Getting fitter requires a marriage of your mind and your body – by putting your thoughts into action you will literally be able to physically see and feel the results.
Once you’ve started taking those first steps towards a healthier, better you, it’s important to stay motivated so you can keep moving forward.
The best way to stay motivated is to pay attention to all your successes. Notice your results – losing weight, gaining muscle or even just compliments from your friends can help to provide positive reinforcement for what you want to achieve.
As with any project, setting goals, having a plan and marking important dates on your calendar can help you achieve the results you want.
Set both short and long term goals and make them realistic. A short term goal might simply be to make sure you exercise for the right number of times in the first week and then in the second and third week and so on.
A long term goal should be something you are really excited about and that will keep you motivated to achieve your short term goals. Perhaps there is an outfit you want to wear and look good in or maybe you want to be fit enough to join a particular sporting team or dance the night away.
While it is important to focus on your goals it is also important to make sure you listen to your body to avoid injuries that might set you back from achieving your targets. This means if your muscles feel sore, you may need to rest. Remember, regular exercise is more important than pushing yourself to your limit, so take it gently at first and gradually build up the length and intensity of your exercise.
There are three parts to any successful fitness program – exercise, rest and diet. When it comes to healthy eating, remember that six small meals a day of the right, healthy foods are better than three big meals and snack food in between.
Eventually, being healthy will become part of your lifestyle. But remember change takes time, so to start with, concentrate on one part of your program such as exercise and once that is part of your routine you can then start to change more of your daily habits.
Studies have shown that 21 days, or three weeks, is the minimum time it takes to replace your old habits with new ones. After three weeks your mind and body will accept your new routine and from that point onwards your fitness program should become easier. Many regular gym goers say that after the first three months, their need to exercise has become a powerful and motivating habit in itself.
So get the health habit – simply make a three month plan with short and long term goals, start slowly and listen to your body as you go. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you will achieve impressive results if you focus your mind and body as one.