Back to school

Back to School – Re-evaluate and Review

The kids are going back to school, we’re into the last 4 months of the year, and it’s a good time to review your fitness goals, and achievements so far. As part of the review, it’s also useful to acknowledge what may be standing in the way of achieving what you’ve set out to do.

If you’re just embarking on your fitness journey, is it that you don’t know where to start, or what you should be doing? It could be that you fear failure, or feel that you don’t have enough knowledge to make a change.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle plan can be incredibly challenging mentally, especially when you first start, but you can’t make changes to your body if your head isn’t in it too. Here are 5 tips to help you mentally prepare for, or maintain, your healthy lifestyle:

1. Train your mind to focus on the present.

In my Mindfulness Blog in June ( I emphasise the need to stay in the present, and to focus your mind on what is currently happening. When you’re working out, being present is extremely important, and helps to maintain the focus, and enjoyment for what you’re doing. In the midst of our busy lives, it’s not easy to stay in the present even when we’ve carved out time for ourselves to exercise, but the brain can be trained, so keep trying.

2. Find your reason to get fit.

Motivation is the key to making any life change. Whether it’s running a marathon for charity, or fitting into your favourite dress – it’s important for you to identify why you want to make a change. We know that exercise leads to improved health, confidence and longevity but sometimes those reasons don’t resonate. Also someone else’s reason is not yours and it won’t motivate you over the long term, so find your own, and hold on to it tightly – you’ll need it for days when the going gets tough.

3. Plan for setbacks.

We are all only human and, although you’d love to easily be able to easily do an intense workout straight away, the reality is, you won’t be able to (and shouldn’t) at first. Even after some time, there will still be things you can’t do, or struggle with. If you factor perceived failures into your overall plan then you’ll be better prepared to move beyond them. Sometimes your body will say ‘no,’ and that isn’t the same as giving up or failing to even try.

4. Focus on you and you alone.

Be selfish. Trying to make improvements demands it. Making a major lifestyle change can be frightening enough, so don’t make it worse by comparing yourself to other people. There will always be someone in better shape than you. Don’t worry about it. You’ve made up your mind to do better. Don’t listen to people who try to steer you off course. You know what you have to do.

5. No matter what, never give up.

Sometimes life gets in the way, and other priorities take over. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout once in a while. But when you’re not able to work out, just make sure you’ve got everything else nailed down. For example, stay with your healthy diet, so that when the time comes to revisit your workouts, you’ll be good to go. The less you change, the easier it will be to get back into it.

I’ve used this Michael Jordan quote before, and it always holds true – “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them”. I would add to that you should expect a lot of yourself, prepare to be surprised by what you can do and, if you need help, find a coach who will encourage and support you.

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