We all want to feel good and look good. Exercising has a lot of health benefits for us, but it's not always easy to stay on track and persist in reaching our goals. If you're struggling with motivation, here are some useful mental hacks to keep you going.
Rituals and habits
A study that was conducted at the University of London in 2009 showed that it takes around two months for a person to form a habit. Forming a habit actually means adopting a new action into our everyday behaviour and doing it spontaneously and automatically, just like brushing your teeth or drinking morning coffee. Keep this in mind and try to work out at the same time each day by creating consistent rituals. For example, get up early and have a healthy breakfast, then go to the gym. Set yourself a clear and defined schedule so that you start your work out at the same time every day. Your brain will get used to this, and every time you hit the gym – it will be easier than the last time. Sure, it isn’t easy to start, that is where your will power kicks in. You have to invest a minimum of energy to decide to go down this road, but it doesn’t need to be that difficult if you keep in mind the fact that, after two months – it is likely to become your routine.
Nobody ever regretted going to the gym
…but you do regret when you skip your workout. If it is cold and rainy outside, and you really don’t feel like going out at all, push yourself out of your cocoon! If you manage to overcome your laziness and honestly do your workout, you will feel victorious and extremely satisfied. Your confidence will increase, and you will thank yourself for doing it. Every time you feel like skipping a workout, just try to remember that amazing feeling.
Get hooked on a feeling
More than ever, people are talking about the psychological benefits of working out. You will experience a confidence boost and feel your energy level rise, too. People will percieve you as much more attractive, and you will radiate positive energy. The levels of adrenaline and endorphins will increase, which will make you feel happier. Overall, you’ll begin to ask yourself how you ever got along without your new routine. Your body will start changing because of your own efforts, and that will create a great victorious feeling. You will feel healthier, your skin will clear up and get a glow. You will feel much more in balance: your changing appearance will put you in a good mood, but also – your good mood will affect your appearance.
Realize it’s all up to you
With proper nutrition and exercise, our bodies can be quickly transformed. There is not much science to it: if you want to lose weight and create the best version of you, all you have to do is maintain a healthful diet and a good workout plan. There is a misconception that a healthful diet means always being hungry or eating tasteless food. From my own experience, I can only say: on the contrary! It tastes better, is better for you, and makes you feel good.
Realizing that it all depends on you and that only you can give yourself the body you wish for and deserve – can be liberating. There are two main obstacles in your way: laziness and wishful thinking (that is, expecting instant results from one visit to the gym). Well, guess what? You are in control of both things! You yourself are the only thing that’s standing in your way. So, get up and be patient. As they say: it didn’t take a day to put on those pounds, it won’t take a day to lose them, either. Get your motivation fueled up by reading inspirational stories and make yourself understand that it is possible, it is just a matter of time. That is – if you choose to persist.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
Most trainers will say that you have to stay focused on your goal all the time. Some may even suggest finding a picture of a body type similar to what you wish to achieve. Of course, you should stay focused, but don’t work yourself up about it. From my personal experience, it is much better for you to enjoy the process of working out, instead of trying to measure results constantly. That way, you might put too much pressure on yourself, which can be very counter-productive. Your body will start feeling stressed out and start realising cortisol. All the benefits of working out will diminish, and you’ll be more likely to feel exhausted or even desperate. So, just relax and enjoy yourself, results will come. Also, a very important thing: losing weight through dieting isn’t the same thing as losing weight through dieting AND working out. By working out, you will construct a lean body by building muscles, while by simply dieting – you’re just reducing fat, without building muscles. So, stay away from the scale: muscles weigh much more than fat, so it’s possible that your scale will show a few numbers more, but it shouldn’t concern you.
Get a workout buddy
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s worth mentioning. A workout buddy will pull you out of your pyjamas and make you go to the gym. It’s actually a great support system and a relationship with weird honor codes. Thou shalt never leave a workout buddy in the lurch!
Buy nice workout gear
This may sound a bit superficial, but it is actually a great mental hack. Buying new gym clothes will lift your morale and will motivate you to exercise. Your self-assurance will increase as you watch your body become more defined and your gym gear fits better than ever.
Think about the feeling you get after the workout
You’re sweaty, but you did it. You may be tired, but it’s a pleasent kind of tired. You are happy and proud of yourself, because today – you are one day closer to reaching your goal. Your mind thinks more clearly, and your everyday tasks seem easier.
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