With over a decade of experience as a personal trainer I have met with thousands of people looking to change their health, appearance, confidence, and physical capabilities. I have had the privilege of watching so many of these people set and achieve their goals, making lasting changes to their lives. I have also been dismayed by the even larger number of people who start off with great intentions and high motivation and yet fall short of their potential.
What separates the successful from frustrated? How can you prevent yourself from falling into the second category? The formula for success is actually fairly simple, it just takes effort.
Change Your Mindset
In order to make any lasting change, we must first decide that we want it. You must be determined that you are no longer going to settle for the status quo.
Check Your Attitude
Research has shown that how you feel toward exercise deeply affects your willingness to do so. Evaluate your self-talk by filling in the blank: “Exercising regularly is ____________ to me”. If you find that you automatically fill in that sentence with a negative word then you are much less likely to stick to a program. Choose a positive word to substitute and spend time each day affirming that attitude in your mind. Tell yourself that regular exercise is FUN or VITAL or IMPORTANT. The more you say it, the more it will become engrained into your subconscious and the more enjoyable exercise will become.
Set Specific, Frequent Goals Goal setting is not a one-and-done thing.
Frequent goal setting has been strongly associated with positive behavioral changes. Reevaluate your goals on an ongoing basis. In addition, setting task-related goals has been proven to be more effective than simply setting one overall goal. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t just focus on the number on the scale. Set goals for gym frequency, length of workouts and nutritional targets. Goals of this nature are much more likely to ensure success.
Surround yourself with others who know your goals and believe in you. Find people who will motivate you, hold you accountable and even participate with you. Emotional support is a key ingredient in fitness success.
Believe in Yourself
Confidence is directly linked with success. You MUST believe that you can achieve your goals. Even when the journey seems long and your ultimate goal seems so far away, believe it will happen. Picture it. Plan for it. Expect it.
The keys to fitness results are not complicated. But, they require patience and perseverance. If you find yourself off track or giving up then reset your mind and attitude. Reach out to your support system and reevaluate your goals. Stay positive and just keep pressing forward. You can do this!!
Chatzisaranatis, N & Haggar, M. (2005). Effects of a brief intervention based on the theory of planned behavior on leisure time physical activity participation. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 27:470-487.
Nothwehr, F & Yang, J. (2007) Goal setting frequency and the use of behavioral strategies related to diet and physical activity, Health Education Research. Volume 22(4): 532–538.