Exercise Is a Mind Game: Here Are 3 Mental Strategies to Help You Win! by Susan Masterson, PhD
Being active is hard, and our self-talk will make or break us. Here are mental strategies you can use to go from “I can’t” to “I’m loving it!”
- Change Your Words: Think “move” not “workout.” Workouts seem “all or nothing,” but "moving" is something you can build on and doesn’t have the success-failure connotation to it.
- Make the Right Comparisons: We often compare ourselves to an arbitrary goalpost, and we use these measurements because we see so many other people using it, then judge ourselves negatively for it. "I can't run that distance." "I can't come close to 6,000 steps per day." "I can't run that fast." What’s meaningful for you? "How far did I go yesterday?" "What can I do today that I couldn’t before?"
- What Does “Active” Mean?: Something unattainable? There are ways to integrate moving into what you're already doing, and you can build yourself up from there. Do you think it's unpleasant? What was fun when you were small? Play tag, climb things, splash around? How can you adapt those fun things to "grownup" versions?
Recognize that starting and sticking with an exercise routine is mostly a mind game. Use these strategies to win!