Many of us will set fitness goals and think purely about the aesthetic results we’d like to see from all of our hard work. It’s a trap that many people fall into and focusing purely on how we look can set us up for failure or disappointment early on.
Your fitness goals shouldn’t be just about creating a stronger, leaner body, they should also factor in the other health benefits, both mentally and physically.
Speak to any personal trainer and they’ll tell you that it takes a strong mind and body connection to be able to see results and reach your goals. If you’ve ever trained for a run or a marathon, you’ll have experienced this mind and body struggle. I notice it when I head out for a run, if I’m tracking time for intervals and I know I’m counting down the final few seconds, I automatically become more tired and my legs become heavier, simply because my mind knows it’ll be over soon.
Your Brain Has More Control Over Your Body Than You Think
You may think that your muscles will just keep going as long as you keep pushing, but all it takes is one negative thought to make your energy levels drop and the feeling of failure to kick in.
I’ve talked a little bit about the control the mind has when I’ve spoken about my experiences with anxiety and even though it is a mental illness, it creates physical symptoms. The brain is constantly sending signals all around your body to keep it functioning and tell it what to do. Your squishy brain is the director and CEO of the business that is your body and your muscles, joints and internal organs make up the team.
You are the little engine that could, willing itself to get up the hill, so surely it only makes sense that you would strengthen your mind, in order to help you strengthen your body?
Setting Fitness Goals Through Mindfulness
Becoming more mindful and integrating that into your everyday fitness routine, will not only help you be more aware of the changes you are making but also give you the mental strength to push even harder.
You’ll be able to better appreciate the smaller changes that are happening, such as an increase in strength, energy or happiness. Many people are so obsessed with the number on the scale, or whether they can see definition or if they can fit in those jeans they bought but could never fasten.
We are always so consumed with achieving aesthetic goals, that we completely miss the other benefits that a good fitness routine can have. When you start out on a fitness journey, take into consideration how you’d like this new routine to make you feel. What other things do you want from it? How else could it benefit you and positively affect other areas of your life?
Finding Success With Mindfulness
I’ve set out to achieve a number of health and fitness goals over the last few years. Some of them I have accomplished, but most of them I’ve failed at. The ones I did accomplish, I did in an unhealthy way that ended up doing more harm than good.
This time around, I wanted to make sure that I set fitness goals that I could achieve through healthier and more mentally friendly means. This time I wanted to see how different it would be to marry physical fitness with mental health and I’m seeing a huge shift in my outlook and perspective.
I’ve removed any of the pressure of deadlines, so no longer am I beating myself up about missing my leg day on a Wednesday or believing that I’m a complete failure, because I’ve only managed 1 workout that week. By taking away the all or nothing mentality that I had before, I enjoy my workouts more, I have a better relationship with food and I can feel myself becoming mentally stronger.
Life is for Living
I think sometimes we get too hung up on fitness goals or weight loss goals, we end up avoiding doing certain things in fear of them getting in the way of reaching said goals. It’s all well and good wanting to be stronger, wanting to look stronger and be fit and healthy, but if you find you’re sacrificing the other, fun things in life, is it actually worth it?
Don’t just be mindful of the benefit your fitness goals have for you, also be mindful of how obsessed you become and how it is fitting in with normal life. Create a balance and not only will you smash your goals, you’ll have the best time doing it!