Take a moment and see yourself having achieved all your fitness and physical goals. How do you feel? What is running through your head? Chances are, you feel on top of the world, and rightfully so: Conquering ourselves and getting fit is an overlooked but deeply satisfying thing we can do.
This leads to the question, why still do so many people fail on their fitness quests? The answer is not far, one word, mindset. Mindset has different definitions, so let us dive in and better understand how you can develop a fitness mindset yourself.
What is a Mindset?
As just mentioned before, mindset has different definitions. Perhaps the most accurate would be this one:
The mindset is the combination of our beliefs and thoughts, a frame of mind. The mindset is what dictates how we see the world and ourselves. Ten different people can see the same news on TV, and each of them could perceive it differently, precisely because we carry different mindsets.
For example, if news breaks that a high school teacher has lost 100 pounds, one person might think, "Well, they probably have good genetics and have found the right diet" where another would conclude, "Healthy nutrition, a good training program, and consistency will get you there."
Notice how differently two people can see the same news. This is all thanks to the mindsets they carry. The first person likely believes that fitness is about having good genetics and the proper diet. The second person knows better: fitness is about effort, consistency, and a decent enough plan of action.
The goal, of course, is to start thinking like the second person. Which leads to the question, how to develop a fitness mindset? Let us dive in and check out the 4 crucial steps you need to take.
1. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
It is often said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If your average company is that of fit and active people, you are likely to become one, too. If your company is that of sedentary and overweight folks who believe that some ancient Chinese secret is the key to fitness, guess what: You are bound to become like them.
One of the best ways to elevate your mindset is to surround yourself with people who have achieved what you want to have one day. That way, you will pick up ideas, feel motivated, and slowly realize that improvements are entirely possible.
2. Push yourself past your perceived limitations.
The mind is often the most limiting factor. We typically perceive ourselves as tired and unable to keep going, but this is far from the truth.
The mind suggests that we can not do it anymore, and we believe it. Here is an experiment you can do the next time you exercise:
Push yourself to your perceived limit and note how you feel. Chances are, you will be exhausted. Now, push a bit further. If you are running, do another 100 yards. If you are lifting weights, do another three reps.
More than likely, you will be able to do that, and it will not be the end of the world. Pushing yourself a bit too hard occasionally can be beneficial because it teaches you that you can do more than you think.
3. Treat failures like a scientist would.
As Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed. I have just found 10'000 ways that will not work." The truth is many people feel petrified of failure. They need to find the perfect diet and training plan, or they do not bother.
But here is the thing: Nobody can predict how you will react to a given training program or diet – figuring that out comes down to trial and error. As you expose yourself to different approaches, you develop an understanding of what works better for you. More importantly, you also develop a fitness mindset because you see that change is possible, and different approaches can work for you. It is a journey, and you can also move forward step by step.
4. Set SMART goals.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example:
Lose 10 pounds of fat in the next eight weeks. Setting such goals is vital because it makes it easier for you to create an actionable plan and break it down into smaller objectives. Plus, even if you do not achieve the goal as written, you will still make good progress. You might want to consider that you might not lose weight when you work out as you build muscle. Additionally, you might want to use a measure-band to track your actual progress.
Seeing success (especially early on) is vital for morale, and it is one of the first steps toward developing a fitness mindset.