It seems like everyone these days are on a never ending fitness journey. We’re bombarded daily by images of people who look great and try to tell us their regimens that seem impossible for us to do. While at the same time we’re told to live our lives and be happy. What does being fit while being happy even look like? Not enough images or messages are coming through about what a real fitness journey should look like and entail. The result is many individuals constantly starting but getting stuck along the way. Or many individuals starting but losing steam once the mountain to climb looks too steep. They turn around and climb back down. There are ways to prevent getting stuck and losing motivation. Here’s how to be successful when starting a fitness journey.
Photo: bruce mars on Unsplash
Now, if you’re looking for a one and done solution to this you’re in the wrong place! A lot of the issues that we run into stems from a culture of instant gratification. Admit it. You’ve probably done that thing where you worked out on a Friday afternoon and then on Saturday you were in the mirror looking for a flatter stomach. What you want to see won’t happen that fast but you can do the mental work to put you in the right headspace for the journey to where you want to be. Accepting the fact that it’s a marathon and not a race. A lot of the time the focus is on the end result when in reality this should be a lifetime journey to health. The days will pass anyway so spend them focusing on your health first and the rest will surely come after.
Switch the focus from how you want to look and put it on how you want to feel. Being fit is an overall journey that when done right changes not only your exterior but your interior as well. The major work that needs to be done starts from within in order to get significant outward changes. It’s not just about having a flatter stomach. There’s the process of developing better habits, eating healthier, and strengthening your body. Thinking of things in this light, redefining what it means to be fit will take a lot of pressure off of you. It’ll also take a lot of pressure off of the day to day struggle once you embark on your journey.
So, we’ve talked about what a fitness journey actually should be and what it should focus on contrary to popular belief. Another important thing to remember is that everyone’s fitness journey is different. Going to the gym may not be your style but the good thing is there are a plethora of ways to stay active. Make finding your favorite way to stay active a fun adventure and don’t be afraid to make it as simple or as robust as you’d like. Some people like walks alone while some enjoy group activities such as Zumba. The gym can be daunting for some so at home workouts are where it’s at! Seven days of activity a week may work for one individual while three workouts a week is ideal for the next. Start with defining what the fitness part of your journey will look like instead of trying to follow what millions of people are suggesting online. Take in information and create your own normal that’s perfect for you with what you’ve gathered.
At the end of the day it’s our mind that’s literally telling us to get up and workout. Without a motivated conscious driving you, you’ll find yourself stuck at square one. While it may seem easy to just tell ourselves to do something it’s pretty hard to find the motivation to back it up. It all starts with how you perceive your overall journey. Be kind to yourself and transparent about what the expectations are. Starting off too aggressively will eventually burn you out. Taking it one day at a time will set you up for success. Your first week at it may look like walking up and down the stairs for 20 minutes. Then building up to walking around the block. An approach such as this makes the task less daunting and you’re less likely to talk yourself out of it. You’ll find yourself asking less “whys” and more “why nots?”
Remember, your fitness journey is not a race. It’s a lifelong endeavor. Instead of trying to get to the finish line think about gaining better health throughout the process. Your body deserves it. While there may be plenty of suggestions out there your journey should ultimately be unique and geared towards you and your needs. Lastly, it all starts with what you think. Build a health motivation within yourself by taking it slow and setting reasonable expectations.
Jaimy aspires to be a relative voice to other young adults like her. As a Haitian-American first-generation college graduate, she knows that the complicated journey she's been on to get to where she's at now is the same story for many others. She challenges the status quo by going after what she truly believes in which is having the opportunity to be creative while unapologetically pursuing your passion and not conforming to what everyone else deems is right for you. Jaimy loves to read, stay active, and spend time with the people she loves.