Do you find it difficult to fit training into your day? Does life seem to keep throwing things at you that stop you getting to the gym? This is probably true for all people to some degree. A lack of time is the number one barrier to exercise in western populations. Even those with good intentions and a strong desire to improve can fall foul to time pressure. The workout gets chopped from the daily routine. Then again a few days later. Before long, it’s another failed fitness attempt. We hear this story a lot when meeting with our Fulham personal training clients for the first time. No doubt we will hear it many times more before we are done. Here I discuss some key mindset changes the can help keep your health and fitness campaign firmly on track.
Don’t give yourself a mountain to climb
Starting small is so important. Of course you can dream big. Just don’t expect it all to happen overnight. Every marathon starts with a single step. One step at a time, the marathon gets completed. So, if your dreams are big, then make sure your plan is one step at a time. From a psychological perspective it is really important to feel as though you’ve won the day. This will keep motivation high, and leave you wanting to see what tomorrow brings. Small goals are achievable on a daily basis.
Fitness goals that are too big are incredibly hard to maintain. Let’s use the very popular FitBit and 10,000 steps a day as an example. It seems like a reasonable goal. However, research has shown that most people ditch their FitBits within 6 months. Why? Simply because it’s tough to maintain 10,000 steps every day. Days when life gets in the way and they fall short of 10,000 steps feel like a failure. The daily mountain is too big. Setting small and manageable goals, that still take you out of your comfort zone, is the way to go. Remember, marathons are run and won one step at a time.
Love your fitness programme
If you’ve ever watched children being spontaneously active you will notice one thing. They are having fun. Children exercise through play. Compare that to the faces at your local gym or those thrashing around the Bishops Park’s Park Run. Many adults exercise as a means to an end. Is it any wonder we find it harder to stay fit and healthy compared to childhood? If your programme is right then you’ll find a way to stick at it, because you enjoy it. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to follow a generic fitness training routine. You need to invest time exploring exercises and activities that are right for you. They need to be suited to your needs as well as your preferences. This is likely to involve trial and error – there is no such thing as the perfect fitness programme. With the right fitness programme you will find yourself making the time to get it done. In fact, it fast becomes a priority to fit into each day.
If you fall of your bike? Get back on it
Some days training just doesn’t go to plan. Perhaps you don’t perform as well as you wanted. There will be plenty of occasions when you don’t get through the whole workout as planned. And of course there are days when you just can’t get to training. From the outset, it is important to realise that these are normal. To varying degree’s, they happen to everyone. Life happens and will continue to happen. When it does it’s important not to get too emotional. There is very little value in beating yourself up over it – you can’t change the fact. Like falling off a bike, you simply make sure you jump back on as quickly as you can.
A negative mindset when training doesn’t happen leads to feelings of your fitness programme being unachievable. This is irrational and the odd day here and there must not be allowed to derail your whole plan.