The most common mistake that people make during their quest to replace unhealthy habits with a positive and life-changing mindset is to get drawn back to those old habits.
This is partially due to how our brains are wired. You see, the brain is programmed to keep us stuck in a routine and try to stop us whenever we attempt to break out of that cycle.
The brain’s intentions, in this case, are good; all it wants is for you to stick to a stable pattern and never witness the anxiety that comes with new experiences. However, this will often be the reason to take us back to square one when trying to make healthy changes.
In this article, we will discuss 6 mindset shifts to guide you into the world of fitness and help you achieve your goals at a faster pace.
The right mindset to achieve your fitness goals
1. Set your goals
Setting your short-term goals should be a priority as it would keep your brain motivated enough to stay on track.
At the start of every week, write down a list of the goals you want to achieve in the next seven days; what foods you want to try, how much physical exercise you’re going to get, and how you are going to reward yourself at the end of the week.
After finishing each task, cross it off your list.
This will stimulate your pleasure center (i.e., nucleus accumbens) to keep you going until you reach the next goal.
2. Be realistic
This is a major reason why people set their New Year’s resolution to making healthier habits, only to quit a few weeks later because they see no results. You should always keep your expectations realistic before planning any goal.
If you are adopting a new exercise routine, you must consider the short-term and long-term goals without inflating them.
Setting your bar too high is not always a good idea since witnessing no results can be the reason you abandon the whole idea of getting fit.
3. Control your cravings
When eliminating certain habits and foods from your everyday routine, the body will react by making you crave your previous additions.
Your job is to fight those cravings and distract yourself by doing other activities, such as meditation, yoga, exercise, and listening to music.
4. Don’t obsess about your weight
The scale can be a source of anxiety and self-destructive thoughts that stand between you and achieving your goals.
If you started a fitness journey to lose weight, and the numbers displayed on the scale are freaking you out, you need to steer clear from this destructive habit.
As long as you’re eating healthy, exercising on a regular basis, and getting sufficient quality sleep, there is no reason to obsess about the number that appears on the scale.
5. Involves someone else
Getting a close friend or a family member involved in your fitness journey can be very beneficial.
If you wake up one day and you’re feeling too lazy to exercise, it is more likely that you’ll go to the gym if you have a friend or a family member who’s going to come to your house and ask you to get ready.
Apply this to any plan or goals you have, and it will work like magic!
6. Give yourself a break
While it’s crucial to stay consistent in your training and dietary choices, taking an occasional break is as important to keep you going forward.
According to the American Council on Exercise, it is vital for trainers to take breaks to avoid overtraining and burnouts, which are a major driver for beginners to quit their fitness journeys.
If you have been working out for a while now, it is okay to stop doing so for a couple of weeks to replenish your energy and value the effects of working out on your life.
During this period, make sure that you are not overcompensating with unhealthy food choices since you can gain weight at a fast pace if you stop monitoring what you’re eating.
Over time, this could have the opposite results by demotivating you to stop working out altogether as all you can see is the weight getting back.
As a summary, you need to find a balance between taking occasional breaks from the world of fitness without overdoing it with food to maintain your readiness to hit the gym again.
Positive behavior to achieve fitness goals
As we mentioned before, people often struggle to keep pursuing their fitness goals, especially in the beginning, where their bodies are not yet adapted to the new routine.
For this reason, experts are advocating to incorporate positive behavior in fitness.
To use the psychology of positive behavior, you need to set rewards and incentives to keep you going with strict rules of eligibility.
For instance, if you reach 20 miles of jogging in one week, you get a reward (e.g., your favorite food, movie night, gift).
If you believe that you lack self-control, you can ask a family member or a friend to help you with this task.
In an observational study published by Nature, researchers analyzed the level of physical activity in 11,881 participants who received frequent short-term incentives to promote positive behavior.
After several years of follow-up, participants who received incentives were significantly more active than those who didn’t.
This study suggests that positive behavior will play a major role in the future of fitness, as it could be used to stimulate people who lack motivation and patience.
Pursuing your fitness goals requires a lot of planning and determination that must be present to reach your dream physique and the positive health benefits that come along.
However, giving yourself a break every now and then is crucial to keep this journey going.
Hopefully, this article managed to shed some light on this important topic, but if you still have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below.