When we set out our running clothes the night before a 5 a.m. run, but only manage to hit the snooze when morning comes, it is a step. If we hop in our car and only make it to the whirlpool at our gym instead of the 3 laps in the pool we originally planned, well, at least we showed up and did something. These small steps can help form a foundation for greater things to come. Not acknowledging these things tells us that we failed and makes our end goal seem further away. Keeping a journal helps, too. It is a great way to keep track of these steps and keep it positive/goal oriented.
Be tenacious and go get it!
We all go through what many describe as an early gap of in-action. It’s a period when we already know the benefits of doing the exercise, we can imagine the results, but our biggest hurdle to success is ourselves. Some would say it’s the most difficult phase in getting fit. Part of the challenge could derive from Newton’s law of inertia: a body at rest stays at rest without a force to move it. Another reason could also be that it’s simply too difficult to do it alone.
Over the years as a psychotherapist, I have observed how the human spirit can be elevated when there is a perceived source of social support. The obstacles to finding this vein of support can vary. For some, their biggest life hurdle could be venturing out and finding a job, or for others, leaving a bad relationship. However, the core of the issue, the need for social connection, is common between all of these cases. Staying fit and changing to a healthier lifestyle is similar. We may need a gentle nudge of sorts to get moving or a nurturing support to turn once we have taken a bold step -risk. But how can we find the support we need? Here are 5 tips to get the needed social boost:
Sometimes we are hard pressed to even think that a friend would be willing to do a 5 a.m. power-walk with us. Last summer, I bought this fancy tennis racquet with the intent of rounding up some friends to play, but in the end, I could only recruit my three-year-old. For a host of reasons, no one else wanted to play. Needless to say, there were not very many volleys that summer.
Thankfully in these situations, we can use social media to our advantage. If you do not have any takers among your immediate circle of friends, you can always reach out to your Facebook network of friends. If you still cannot recruit those people within your network, you can always search for fitness and health-related groups. The advantage on Facebook is that we can see individual participants and message them directly. People in these groups may know of clubs in the area or can offer some direction. You may also go directly to the website to get more in-depth organization details.
Family can also be a huge support on various levels. If they cannot workout with us, family members can do many other things to offer their support. For some family, even the simplest verbal acknowledgement that we are attempting to do something different can be a huge source of motivation. This could give us the space needed as we work through the awkward early stages of this new workout routine. More emotionally involved family members can offer to send us an encouraging text, support your food choices, or agree not to leave their unhealthy foods in plain sight. If they agree to join us in our work out, even better.
For those of us who want a more structured form of support, a trainer or a coach might be a good option. Some trainers can come to your home or meet in a place more conducive to the workout. Many independent trainers prefer to meet in a park or a community center due to non-compete clauses held by many gyms.
If you are seeking a trainer and belong to a gym, their staff might be a good place to start. They know every nook and cranny of the gym and can at least offer a few tips to get us started. Some gyms even offer a complimentary session which would be a good opportunity to ask those fitness related questions you may have. If formal coaches are not our thing, taking a class such as yoga or spinning may reduce some of the one-on-one intensity of a coach, and there will be plenty of opportunities to meet people with similar interests.
Chances are that if you are reading this, you are already aware of fitness support apps. If you have not already, try to explore the Argus fitness community. There are many individuals like us who share their fitness successes, challenges, and insights. It is a great place to check in if you are not sure if you are ready for committing to a trainer.
I saved the best for last. If we cannot consider ourselves as a resource, we would never be able to initiate the rest of our goals. The desire to push past this feeling is a huge part of the mental game. Stephen Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says, "start with the end in mind." From a sports psychology perspective, this means knowing what we wish to achieve. Lose 20 pounds? Get totally ripped in three months? Or live a healthier lifestyle? Having a clear goal gives great direction.
The last thing I want to mention is that I find so many cheat themselves out of the small successes.
Erica is a psychotherapist and humanitarian aid coordinator who has a background in health psychology, global health, and addictions. She has over 16 years of counseling, teaching, and coaching experience. Erica has several masters degrees, is a licensed counselor, and has an addiction certification. She has worked with all ages in the US and abroad. Follow Erica on Twitter. Se habla español.
Main Photo Credit: Maksim Ladouski/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Syda Productions/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Halfpoint/shutterstock.com