So you have aspirations to get fit this year. Maybe you have written down some new year’s resolutions to go back to the gym.
You may have been a regular gym-goer in the not-to-distant past or maybe you were even an athlete at one point.
But you aren’t exercising now and you can’t seem to get started.
You know you should because you constantly hear your friends mentioning how they run 10K every morning; or the inundation of fitness posts on your social media feeds. They are constant reminders of your slothful lifestyle; like jabs to your ribs that don’t deliver the knockout power of a medical emergency, but just enough sting that you feel it and know your not doing your body any favours.
Despite all that social pressure, you still won’t go exercise.
Perhaps, all that social pressure has instead, entrenched you to become a non-conformist and pushed you to take the opposite side and to be defiantly unhealthy. You rationalize to yourself that life’s too short to bother with all that hard work.
You may have even tried going to the gym before and managed to do it on a regular basis for a while but yielded very little results so you gave up.
Some of you probably concede to the fact that your peers are just much more disciplined than you are.
And some of you don’t even contemplate about the reasons at all. The feeling of guilt for not exercising barely even registers on your radar.
Most of you probably do have this uneasy feeling. It isn’t a terrible slashing sensation like losing in the finals of a tennis tournament, but more of a mild, numbing, weight that resides deep within your chest.
Some of you may even have the power to hold off that deep feeling of dissatisfaction for years but the truth is, you know it eats away at you.
The key is not to bury those negative feelings – that can never be the solution; but rather to confront them.
Analyze them like an objective scientist: without holding any judgement, prejudices, or preconceptions, tweeze away at your reasons or excuses on why you refuse to go exercise.
They can be very real and practical reasons such as, the lack of knowledge on how to exercise (contact me – that’s what I’m here for!), or a previous injury that still lingers (go see a physiotherapist – I can refer one to you!).
They may be psychological reasons like procrastination since we all don’t have to get into shape this very week (it can wait until next week!). Or even deeper issues such as a fear of committing yourself to a long-term endeavor or it’s darker cousin – fear of failure.
These issues are much more complex and are outside the scope of this article. (But if you shoot me an email and describe your situation, I can guarantee you will receive a reply from me. I may not be able to solve the issue with one email, but perhaps I can help steer you in the right direction.)
Whatever the reason may be, you won’t know until you spend some time and mental energy to do some self-reflection and really dig inside to uncover the main cause of inaction.
And when you have found the underlying cause, you can then begin to address it.
For example, if you find going to the gym on your own boring, there are ways you can re-frame the activity. Turn it into a game. Every session you go you can set yourself a mini-goal like “I have to complete my workout in no more than 30 minutes”; or “I have to do at least 1 more rep than my previous attempt at exercise ‘X’”.
Another remedy for combating boredom at the gym may be to attend a group class. The social aspect is often a big driving force for a lot of people keeping to a regular fitness regime. The community factor is often underestimated and if you can find a community that you genuinely enjoy the company of, then going to a workout changes into going to see your friends!
If you’re reading this article, then I’m guessing you’re one of those people described in the title of this blog. In which case, the point I really want to get across is that realize there’s a huge psychological component to it, and that by being mindful about your feelings you can tackle those obstacles and perhaps find inner motivation that may transform your lifestyle – and for the better!