Everyone’s had the experience of wanting to workout, but just not being able to do it. Some say it’s due to laziness. Some say it’s down to a lack of willpower. Others say it’s a natural consequence of the body’s innate drive to conserve energy. Whatever the cause, if you want to achieve your health and fitness goals, you need strategies to help you get past that mental block. Here are four techniques that will help you do just that.
Change Your Motivation
Sports psychologists have long been aware that health and fitness goals by themselves are not particularly motivating. Studies show that adherence to exercise programs is better when your goal is to either have fun, or improve your competence in a particular skill. So try sports, dancing, martial arts, gardening, hiking, or any other physical activity that either you will enjoy, or that you can build competence in.
People who set goals for their workout routines tend to stick to them better. However, your goal needs to be specific, and time-bound. So, “Get to blue belt before the end of the year” is better than “Improve at jiu jitsu.” The latter is nebulous, and you can easily reinterpret the goal in a way that gets you off the hook. The former is specific and gives a focus to your training.
Find a Friend
Once you’ve found a fun or challenging activity and set your goal for it, find a friend to go with. It’s much harder to blow off an exercise session if you’ll be letting another person down. What’s more, even if you are tempted one day to send an excuse to your buddy, there’s every chance that your partner won’t accept it and encourage you to go along anyway. You can also invent punishments and rewards for each other depending on your adherence to an agreed schedule.
Many studies have shown that mental imagery can increase your motivation to exercise, however, there’s a trick to it. Instead of visualizing the end goal, for example, by imagining yourself with the body you desire, you visualize the process. So you imagine yourself at the gym, dojo, or dance hall completing your routine. Try to see this from a first-person perspective, looking out from your own eyes, and make the visualization as realistic as possible.
Get Your Mind on Your Side
The mental block against the gym can be a strange experience. You want to go, but you don’t want to go at the same time. It’s like your mind is working against you. However, the techniques listed above will get your mind on your side, and help you get past the mental block against the gym.