How to Get Your Mind Right For the Gym

Half the battle (maybe even more) of starting to workout is just mentally getting there.

If you find yourself thinking, “I have to go” and wish you were thinking, “I want to go,” I want to help! I want to help because I’ve been there. I’ve slothed my way into many a gyms and through many a workouts, and I can tell you now, those experiences were less than enjoyable. 

They were work. 

And guess what, no one wants to do more work. We want to do more fun. We want to do more art. More good. More play.

Keep reading to find out how I changed my gym attitude to from a “have to” to a “want to” and how YOU can do it to. 

1. I stopped saying pointless, negative things. 

It’s a classic. 

Someone says, “Hey do you wanna workout today?” and you say, “I mean I don’t want to but I know I need to” or something like that.
QUIT. STOP.
WHY? WHY are you even saying that out loud? Saying things out loud makes them very true, very real. It solidifies thoughts. Why would you want to solidify a negative thought and make it real and true and convince yourself further that what you’re about to do—this act that is so good for your body, mind and spirit— is something you actually don’t want to do?

I also had a bad habit of saying/thinking something along the lines of, “It’s not going to be fun, but I know I’ll feel better afterwards.”  This one I thought sounded semi-positive, but was there actually a point in adding the part of “knowing” it wasn’t going to be fun? (Did I really “know” that?) Talk about getting psyched up for something, right!? I don't know about you, but pre-determining that something is NOT going to be fun is a GREAT way to hype myself up!! (Not.) Save yourself the misery and keep those comments in your head or quit thinking them altogether. 

2. I stopping operating based on feelings and thoughts. 

I stopped thinking about going to the gym, and I just went. I stopped even considering whether or not I “felt like” getting up and getting dressed, and just got up. Waiting for myself to “feel like” being breathless and sweaty is like waiting to “feel like” going to stand in line at the post-office. 

Once I stopped thinking about it so much, I found I was actually even surprisingly motivated to go workout, because it was one less thing to devote mental energy to. I had freed up that mental space that I was previously using to dwell on “Do I have to go? Do I want to go? What am I going to do?” and it became much easier when I stopped thinking so much about it. 

3. I (finally) understood there was no secret. 

For a while there, I was really, truly convinced I was missing something. I mean, how was it that all these other girls were seeing progress and I wasn’t? There had to be some secret I hadn’t discovered yet— some food, some routine, some magic potion. 

Nope. 

The only secret was putting in honest work. If you lie to yourself and say, “But I AM trying! I AM doing my best!” and choose to ignore the M&Ms you sneak during your lunch break or forget about the slice of cake you can’t resist after dinner— then you’re going to be just like I was: looking for a secret when the answer is right in front of you.

When I got stone-cold honest with myself and really understood there was no secret, there was just work & no cutting corners, my mentality and vigor towards the gym completely changed. I was determined to put in the work to prove to myself that even if there was a magic pill, I didn’t need it. Even if a tea would make my tummy flat, I didn’t want it. 

I wanted to work for this, and that got me fired up.

4. I saw the gym as a release rather than a prison sentence. 

Most of us just want to know, “How long do I need to spend in there? How long is this going to take?” 

Would you ask the same thing about a spa? Your favorite book store or shopping mall?

I made a mental shift and conscious decision to see the gym as a place of relaxation and reward for myself— a place I could go and disappear into a new playlist, play with new movements and stretches— and it honestly made me look forward to the time I got to spend there. 

I stopped seeing it as a punishment, a place I had to go to “work off” my treats, and surprise surprise, I began to want to go spend time there. It’s no shocker that the way you think of something changes the way you feel about that thing. If you think of something as a torturous place that you just have to go to, how can you possibly expect yourself to feel positive about going there?

You can’t. It’s not realistic. 

When I started slowly telling myself that the gym was a place of reward, growth, focus, positivity and “me time,” I stopped dreading it and started looking forward to it. 

 

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Genuinely liking and enjoying working out is not impossible, y’all. It’s just a matter of perspective and mentality, and I hope that you take these ideas and run with them and even come up with some of your own!