Your Own Worst Enemy: The Psychology of Fitness

As you begin or continue your health and fitness journey, you’re probably emphasizing the physical benefits that’ll ultimately result after you adopt an entirely new and healthy lifestyle.
Planning out your new routine and taking the first steps in changing your life is easy compared to the psychological aspects of health and fitness.
In fact, the greatest hindrance to achieving your health and fitness goals won’t be an inability to perform physical activities or change your diet, but rather a difficulty remaining motivated and continuing positive self-talk.
The Desire to Succeed
When you set a health or fitness goal, it has to come from within. Your doctor or loved ones might strongly suggest that you begin a diet to help you lose weight, but you likely won’t succeed until you decide to address this aspect of your life on your own terms.
Sometimes it takes a traumatic event like a heart attack, an emotional plea from loved ones, or reaching a point of pure dissatisfaction to encourage you to make lifestyle changes to better yourself.
No matter why you’re pursuing these goals, you need to be passionate about them and genuinely want to achieve them.
The Role of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
One of the greatest risks of beginning a lifestyle change is a somewhat secret lack of motivation. Though you might truly want to better yourself, history of poor health experiences and lack of desire to input a significant effort will undoubtedly hold you back.
This could lead to a concept known as a self-fulfilling prophecy. These usually occur when you actively “predict” that something will go wrong and sometimes even make a continuous effort to prove yourself right.
Here are a few ways that this type of mindset can impact your ability to improve yourself.
● They require a constant focus on negative experiences rather than acknowledging achievements.
● You might be looking for any possible reason to cease your efforts and return to your previous lifestyle.
● You’re essentially setting yourself up for failure.
● Usually, you’re more concerned with being right than bettering yourself.
When you feel forced to change your lifestyle and develop new habits, your likelihood of failure rapidly increases. That’s why you need to select goals based on your own desires rather than pursuing the goals that others set for you.
Setting Realistic Goals
In reference to sabotaging yourself and your efforts to improve your health and fitness, setting realistic goals can greatly improve your chances of reaching them. When you set an unrealistic goal, you’re more likely to experience failure and give up.
The best way to tackle this concept is by setting several small goals rather than one large goal. For example, it would be much more beneficial to set a goal of losing 10 pounds per month rather than setting a lofty goal like losing 120 pounds in a year.
When you set smaller goals, you’re more likely to experience a frequent sense of success and continue your journey. Each time you hit that 10-pound weight loss, you’re more motivated to continue on to the next month.
These goals can also help to hold you accountable. When you set an extremely long-term goal, you aren’t necessarily held accountable until the final weigh-in that’ll occur in a year. With monthly goals, however, you can more easily track your progress and continue a more consistent effort on a monthly basis.
Final Thoughts
In reality, it’s possible that you just don’t want to change. You might be content with the current status of your health or lack the motivation to make lifestyle changes.
At the end of the day, nobody is forcing you to eat a healthy meal, go to the gym, or run at the local park. The only person that could implement lifestyle changes in your life is you. You simply need to find the motivation to set and chase your goals.

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