Mental Strategies to Reach Your Health and Fitness Goals

Many of us have health and fitness goals where forward progress seems to elude us.  For whatever reason, days pass with no change.  Figuring out your underlying motivation and then planning a strategy for success can change your stagnant goal from a dream to a reality.

  •           Establish Your Motivation

A key question to ask yourself is: Why am I really doing this?  Identifying what motivates you can be the difference between getting up early to go for a morning workout or hitting the snooze — again.  In my case, setting a time goal for an upcoming 10K race helps me accomplish two goals.  It helps keep exercise a part of my daily life and I love the feeling of success on race day. When I envision completing my race at my goal time, my morning training run suddenly becomes more important than the extra sleep.  So if you’re struggling at the gym or struggling to make a healthy meal plan, use that established motivation to help you make the better choice.

What motivates and inspires you?  Why do you want to achieve the goal?  What is stopping you from achieving it?

  •          Postpone Impulses That Stand Between You and Your Goal

 The small decisions we make every day make a big impact on our long-term commitment to fitness and health.  Often our small, daily decisions are governed by our emotional state in the moment.  It’s hard to fight a strong desire to devour that Pop Tart you’re craving.  But each decision has the potential to establish a habit, which can either help or hinder our long-term goals.  Even though it seems like a minor misstep, it lays the groundwork for future decisions.  That’s why it’s important to stop and think before you act.

 What if you postponed the impulse to cheat for 24 hours?  If you still want that Pop Tart tomorrow, or you need a rest from the gym, go ahead and take it.  More than likely, the urge to give up on your health and fitness goals will be gone.  You’ll feel good about the progress you’re making and you’ll be one step closer to your objective.

  • Consistency and Accountability

 A lot of people scratch their heads about why they are not achieving their desired results.  It can be discouraging when you feel like you eat pretty well and exercise but still aren’t where we want to be.  Maybe what’s missing is consistency.  Consistency is critical to success in health and fitness but it can be quite difficult. Why?  No one always feels motivated to go to the gym or eat healthy food all the time.   That’s where accountability comes into play.  Accountability keeps us consistent because we have to report back to somebody what we’re doing – or not doing — at the gym and in the kitchen.  If someone is checking up on us, we are much more likely to push ourselves a little harder.

 Why not set a goal – big or small — and tell a friend about it?  Make a deal to send them a text every day letting them know you’ve completed your goal.  If they don’t hear from you, ask your friend to text you to check in and help get you back on track.

 Overcoming your mental barriers to success can be the biggest challenge to achieving your health goals.  Take the time to figure out what motivates or inspires you. Then use it as support once you start the work of managing negative impulses and keeping your efforts consistent.  There is no question changing your daily habits is hard work but setting aside time to plan and mentally prepare can make all the difference.  I promise you will like the results.