We as humans are often motivated by fear, whether that is the fear of failure, pain, punishment, or the unknown, we are driven by this powerful emotion every day. We look both ways when crossing a busy street, check the best-before date on our groceries and tread carefully over an icy pavement, all for the sake of avoiding something unpleasant.
And while these everyday behaviors are in their core based on fear, we don’t shy away from leaving our homes to avoid crossing the street. But, we do somehow get overflown by this primal emotion in situations that are much more likely to lead to a positive outcome, such as our efforts to live a healthy life, including our visit to the gym.
Knowledge is Power
Many have tried to start going to the gym by simply breaking the vicious cycle and walking in, paying for the membership…and then getting painfully stuck in the middle of a room filled with machines they know nothing about. The strong self-consciousness aside, which you can overcome with time and patience, why not consider arming yourself with wells of useful information before you head to your first training session?
There are so many useful and reliable YouTube channels dedicated solely to fitness, with instructional videos, exercise description, common mistakes, and the like. Not to mention countless blogs with equally handy articles, scientifically-backed and enriched with imagery and videos. The fitness world is your oyster, and it’s yours to dig deep and discover the best direction for you.
Plan Your Efforts
It’s easier when there’s a class and a set schedule to follow. But when you have the responsibility towards yourself to decide on your training days and make sure not to skip them, due anxiety or any other reason, it gets a bit more complicated. Use your knowledge (that you should continue growing) to craft your exercise routine, including all the warmup and cooldown you need. There are also plenty of tried and tested routines online you can either purchase or download for free, then adapt to your needs to make sure you can complete the workout safely and without losing your motivation because it’s either too simple or too hard. Invest in the right gear, such as a pair of quality women’s gym tights, a top that lets your skin breathe, and comfortable sneakers always packed and good to go. These workout essentials not only make your training safer, but also help put you in the right mindset for the upcoming effort.
For those whose fear is truly debilitating, and doesn’t seem to show the tendency to fade, an excellent strategy to help you not only begin, but remain on the right track is to get a gym buddy. That may be a professional fitness instructor, or your best friend who also wants to start a routine. Even someone completely outside of that world can help with texts, checking up on you and with an occasional motivational boost when you’re reluctant to leave your bed.
There are even self-governed ways to ensure accountability with yourself, and that’s with a well-considered reward-punishment system. For instance, you can treat yourself to your favorite protein-rich smoothie after training, or set up a monthly relaxing massage if you keep up with all of your gym appointments.
Then again, you can use a clever psychological tool of tricking yourself into not avoiding the gym—all you need is a calendar of your workouts, money to tape on the given dates and a lighter, in case you miss your sessions. I believe you catch my drift?
Define Your Milestones
Finally, even the finest training routine accompanied by a diet plan to support your goals cannot replace the value of experiencing your progress. When you keep track of your weekly workouts, and note down the steps forward you’ve managed to make, you’ll be infinitely more motivated to keep going.
When you get a glimpse of success one carefully planned step at a time, your goals will no longer feel unattainable or ridiculous. You will finally know that all of your efforts will pay off in time, and no anxiety is worth abandoning your goals.
Especially those efforts that help you overcome your limitations and evolve into a better, stronger you—a you that will always strive to discover new challenges and whose fear will always be overpowered by your desire to advance.
Photo by Justyn Warner
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