Fitness has always been something I’ve struggled with. I’ve always gone through fitness phases and that’s always been the issue. I’ll do home workouts or go to the gym consistently for a while but it never lasts. I always just stop and all the progress I’ve made is lost. And while this might be the reality for lots of us, it doesn’t have to be. I’ve come to realise that the mentality we approach our fitness journey with will determine the outcome. In a bid to make the most of 2021, I decided to take control of my health and fitness! But I needed to learn how to maintain a healthy mentality to aid my journey rather than impede it. I’ve learnt things along the way and am still learning but here are the fundamental things I keep in mind to keep me motivated and happy on my journey!
FIND YOUR ROUTINE
As a fitness phase fanatic, I’ve always enjoyed the first week of any new workout because I feel like I’m doing it! I’m actually working out! But that feeling never lasts. I always find myself changing the days I’ve set to workout so that by the end of the week, I’ve -reluctantly- only done my workout on Thursday and ah well, it’s now the weekend! But this makes working out the enemy. It makes it something you want to avoid and that’s not how it should be. In order to improve your fitness and better your health, of course, you need to challenge yourself and it might be painful and hard. But it shouldn’t feel impossible.
Any movement will improve your fitness! I aimed to walk 5,000 steps every day as a benchmark figure to get me moving. And with earphones in and a big city like London to walk through, those 5,000 steps became easy to do. And while I didn’t do 5,000 steps every single day because life gets in the way, I did it as often as I could. The more I did it, the more I wanted to consistently do it. Eventually, I upped my target to 10,000 and now genuinely enjoy my walks because I have felt myself getting fitter and finding it easier. Alongside this, I’ve begun incorporating beginner’s workouts from YouTube to do when I’m at home. I don’t pressure myself into doing it every day or even every other day because I’m trying to make this a lifestyle change. But each time I do it, it motivates me to do it the next time.
Finding the routine that works for you is the key to success and can only be found once you look and go through a few trials and fails. But you will find something and it will challenge you positively.
GOALS & MOTIVATION
It’s so easy to begin a fitness endeavour with tons of goals. But in order to achieve anything in life, it’s important to take it day by day. And our goals should reflect this. Instead of focusing on the fact you want to lose 50lbs, focus on the first hurdle which could be to lose 5lbs. Thinking about the total end goal will overwhelm you and most likely deter you from being motivated with your fitness regime. You’ll feel like it’s impossible to get to where you want to be. But all novelists started by writing one sentence. All guitarists started by learning one chord. Things take time. You will not achieve all your wildest dreams after a week of hard work and that’s okay.
To maintain a good mentality with your fitness and health, you need to overcome your desire to see instant changes. Process is a consequence of consistency. And in order to stay consistent, you’ll need to create smaller and more achievable goals to guide your journey. Your motivation will be stronger as a result of this. You’ll begin to appreciate the changes that are happening at the pace they happen.
Your fitness and health journey will last a lifetime. And you can’t expect to be perfect and consistent every single day. But you can change the way you deal with setbacks. I was under the impression that if I ate more than I’d intended to or hadn’t done my workout on one of the days I’d planned to, my week was over! I’d continue eating more and also more unhealthily because I’d feel like I’d messed up the week. But as I’ve taught myself more, I’ve realised how silly this mentality is. It’s like getting to work and realising you’d forgotten to say goodbye to your partner and so for the rest of the week, you’d do the same. There’s no logic!
Enduring setbacks whilst on your fitness journey does not ruin your progress. What ruins your progress is letting it become a week-long setback. I’ve learnt that moving on from eating too much on one day or not working out when I’d planned to is to accept it and remember I’m human. And the worst thing I can do is punish myself for being human. Instead, I care enough about myself and my journey to workout the next day and eat healthy.
The wonderful thing about fitness and your health is that you are in control. It is something that you can improve and so if you feel like you’re struggling at the moment, remember that there are better times to come. You just have to get started and be dedicated. Remember your goals and embrace your setbacks as stepping stones, not walls blocking you from moving forward! Eat a chocolate bar on the weekend. But also go for a walk. Life’s about moderation as I’m sure you’ve been told countless times. But that’s just because it’s true and it’s true in all parts of life!