The ability to develop resilience is one of the keys to a happy and successful life. Our attitude towards a challenging situation often plays a bigger role in its outcome than we’d like to acknowledge.
When it comes to exercise, it can be intimidating to start a new fitness routine, but just because you don’t currently have a high level of fitness doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. And, as with most situations in life, you need to challenge yourself to change. Part of that means becoming more mentally resilient—a skill that will serve you both in your fitness endeavours as well as life in general.
Resilience is the process of adapting to, and navigating, difficult life experiences, whether big or small. You can increase your resilience with practice and become someone who can bounce back from both fitness setbacks, as well as those in daily life.
Here are some ideas to strengthen mental resilience:
Practice to Progress
Just like training for your fitness endeavour, any changes you want to make to your mental attitude will take practise to see results. You might not become the most resilient person you know after a month, but always aim for progress not perfection. Resilience, by definition, means that you must get back up after you fall; it takes practise and patience. You need to repeat positive behaviours for them to become positive habits.
If you’re not losing weight as quickly as you’d hoped, or you didn’t finish a race as you wanted, look at your setbacks and ask what you can learn from them.
Sometimes it may just be to learn acceptance. But it’s also important to understand how committed you were to the outcome you wanted. Did you put in the required effort to achieve it? When you didn’t get what you wanted, did you complain, get angry, or did you accept it and move on? Learning from our experiences makes us stronger and able to tackle more challenges, both in a fitness sense as well as our wider lives.
Set Realistic Goals
If you want to become mentally strong and resilient set goals that are challenging, but still achievable and appropriate to your life.
Unrealistic expectations will only set you up for disappointment, so get to know yourself and have patience; see how setting small, positive goals can have a big incremental impact over time, and transform you into a more resilient person.
Helping friends during their difficult times cultivates empathy for others, and we need to learn to apply that to ourselves. Having compassion for ourselves and others allows us to lean on a support system and inner confidence when things get hard. It also helps us to accept our setbacks and persevere.
Resilience is a skill, and one very well worth mastering.