If you have not figured it out yet, we all live very much in our heads, and our “Mental Self” can prevent us from achieving our fitness goals. Changing how you approach fitness could be the key to your fitness longevity. Start by looking at fitness as a permanent part of every day, and not just a temporary solution. Make it your lifestyle. Build it into your everyday routine, not just through diet and exercise behind four walls, but by living it with your family and friends. If your Mental Self is getting in the way, and you can’t envision what living a fitness lifestyle could look like, here are some guidelines to consider.
1) Find your tribe. There is strength in numbers. Friends and family on the same quest can help you keep on track. You will still need to do the work and fight your Mental Self, but having a friend who can help you tell it to “get with the program” is a major benefit.
2) Explore fitness weekly. Indoor rock gyms, mud runs, triathlons, and - my favorite - outdoor adventure sports, all deliver awesome cross-training benefits disguisedas social fun. Mother Nature is the best cure for an ailing Mental Self. Sunshine and fresh air have a way of making your workout feel not so laborious. Skip the gym sessions and get outdoors as much as you can, even if you just bring your weights outside.
3) Plan physically active vacations that will allow you to mentally power down but keep your body revving. Sure, your Mental Self can become fatigued from work overload, but that does not mean your vacation needs to consist of flopping on the beach for seven solid days. One of the best ways to complete a brain dump is by tackling an outdoor fitness adventure that fills your mind. Rock climbing and surfing are great for this.
4) Last but not least, for the love of all things fitness, realize that fitness needs to be a permanent part of your life. You work for money or you don’t get paid. Fitness is no different. You need to work at it to get there, and to keep it.