As we head into summer, many of us want to start exercising more, so getting in the right mindset is key. If you ask me, dread is the absolute worst feeling.
When I was trying to get to a place where I actually wanted to go to the gym, I used these six steps. Chances are, they'll work for you too!
1. Have a clear goal and vision of what you want to achieve.
Benjamin Franklin said it so well: "Failing to plan is planning to fail." In my experience, this is a core truth—in life and at the gym.
You wouldn't start a company without a business plan, so why would you begin a fitness program without setting clear goals? Ask yourself: What do you want to improve? Do you want to lean up, gain muscle? Do you want to prepare for a marathon or simply have more energy and enjoy life to the fullest? Decide on your goals and write them down.
2. Change you mindset and manifest your goals.
Standards are built from expectations you have of yourself. The higher the bar, the more positive those behaviors will be. So if you don’t look or feel as good as you think you should, change your mindset and start thinking more positively.
If you are not happy about something, change it! Instead of saying, "I don't have enough energy, and I'm not as toned as I want to be!" your attitude should be, "I can’t wait for my legs to be tight and toned again" or, "it’s only a matter of time until I have strong arms again and can lift things more easily."
Here are a few ways you can work on adopting a more positive attitude: Compliment yourself more often. You may have areas of your body you don't love, but there are things about you that are unique and fantastic and beautiful. Be grateful and remind yourself of the powerful attributes you own.
Believe in yourself, and believe that whatever you want to accomplish can happen. It’s only a matter of time. When you convince yourself that whatever you want to accomplish will happen, it usually does.
3. Get to work.
Now that you've laid the groundwork, remember this: Success takes work, and there’s no way around it. And without work, you will never be able to achieve any goals. So write down the daily rituals that will help you achieve your goals.
Open up your calendar. Treat this like an important business meeting. Write down the times of day that work best for you to exercise. Which classes are you going to try? What about your diet? Can you make any changes there? What are the new, more nutritious foods you want to introduce?
Whatever you do, start slow. You don’t need to change everything at once. I found that setting "mini" or "micro" changes—especially at the beginning of your transformation process—is more beneficial than going for giant changes immediately.
Here’s are some of the small changes I made when I was trying to get in a more positive mindset about exercise. You can adopt them, or make them your own:
- Add just five more minutes of movement of every week.
- Drink more water.
- Eat at least 2 cups of vegetables every day.
- Go to sleep 30 minutes earlier and wake up 30 minutes earlier to fit in your workout.
- Commit to 10,000 steps per day.
- Cut sugar intake by 50 percent.
- Commit to three fitness classes per week.
- Park your car farther away when you go out.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator twice a week.
4. Make your goals achievable.
From experience, those who set unrealistic goals typically don't achieve what they want to. And those unrealistic goals are what lead to dread surrounding the gym! Most people quit not because they aren't seeing results but because they aren't seeing dramatic results.
Often, victory occurs when you least expect it, so stick with it! A simple dose of patience and believing in the process is all you need. If you are doing what you should be doing, results will happen. I promise.
Your transformation quest should not be treated as a competition, either. You should never compare yourself with anyone else. This journey is about you and how good you want to feel. Keep yourself motivated with some of those baby steps I listed above.
You want to keep those giant goals, of course—just cut them into mini pieces so the task feels less daunting.
5. Have fun!
If you ask me, this is the most important step. When you enjoy doing something, you tend to want to repeat it, right? And when you repeat a certain task or activity over and over, you become better at it. And when you become better at it, you get the results you're looking for. I think we can all relate to the concept of fun equaling success. When you have fun or make a situation fun, you have a great chance of succeeding.
If you chose an activity you enjoy doing, you will reap more benefits than someone who goes to the gym just to "get it over with." Avoid following what the masses are doing and choose something that excites you.
Need ideas? Try dancing, walking, cleaning, hiking, throwing a Frisbee, indoor hockey, rock climbing, or jumping on a trampoline.
6. Remember what friends are for.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Studies have shown that having a gym partner or doing an activity in a group increases your chances of sticking with a program.
Surround yourself with people who are active and eat healthy, nourishing food. It will benefit you. Use the science of the buddy system to your advantage. And if that’s not enough, check this out: Working out makes you look more attractive to other people. If that's not motivation, what is?