There are very few things unaffected by attitude in life. Particularly your success with your fitness regimen.
So many people ask me “how do you stay so motivated and find the time”? My answer is that it’s all about attitude and commitment. It’s true. Fitness begins and ends in the MIND. Everyone knows someone who makes health their priority. They always look great and feel great. Some might suggest that we are obsessed! It’s a common misconception. However, most of us are not obsessed, at all. I work out less than one-hour per day, most days. That doesn’t sound like obsessed, to me. Running is addictive, though, so I do run a lot of miles and I love to talk about it. I can see how it may seem obsessive, but it’s like riding a bike downhill, once you start, you gain momentum and then it’s hard to stop and even harder to turn around and go back. You feel so energized that you keep doing it for fear of EVER feeling like you did prior to being fit. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that nets an awesome transformation of your body and your mind. The motivation for me personally, comes from my determination to stay healthy and my loyalty to that goal, primarily because I’m running away from feeling lethargic, frumpy and lazy. It’s that simple, I do it for fear of what happens when I stop. I want to be fit so I feel great and I make it happen because I am addicted to feeling great. My entire life benefits from it, not just my pants size.
The secret is that it sounds so much harder than it actually is. People think they don’t want to spend all their time worrying about working out and eating right. But that’s not what it takes. I hope I can clarify that misconception with this post because it’s something that isn’t worrisome or hard. Nor is it something I dread. Here are a few tips on how to get there, mentally.
Take Out the Garbage
And by that I mean, get rid of the trashy talk from within and out. Spend some time clearing your mind. Forget what your parents, siblings, teachers and the news have taught you. Forget the “not everyone can be athletic” or the “your body is what it is and you have to accept it since you can’t change it” or the “I can’t run” or the “healthy food is too expensive” or the “it’s just not possible for me to work out, I’m a Mom” or the “I feel guilty taking the time for myself” or the “I don’t have the time in my life to cook all day” or the “I don’t feel good when I run” or the “my abs hurt when I do sit ups” or even the “In order to look good, I would have to work out 5-hours a day” or “I have a slower metabolism and I can’t do anything about that” or, my personal favorite “you work out too much”.
The truth is so far removed from all of these statements.
And, I’ll add, being skinny is not the same as being fit! You can be fit and be a variety of sizes. Feeling good is the goal.
Really, truly, forget all of it. This is about change and it’s not going to happen if you’re stuck thinking like you did yesterday. Forget everything. Forget about the last time you worked out and forget about the last time you tried to eat right, which was probably called South Beach or something similar. Diets do not work. I agree with all of the experts that say they do not work. It’s true. Never diet again.
Retrain Your Mind
Let’s start by retraining your mind to think truth. Take a sheet of paper and split it down the middle with a line, making two separate columns. On the first column write Mind Myths and in the second column, write Actual Truths. Seriously. You’ll be amazed at what this little exercise will show you about your own mentality.
List one myth that you tell yourself or that you’ve heard yourself tell someone else in the last 60-days. It will typically be disguised as an excuse. Then write the reality of that myth in the column, beside it. Your page might look something like this:
Get the gyst? It’s very difficult to do this sometimes because you’ll keep believing your own excuses and not even list them on the page. If you’re having a hard time, call your toughest friend or relative in to help you. BUT don’t get angry or defensive. You’ll only be hurting yourself and plus, this is supposed to be a helpful exercise. It’s not meant to make you feel bad about yourself or to incite guilt and shame. It’s about writing it down so you can no longer hold yourself back with it. We are all human and we all tell ourselves little lies, from time to time. You are in no way different from anyone else! At some point, we all need tough love.
Train Your Family and Friends
“Running for that long is crazy” “All you do is workout” “There’s more to life” “Just accept yourself for who you are”
Sometimes our family or friends hold us back without meaning to. They mean well and sometimes make comments out of pure discomfort or because they just cannot relate to you. In extreme cases, it may be necessary for you to have a conversation, but most of the time, simply ignoring them is good enough. If you do find yourself in the position that someone’s remarks are truly affecting you, try sitting them down and telling them how you feel. That you really need their support in what you are doing and it’s hurting your feelings to hear such negativity and sarcasm about your fitness goals.
STOP the Excuses
The biggest step you will need to take is eliminating the excuse factory. It’s not helping you. Not having time or being too tired, should not be excuses. The truth is that you wouldn’t be tired if you worked out. And you can always find the time. Maybe you can skip your television show, your time on Facebook or your happy hour. Be truthful with yourself and admit it when you’re making an excuse. Don’t put up with that behavior from yourself!
Excuses are holding you back.
Say it Out Loud
Tell someone your plans. Tell someone you’re going to go to the gym every single day this week. Tell someone you are going to train for your first 5k. Tell someone you are going to lose 5% body fat by spring. Tell someone your goal.
When we say it out loud, we become accountable, which then makes us more likely to follow through and succeed.
Another great strategy is to find a like-minded friend and do it together. Start walking together or running together. Take a class together. If you know someone is waiting for you, you are way less likely to back out at the last-minute and make up excuses.
Start a Blog
Along the same lines as saying it out loud is beginning to blog about your progress. A lot of times you’ll get positive feedback and reinforcement from friends and family and maybe even, strangers that share your goals. It’s a fun way to make yourself accountable and a way to get some positive encouragement. It’s also a great way to talk out your frustrations and let them go so you can move on.
Read a Book
As Oprah always says “when you know better, you do better”. Pick up a copy of a nutritional book or a fitness book and learn the reasons you should be eating right and working out. There is so much truth to the theory of doing better when you are armed with the knowledge. I remember when I began to take this stuff seriously, I read a book about preservatives and additives and “empty calories”. The next time I tried to eat a Cheeto, I could not do it. I was no longer willing to eat toxic foods and I have never eaten another one. Knowledge is power and in this case, motivation too. Attitude adjustments are easier when you know why you should be doing it.
Go On Vacation
Sometimes we just need a restart. Everyone needs a break from life. Taking your health seriously also means taking a break from stress and unwinding. The day-to-day life can get overwhelming. Make certain to take time off of work. It will keep you more motivated and committed to your health and remind you what is important. When you return from vacation is the perfect opportunity to realign your lifestyle with what you would like it to be. And there have been so many times I have spent vacations looking at all the fit people and wishing I was that healthy too. That can be motivating.
Take a Walk Through the Hospital
The local hospital is filled with people who are suffering the consequences of an inactive lifestyle and terrible diet. Witnessing THAT can incite a major attitude adjustment. Many people who are near the end of their life are paying severe consequences for their choices and it is a big awakening to see it. FACT: working out improves the quality of your elder years. It’s one of the single biggest influences you have over your life. Change it today with an attitude adjustment!
Make Friends with the Health Nut
Adjust your attitude by surrounding yourself with what you would like to morph into. We are influenced by our friends and their behaviors. It’s been proven time and time again. If you surround yourself with those that make healthy choices and have goals aligned with your own, you have a far greater chance in maintaining your positive changes. Even certain cities in America are conducive to healthy lifestyle by having more greenways and healthier people. Where you live can have an impact on your success, but it doesn’t have to. Find the like-minded people in your neighborhood, no matter where that may be and get going!
Need a great place to meet other fitness junkies? Check Meetup.com for a local running group or bicycle club.
Above all, there is one trait that all athletes have in common. Determination! It’s the defining factor of why some of us press harder, right when it gets hard. The same trait that keeps us going through each and every step and each and every mile. Dig deep. Find some determination and you’ll find success.