Here’s a simple truth you already know: No amount of motivational posters will help you if you are not in the right place in your head, if you push yourself too hard, never let off steam and fail to manage your expectations. This begs the question: how do you get to that right place inside your head? Well, there are a few tips:
Give it time.
It’s not that we cannot stick to exercise for a long period of time because we’re weak; it’s because we try to do it overnight and on top of that we expect immediate results that don’t happen, that make us give up. Commitment to fitness is not something we can just turn on like pulling a switch in our heads; it’s always a gradual process. You start small and you build up from there, one effort at a time, one day at time. You have to slowly re-educate yourself and get used to the idea of exercise, incorporate it in your daily life in small ways first, and only then will you be able to commit to it more seriously long term.
It’s important that you reward yourself from time to time and have something to look forward to after all of the hard work you are doing. Cheat days exist for that exact reason, to help you stay committed. It is important that you also set a date or pick a day of the week for that. It gives you a goal to aim for: “All I need to do is last until Friday and then I can have some chocolate cake”. This way you don’t just get to keep with your regime you’ll also find that eating a slice of chocolate cake suddenly became a lot more satisfying.
There are no shortcuts in fitness, it all takes work, but most of all it takes patience, enough patience to stay on track and enough patience and self-control to not give into fads and crazy diets. Any fast results are temporary results and these are never worth the struggle. Instead, set yourself for a long run in this, set targets you can actually meet without killing or starving yourself, pick a healthy lifestyle you can actually maintain.
Integrate it into your lifestyle.
The easiest way to stay committed to fitness, stay healthy and fit without constantly getting off track, is to integrate it into your daily life and make it something you do by default like brushing your teeth in the morning, after all it’s just as much of an investment in your health. Doing something small like working through a list of exercises, but daily, will beat going to the gym twice a week and spending hours and hours there.
Visualize yourself fit.
Fitness is all in your head, funnily enough. Yes, it takes hard work and dedication to get in shape and then stay that way but most of it, really, is in seeing yourself as someone who is capable of that, someone who is able to get and be fit. Unless you begin to see yourself in the role and begin to develop a feeling for it, there’s a risk it will always remain just a little out of your reach.