize that even a simple commitment, such as one hour each day for a workout, can be difficult to maintain.
Instead, seek to integrate fitness into your daily life. It should be automatic, like the habit of brushing your teeth. People do this from childhood, without thinking. They might occasionally fall asleep without brushing their teeth, but they simply resume the normal patterns the next day; disruption doesn’t stop them from maintaining good oral hygiene.
As part of your fitness mindset, make it a point to move and be physically active each day. Don’t just settle for the sedentary routines most people fall into – getting up, walking a few meters, sitting down for hours. Seek out opportunities to engage in a variety of natural movements, and even if you can’t find the time to do a full workout, you’ll still be doing something to keep your momentum going.