Making the decision to work on your physical fitness starts in your head, and it will be your head that sees the process through in 2019. This is exactly why you need to constantly assess and work on your mental commitment to your health and wellness journey.
Psychologists Dr James Prochaska, Dr John Norcross and Dr Carlo Di Clemente developed the transtheoretical model of change, which explains that behavioural modification is not always a chronological process, although behaviour typically becomes habit after six stages of behaviour change.
- Precontemplation entails not recognising a need to change, and perhaps even resisting it.
- Contemplation comes once a person understands that there is a need to change.
- Contemplation leads to preparation – this is when you start planning.
- This is followed by putting a plan into action.
- Plans require a fair amount of maintenance.
- Termination occurs when the new behaviour becomes habitual.
Any athlete will tell you that being mentally strong is just as important as physical prowess if you want to see results. To get your head in the game before it even starts and to stay mentally tough throughout 2019’s fitness trek, ask yourself why you want to focus on your physical health. The answer will be your motivation this year.
Remember that your personal health is just that – personal. Avoid comparing yourself to others, and be selfish about your own expectations, never heading to criticism or unasked advice from others.
Finding someone to join you in your fitness endeavours can make a huge difference in your motivation and dedication, but take care not to compare yourself and your own results with that of your fitness partner.
Keep in mind that you will encounter setbacks – this is the nature of life. Don’t be discouraged if the initial gains (or losses!) aren’t exactly what you were hoping for. Patience and consistency will lead to results.
One of the most valuable assets will be focus and presence. Try to incorporate time for mindfulness into your day. Meditation and other mindfulness practices help our minds to focus on the present moment, and this can be invaluable when you are exercising. A strong and centred mind will help you to focus on and isolate certain muscle groups as you train.
Never underestimate the influence that your mind has on the rest of your body. Being headstrong will make all the difference as you change your body this year.