Imagine: EPIC START Fitness Strategy #3

Seeing yourself enjoying fitness activities is a great tool for becoming and staying fit.

Imagine Your Self-Fulfilled Fitness Prophecy

You’ve heard of “smile until you actually feel happy” or “fake it ‘til you make it.”  There is indeed power in the notion of “believe to achieve.”  The sports psychology field points to many studies on the power of visualization and improved performance. A few examples are at the bottom of this post.

Give Yourself Permission

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to doing what we want in life is not giving ourselves permission.  There are all sorts of reasons why we don’t allow ourselves the joy of living fully and reaching our goals.  It helps to explore the potentially deep-seated reasons for which we do not give ourselves permission to succeed.  It could be related to the religion you grew up with or the family culture. For example, it could be family dynamics in that your role in the family was to take care of the younger siblings, not yourself.

Investigating the possibility that you are not allowing yourself to enjoy being fit is first and foremost. Some of us might even struggle with a sub-conscious feeling that we don’t deserve to be fit, much less enjoy it.  If you think that is true for you, then try delving into “why.”  Next, ask yourself, “Is this reason valid?”  Furthermore, “Should it stand in my way at this point in time?”

If the idea of permission is possibly standing in the way of your fitness, it’s likely that it is time to give yourself permission to get the ball rolling with your own fitness AND enjoying it!

Let Go of the Unpleasant Past

We’ve all had some unpleasant experiences related to physical activity and fitness which have given us reason to avoid going back to that dark place.  Why put ourselves through that again?  Well, the good news is you don’t have to.  Once we realize as mature adults that those unpleasant experiences were a part of our human journey and learn to embrace them as “experience” and “lessons” we can better face the fear of exploring similar risks as we move forward now with our fitness goals.  The bottom line is you are worthy.  You deserve the joy of being and feeling fit.  Don’t let the past block you from your present fitness desires.

2015 Self Talk You Turn Himawari Wellness

Give Unproductive Self-Talk a YOU Turn

You deserve it—a great segway into the idea of letting go of unproductive self-talk!  When that voice says to you, “You can’t do it.” Start talking back.  When that voice says to you, “I will look like a fool and people will stare at me.”  Talk back to it.  When that negative self-talk comes around, ask yourself, “Is this a healthy thought?”  If it is not, acknowledge for what it is and send it out of your harbor, and let it go…send it far out into the ocean of the universe.

Is it more important to you hang on to something that is holding you back from being the vibrant person you want to be, or is it more important to give fear a kick in the rear and move on?  If it is a healthy thought, embrace it, harbor it in your heart and mind.  Act on it.  See yourself letting go of those past unpleasant experiences.

Brainstorm Your Fitness Fantasies

If you have been sedentary or if you are relatively fit, but feel you are not quite where you want to be, then do a brainstorming session.  List all possibilities of physical activities that would contribute to reaching your fitness goals. The goal might be as simple as, “I just want to enjoy being physically active.”

Remember to imagine all possibilities and think outside the box.  All ideas count!

Be curious about what other people do.  Investigate activities you might not have ever heard of by asking colleagues or look on YouTube.  After you’ve given it a really good shot, then start evaluating and categorizing what activities might be the most enjoyable to you; what activities might fit into your schedule; what activities might fit your budget; etc.

Narrow the list of your pathway to fitness down to three and give them a try.

Visualize the End Game

Take some time to use your mind’s eye to see yourself reaching your goal with joy.  An ear to ear smile on your face crossing the finish line of your first ‘Couch to 5K’ or at the top of a small mountain you hiked for the 5th time, but this time you did it in under an hour.  See yourself in the nearby lake, arriving by paddleboard to a small island you’ve always wanted to visit by your own power.  See yourself at the high school track walking a full mile, or the heart rate recovery on your monitor—whatever it is, visualize the end result that includes your joy and sense of accomplishment towards your well-deserved fitness.

Visualize What it Takes

In order to actually achieve our fitness goal, we also need to imagine ourselves in the process of becoming fit.  It would help if we have to have an idea of what that process looks like. Visualize the practical tasks that will get you there. See yourself doing those tasks.  See yourself having the mental toughness to bring yourself through the physical hardship of those tasks.  See yourself enjoying it.

To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!”

Alfred A. Montapert

Visualize Pure Joy Associated with Activity

Finally, see yourself filled with the thrill of whatever activity you have chosen to enjoy in helping you get physically fit.  See yourself being in the cool of the woods on a hot autumn day, slightly tired muscles from hiking.  See yourself enjoying the freedom of dancing yourself to exhaustion in a dance class or in your living room.  See yourself enjoying the physical and mental demands of rock climbing with a group of climbers.

Whatever it is, imagine it!

Some Resources: 

Fake It ‘Til You Become It

From Mental Power to Muscle Power—Gaining Strength By Using Your Mind

Playing Mental Chess in Prison for 9 Years to World Chess Champion