We all know those fitness freaks; the people who can’t live without the gym, who revolve their schedule around their workout, who show up late to plans because they couldn’t pull themselves away from the treadmill. What makes them this way? Why can’t I be like one of those people? It seems to be that some people are just born with the will to work out while others have to force themselves to get moving. Although genetics seems to be somewhat at play, the good news is that you can become one of those people. You just need to spend some time with your thoughts. Here are six tips to get you jumping over that workout hurdle.
Picture Your Ideal Self
What are your goals? Do you want to fit into an old pair of jeans? Do a pushup? Run for 1 mile without stopping? Be able to bend down and touch your toes? Whatever your goal may be, picture yourself having already accomplished it. How do you feel? This is a useful mental exercise to keep you motivated and determined. The more you imagine yourself in the situation you want to be in, the more you believe in it and the more real it starts to become.
Zero In On the Perks
Due to our human nature we tend to focus more on the negative than the positive. When it comes to exercise we are quick to think of all of the reasons why we shouldn’t workout. Next time, force your mind to shift to the positive. “I will be one step closer to my goal.” “It’s good for my health.” “Pushing myself will make me stronger both physically and mentally.” “I want to grow.” If you have to, write a list of all of the positive aspect of exercise and read it just before getting ready for your workout.
Believe in Yourself
Often times we consider laziness to be the culprit of skipped workouts. Although that may be part of the problem, the biggest hindrance to working out is a feeling of discouragement. Many people don’t actually believe they will ever change, or don’t believe they have what it takes. Everyone has the ability to change if they want to. If you trust in the process and practice consistency then you WILL see changes. Keep telling yourself that it will happen and don’t let doubt cloud your mind, for that is the biggest setback.
Form the Habit
Get in the groove! Once exercise becomes a habit, a normal part of your routine, it’s likely to become much easier to stick with. It’s just like work. No matter how much you love your job, it’s not always easy to get out of the bed every morning five days week and go to work when there are plenty of other things you’d rather be doing. But, we do it because we have to. Sometimes our five daily prayers become heavy on us, and we feel unmotivated. But we push through because we know that the reward at the end is greater. Keep that same mentality with your workout. Do it because you have to; do it because of the reward and the growth it will bring. Push through until it becomes a habit.
Accept Where You Are
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” This quote by Zig Ziglar is my absolute favorite quote because it is so comforting and true. Everyone has to start somewhere. It is truly OK to be completely and utterly out of shape. Maybe you can’t even do 1 pushup. Maybe you are out of breath after only 3 minutes running on the treadmill. Maybe you want to start yoga but you can’t even reach your toes in a forward fold. That is OK. Find beauty and solace in the place that you’re in. It gives you that much more opportunity for growth and improvement. It gives you that much more of a challenge to overcome. It gives you that much more of an inspiring story to share with others. Where ever you are now is OK. Giving up because you are not where you want to be is a sure way to stay in the same place. You will change. You will advance. You just have to accept yourself as you are and continue to work towards your goals.
Take Small Steps
Sometimes we want to reach a certain goal so badly that we take all of the wrong steps to get there. When I first started yoga I was dying to be able to do a handstand, to be able to bend my body in half like a pretzel, and to be able to hold myself in impressive arm balance poses. But I overstepped all of the most important means of getting there. How can I do a handstand without learning a headstand first? How can I bend like a pretzel without perfecting the most basic yoga stretch, the forward fold? How can I hold myself in arm balances without building up the necessary strength? I got so caught up in all of the advanced poses that I was going nowhere fast. As tempting as it is to push beyond our limits, we must master the basics or else we will easily give up. Build your foundation. Start small. Progress is not supposed to be fast. No matter what goal you are working towards, it will take time to get there. Islam did not come in one day, but rather it came over a 24 year period. Take your journey one step at a time and be patient.