Fitness success isn’t just achieved by putting in the hours at your martial arts gym. That’s just part of the equation. Fitness is almost as much mental as it is physical. And a lot of thoughts that run through your brain directly affect how you perform physically on any given day.
As such, there are certain things you can do, certain habits you may want to apply to your life, that will help set you up for fitness success.
Sometimes during your workouts, you can get distracted by your thoughts, mostly involving daily life, work life, or personal relationships, among others. These all derail your train of thought from what you should be focused on, and that’s improving your health and fitness.
Be smart and engage your mind. Only then will you be able to unlock the pathway to success when it comes to fitness.
We’ve come up with a few points for you to ponder, that will help you on your journey. Today, Evolve Daily shares five ways to set yourself up mentally for your fitness success.
1) Don’t forget about your ‘why’
Many people embark on their fitness journeys for various reasons. Whatever your purpose, it will serve you well to constantly remind yourself why you’re doing this. Don’t ever forget.
Whether it’s wanting to lose weight and get fit for a special occasion like a wedding, a birthday party, and the like. Or maybe you’re looking to improve your health and turn your life around. Every time you’re in the gym, always remember why you’re there, pounding away when you could be on the couch watching Netflix.
In many ways, working out and exercising each day is suffering. It’s tough, we can all attest to that. The late great boxing legend Muhammad Ali said it best.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
Ali knew he wanted to be a world champion, and he knew exactly what he needed to do to become one — hard work in the gym daily, pushing himself to the limit, and doing what others weren’t willing to do. As a result, he became one of the greatest boxers of all time. Strive to be like Ali.
2) Don’t fret over missing small goals
As the saying goes: “to err is human but to forgive is divine.” In life, there are many different roadblocks and setbacks that we will encounter daily. While it might feel fantastic to get over all these hurdles successfully, we should also forgive ourselves on days when we slip.
Sometimes, we just cannot work out for many different reasons, some legit, some not so valid. Or sometimes, we cave in and eat something that we’re not supposed to. Sometimes the temptation of a glazed donut is simply too much to overcome. But you know what? That’s perfectly okay.
As humans, we are imperfect beings. We will make mistakes. It’s important to know that when we do, it’s not the end of the world. One night bingeing over nachos won’t erase a week’s worth of sweat and tears in the gym, unless you let it.
Grit and resilience are two very essential ingredients for success in your fitness journey. The most important thing is that you get back on the saddle and continue to work your way towards your fitness goals. Never stop, never give up.
3) Trust the process
This third point is so important, because good things take time. Every worthwhile result is due to the hard work you’ve put in, and not some magical pill that you take. There really is no shortcut to achieving your dream body. But you have to trust yourself, and trust the process.
You have to be willing to sacrifice, even when you think things aren’t working out. It’s best to keep in mind that fitness is a long journey, and you won’t get results overnight.
It takes at least 8-12 weeks to see significant change in your body. Most experts say that lasting results also take a long time to finally achieve. Be patient with your body. If you give it enough time and are consistent and patient with your workouts, you’ll soon reap the rewards of a fitter and healthier body.
A lot of people fall off the wagon and just give up when they could have been so close to hitting their targets. Don’t let yourself fall down that rabbit hole. Your body and your life are complex as they are, don’t beat yourself down, make it a learning point, and just continue with the journey. Trust the process, and the results will soon follow.
4) Change the way you view yourself
There really are no two ways about it. If you want to change your life, you have to change the way you live. A new you means you need to alter your viewpoint of yourself.
You need to stop thinking about yourself as a failure, and start viewing yourself as a winner. And then you need to start making winner choices. This means that you must take on the weighted responsibility of making better life decisions like improving your nutrition, getting rid of bad vices like smoking and drinking, going to bed early, meditating each morning, for example.
When you change the way you view yourself, you become a better person. You adopt a more positive self-image. Before you can fix your outward self, you must take care of your inner self.
So the next time your friends ask you to come out to a night full of indulgence, ask yourself, is it really worth it? Do you really want to drink a dozen beers and stuff your face with starch and carbohydrates? Or do you want to run a couple of miles in the park instead? Remember, real change starts from within.
5) No black and white thinking
Last but certainly not least, be flexible when it comes to your goals. Don’t resign yourself to a black-and-white thought process.
Our success on this fitness journey is predicated on a ton of variables. Just because you told yourself you would work out every day of the week, doesn’t mean you absolutely cannot skip a day to rest if you really needed it. Adjust your goals and your methods as you go along. Adjust them to suit your lifestyle.
When we resign ourselves to black-and-white thinking, we open up to a lot of disappointment. On this specific journey, we will fail. And we will fail often. It’s inevitable. Learn to embrace failure for what it is, a learning opportunity and part of the process, and success will become clearer for you each day.
The legendary martial arts hero, Bruce Lee, said it best.
“Be like water.”
Water can assume any shape and adapt to its surroundings accordingly. Fill a cup with water, and the water becomes the cup. Put the same water in a bottle, and the water becomes the bottle.
Make adjustments and adapt to your situation based on your own personal experience. The adjustments you make will lead you to fitness success.
This article, "How To Mentally Set Yourself Up For Fitness Success", originally appeared on Evolve MMA, Asia’s No. 1 martial arts organisation.