So you watched Baywatch movie’s new trailer— all the leading characters looking jaw-dropingly gorgeous with their toned (and perfect) physique. In awe, you pledged instantly to rock the same body. In fact, so motivated right now, you promised yourself to get that dreamy shape in less than “one month”.
The inner-you is doing ballerina, thinking about how in just next 30 days, your best self-version will be out in the world, grabbing eyeballs, wowing the other sex and charming just about everyone on the way.
Fast forward one month, you’re tired, drained and out of all the will to hit the gym. Goodbye dreams!!!
This scenario is quite common on the fitness scene. Beginners fail to reach their ambitious goals. Why? First, their goals themselves are unrealistic; second, their whole approach is wrong.
If you’ve just started working out, to help you stick in your endeavors with just as much excitement and motivation, we bring you psychological hacks.
Here are 11 psychological hacks to EASILY pursue the toughest fitness goals-
1. Have a definite and well-written fitness goal
Setting well-defined goal is the most essential part of achieving anything and everything. It avoids the vagueness, and gives you a starting point and destination to reach. It helps you determine your priorities and brings more of commitment, concentration and consistency in your efforts.
In fact, this is what a Harvard Business Study revealed. It found that people who have written goals are 13 times more likely to succeed in their endeavors than those who don’t have goals and plans. Sadly, the same study found, 83 percent of the population doesn’t have goals.
So what kind of physique do you want to have in the next few months, how much weight do you plan to lose/gain in the coming days, do you want to work out more on your forearm, your butt or the abs? Know exactly what you are looking for and write it down on a piece of paper; be as detailed as possible. However tough the task-at-hand is, if you know its what’s, how’s and when’s, you can achieve it easily.
2. Tune in the motivating and psychedelic songs
Songs can do a lot more than just entertain you. And you probably know this already!! The right music can swing your feelings and even opinions. Stepping over your anxiety and procrastination, it can get you in the right set of mood that pushes you to do things beyond your comfort zone.
A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology, conducted back in 2013, found that listening to positive music can improve people’s mood and boost their happiness in just 15 days. And when happier, unsurprisingly, you can get to your goals much easily.
So it’s time now to give your playlist a reshuffle. Move aside those country and R&B music and welcome new motivating and psychedelic songs. Tune into them not just while working out but throughout to keep yourself hyped and positive.
3. Have a fitness role model that you can look up to
“Role models provide learning and inspiration which helps individuals to define themselves.”
Being yourself and following your own suite is very important. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have role models in your life. In fact, having, in your life, a person (or more), who have walked – or is walking – the same path that you want to walk on is very important to keep yourself in the right direction. You can look up to them and realize, regardless the largeness of your goals, that it’s possible. And your half the battle is won right here.
Multiple studies have found and countless psychology-related books have elaborated how a person can positively influence the young minds to undertake big tasks and make life-changing decisions.
So to reach your big fitness goals, pick a role model; someone who you want to be like, whose work ethic you admire, whose words get you on your toes to get things done. It can by anyone from Dwayne Johnson, Chris Evans and Gigi Hadid to your friends and family members.
4. A workout buddy
Everything gets much easier and fun when you’re with your friends. In fact, pick any success story and you will find there wasn’t just one person behind that but a group of friends who motivated each other when things weren’t looking good, who pushed the others when they were feeling down. That’s how now-billion dollar worth companies were found from Apple to Facebook.
Carlin Flora, an author and former editor at Psychology Today, says “If you truly want to change some aspect of your life, developing friendships with people who aspire to the same goals as you do… can lead to more successful endeavors than embarking on solitary efforts.”
So don’t hit the gym or track alone. Have a friend-cum-workout buddy by you; a person who’s optimist and who you love to spend time with. She/he will inspire you to work harder; there will be a competitive feeling between the two, which will push you to do better than the other.
5. Set small challenges – have mini goals
Tracking your progress regularly is something very important. It tells you where you are, where you have to go and how you can get there. And when seeing evident positive outcome, you get motivated to continue harder and achieve your bigger goals with much passion and enthusiasm.
In an article of prestigious California Polytechnic State University, it says “Setting mini-goals can be very beneficial, not only in establishing confidence and a sense of self achievement, but also in getting things done effectively. Instead of being overwhelmed with the idea that your research paper is due in four days, break it up so you can pace your work and get the project done in the allotted time.”
So while you have a definite, well-written, long-term fitness goal, you must split the bigger picture into the small ones. How much weight you want to gain in a week, by how many minutes are you going to increase your workout sessions’ duration every day, and so forth.
6. Reward yourself every so often
You’re working hard towards your bigger goals that would take some time. And it could get boring and tiresome pretty soon if you don’t spice things up. You can lose interest quickly if you don’t reward yourself every so often.
Author Gretchen Rubin, in her books Better Than Before, tells about a ‘Strategy of Treats’ to change habits and get better. She says, “When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command — and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.”
So don’t be so hard on you with your tough fitness regimen. Treat yourself often. Have selected ‘cheat days’ when you take break from your strict diet and feed on your favorite delicacies. Take breaks between workout days and weeks. Go on a vacation to rejuvenate.
7. Join a group of like-minded people
When you see others working to achieve the same goals as yours, you feel at home and motivated. A group of like-minded, positive people – much like your workout buddy – will keep you active and aware of your purpose—what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
A study conducted at Harvard, involving 1,648 students, found that social support was the greatest predictor of happiness during periods of high stress. And high level of happiness transcends into better outcomes from all your efforts.
So if you aren’t already a part of any fitness group, join one right away—or start a group yourself. A group of everyone who works out with you at the gym; have meet-ups every weekend and talk about individual goals, struggles and a lot more. You can easily find or create such groups online.
8. Use ‘Seinfeld strategy’ for higher productivity everyday
“Was I productive today” is a question you should ask every night to ensure you’re on the right path to achieve what you have set out to achieve. If the answer is “NO” for a long time, you should definitely make some unsettling changes in your life.
Jerry Seinfeld is possibly one of the best comedians of all time. Once asked about his high level of consistency in his achievements, he revealed his strategy to a young comedian Brad Isaac, which, today, is known as Seinfeld Strategy.
Here’s Isaac, “He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day…. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
So maintain your own fitness calendar and ask yourself every night “Am I satisfied with my workout sessions?” If yes, put an X on that date; after few days you’ll be motivated to keep that cross going. And if the answer to that question is “NO” for a long period, you would definitely need to shake things up; change your regimen, coach, buddy or even gym, if needed.
9. Change your fitness regimen for a fresh feel
If you’re doing the same thing everyday – following the same routine for months – your enthusiasm will simmer down, you’ll get fed. And when you’re not fully focused and dedicated in something, the outcome will be far less than desired. Plus that comfort bubble will make you feel that everything’s fine, when in reality you are not progressing and growing.
Foretelling the benefits of mixing up workout routine, an article on Popsugar reads, “Adding variety to your workouts will keep your exercises from becoming ineffective. If you run at the same speed on the treadmill everyday for 20 minutes, your body will eventually hit a plateau. You will still be burning calories, but you’ll need to increase your resistance levels or speed if you want to really maximize results.”
So have you been following the same fitness regimen for long, working the same routine every day, your outcome will come down. To that, doing the same rep and sets will bore you and ground your motivation. So shake things up; talk to your trainer and add new exercises, deadlines.
10. Talk to the Naysayers
Regardless what you’re doing in your life, there will always be one person who will disapprove everything. She/he will de-motivate you, tells you that it’s not possible and you can never achieve what you have set out to. You can either feel down with these naysayers or motivate yourself to keep going and prove yourself to everybody.
Psychology Today, in fact, says that criticism can, at times, be even more powerful motivator that praises and advices. And we have heard such countless success stories proving this theory.
So talk to the people who always criticize you, who always say that you can’t achieve your fitness goals and they never have nice words for you. Feed on their negative energy, tell them “watch me” and hit the gym with full energy and an unshakable will.
11. Maintain a fitness journal or blog
When you track your progress and see yourself going somewhere, you get excited and motivated to push things even further to get better outcome. No wonder, we’re always advised to keep a daily journal to get productive.
Bestselling Author and speaker Robin Sharma, in his blog, says “keeping a journal on a regular basis boosts mental focus, increases self-confidence, elevates your mental attitude and increases the levels of happiness that you feel.”
So maintain a daily fitness journal. Write about your goals, achievements, setbacks and how you feel after every workout session. Or you can even maintain a blog as well. Letting the world know about your story – or being a loud mouth, which is saying about ambitious goals to everyone – will make you accountable and push you even beyond to save from embarrassment of failure.
12. Invest in the right fitness apparels
The way you dress have a long list of affects on how you feel and how you perform. Speaking first on the psychological affect the right apparels have is you feel much more confident and excited, which subsequently boosts your performance. From the quality-view of the apparels, the tops, bottoms and outwears made using technical fabrics highlight active wicking and ventilation properties, which enables the wearers work out for longer and get maximum outcome from their sessions.
In fact, in an interesting study, published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, it was found that people who exercised in red could lift heavier weights and had higher average heart rates, indicating they were working harder than those wearing blue, even though both groups reported similar rates of exertion.
Now you don’t necessarily have to invest in the red fitness apparels, but sure must purchase high-quality, performance-enhancing t-shirts, bottoms, jackets and more.
These are 12 psychological hacks to pursue even the toughest of your fitness goals – easily – with just as much excitement and motivation. Good Luck!!!