Working out consistently is tough for anyone. It's even worse is you're not in the right mindset. When you are having trouble with the day to day grind of life, it makes it darn near impossible to even think about being physically active. At that point you're just trying to get through the day with as little to no fuss as possible. To even scratch the surface of effectively working out, one must mentally prepare themselves to be in the right mindset. Here are some points to help you begin your fitness journey.
1. Be Kind to Yourself
In a world, which tells us that we need improving every minute, every second of everyday, it's no surprise that most people have negative opinions of themselves. It's true we can all grow and become better, but you need to have a healthy appreciation of who you are too. That negative self-talk you do when you're not feeling great about yourself? Stop it. It is a toxic method of self-fulfilling prophecy that will do you no good. Obviously old habits die-hard, so whenever you hear yourself going to that kind of speech, stop what you're doing and say some positive things about yourself. It can be a simple nice truth or you really get into it. Whichever you decide make it a positive affirmation.
2. Stop Thinking and Start Doing
Let's be honest, we all secretly want to be "bikini ready" or look our best, and that's ok. Though most people believe achieving these physical heights to be next to impossible. With that being said, those achievements do not just happen overnight, or while sitting on the couch watching your favorite reality TV show. Many times I find that people are too intimidated to get a gym membership because of the mass amounts of people. That's totally ok. If that's the case for you, I'd recommend walking around your neighborhood or getting some affordable equipment at home. Yoga mats, dumbbells, exercise bands, etc can be bought at reasonable prices and won't break the bank. So whatever the barrier for you is, stop letting it hinder you and start figuring out your options.
3. Be Realistic
You don't have to be an exercise guru to get into exercise, but you need to have an approach that works for you and your level of fitness. Many people that start attempting a fitness routine start off incredibly ambitious. Meaning, they're doing exercises that seasoned athletes have trained years to get to. Then they get burned out almost as quickly as they started because they lose steam. Start at your own pace. I cannot stress this enough. It does not matter if it's 50 meters or 5 miles, do something that makes you break a sweat, but keeps you motivated enough to keep it up. It doesn't matter if you survived one day of super intense exercise if you do not maintain the routine. Once you start regularly doing your routine, then you can look to intensify it. Just make sure it's something you can handle.
4. Tailor Your Exercise to Fit Around Your Life
Sometimes it can feel like there are not enough hours in a day to breathe let alone exercise, but guess what, those extra lbs. are not going to disappear on their own. Whether it's in the morning, afternoon, or night, find a time that works best for you. If you have a busy work schedule, talk to your HR department to see if they have an employee wellness program. Many workplaces allocate an hour to their employees for fitness so check to see if your employer is one of them. Pack and plan ahead of time that way you're prepared. So if you're working out early in the morning, have your clothes ready and waiting at night, so you can get to it in the morning with little to no hassle. It pays to be prepared.
5. Be Patient
Rome wasn't built in a day, and your rock hard abs will not be either. Changing your physical appearance via fitness takes time and that variable changes with every person. There is no magic algorithm that can tell you precisely how your results will go. You just have to keep on keeping on to see the change. It is important that you don't compare your results with anyone else. It could set you up for disappointment and discourage you from continuing your fitness journey. Remember, you're doing more physical activity than you were when you were on the couch, so that means something.
Working out consistently has so many benefits, both mentally and physically. It increases your health and helps prevent many illnesses and ailments. Mentally you'll feel yourself become more relaxed, less anxious, and overall you'll just feel better. You'll also feel a boost in self-esteem. Exercise tends to have a cyclical effect on your mental and physical state; it makes both feel better. Don't be discouraged if you "fall off the exercise wagon". Whether it takes you a day or a month, dust yourself off and get back up. Your mind and body will thank you.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamarapaz/5221687986/">Tamara Paz</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>