Five mental secrets to great exercise

Five mental secrets to great exercise

How are your New Year’s fitness resolutions going? Are you still persevering, or thinking about giving up? Perhaps you’ve already thrown in the towel?

Turning over a new fitness leaf is hugely rewarding. But it’s not easy, and now is the time of year when many fitness resolutions are abandoned.

For most people the mental battle must be overcome. By now many ambitious exercisers are facing adversity – lack of time, injury, tiredness, you name it.

Anyone can face and beat their mental demons provided they are aware of them – even for those who have given up, it’s still possible to get going again and salvage something during this year. We’re less than half way through – if you pick it up again and make it through the year it will be an achievement.

If you feel it’s a struggle, consider the following five mental secrets commonly used by elite athletes but available to everyone:

  1. Be flexible: Many exercise regimes falter at the first injury or setback, as people struggle to cope with a break in routine.

Often people are too ambitious at the outset, and need to manage their goals. Flexibility will allow you to adapt and keep going.

You will encounter roadblocks, you may need to change routine, but if you stay positive and see it as part of the journey then you’ll be better able to accommodate these changes.

  1. Embrace effort: There are times when the effort seems overwhelming, particularly if you have set yourself big goals. For example, you may be preparing long-term for a big event. Breaking it down into smaller, achievable lots can provide a big psychological boost.

Progress may not always be as fast as you like, but by always remembering where you came from you’ll appreciate the effort and be positive about keeping it up.

  1. Welcome criticism: You may encounter some criticism, perhaps from trainers, team-mates or exercise partners, but provided it’s constructive, and from someone you trust then a positive mindset will enable you to take it on board, learn from it and improve. This is something elite athletes are particularly good at.
  2. Enjoy others’ success: Ego can be very destructive in fitness. A healthy mindset will always appreciate and admire our peers’ achievements, and understand that it is no reflection on us. In fact, we can use it for inspiration.
  3. Find like-minded partners: Having a workout buddy can be a huge help, but it’s vital you’re working out with someone who is on the same page as you, who shares a positive mindset and can help push you to new heights. Avoid adopting workout buddies who are negative or drag you down.