Dan Nguyen is a fitness behavior expert and authority on the mind-muscle connection. He teaches people mindful techniques to exchange unhealthy habits for healthy ones, allowing them to achieve long-lasting fitness results. Sounds like something right up FBG’s alley, right? Right! And today we’re psyched to share his top tips on how to to beat procrastination in fitness. So if you’ve been putting off that workout, don’t — we repeat, don’t! — put off reading this guest post!
How to Beat Procrastination in Fitness
1. Unpack emotional baggage. Many people have limiting beliefs they are not even aware of that keep them from achieving their health and wellness goals. The brain does not process negatives. So avoid statements like, “I am fat” or “I am lazy,” which keep your emotional baggage stuck, or should we say, “packed.” Unpack what’s keeping you stuck and improve your fitness by improving your language — literally. Reframe your language to positive statements only. “I am eating right,” and “I am strong.”
2. Seize the day. Many people put off exercise until later in the day when they are tired, their energy has dropped and they are more likely to find excuses not to do it. Instead, try visualizing yourself as healthy and fit first thing when the alarm goes off. Many people hear their alarm in the morning and immediately think about how comfortable their bed is and then hit the snooze bar. This action often leads to missed workouts. I used to do this, too. Now, I have a photo in his mind about how great I look in the gym or on the beach and this good feeling gets me out of bed. So, take your inspirational photo off the fridge and put it on your bedroom nightstand instead. Then, when the alarm goes off, take a look at the photo and feel yourself getting out of bed more easily. If you don’t have an inspirational photo, use a magazine photo that empowers you. External and internal photos that empower you work!
3. Refocus. I have heard all the excuses from my clients. They may be focusing on how terrible the parking space is going to be, or how the gym gets really packed or how they hate being sweaty. When they are focusing on these things, of course it is going to be hard for them and they are going to procrastinate. Think about your end result. This might be hot weather and how you look in a bathing suit at the beach. Think about athletes who are preparing to win the Super Bowl. They’re not going to let parking challenges get in their way of a football workout or game. They’re going to find solutions. And so will you, when you think about your end goal, not the parking or crowded gym.
4. Set an anchor. After you complete your workout, squeeze your wrist so your body kinesthetically remembers how good the workout feels. This way, any time you squeeze your wrist, your body associates good feelings of working out with that motion. You can also do other movements, but just associate feeling good, momentum and achieving your goal “in your body” somehow, not just in your brain or in your calendar.
5. Choose your word. Pick a word that you can say to yourself or out loud that moves you into action. I say the word, “motivation.” A woman I know uses a theme word, like “on fire.” You can do this by yourself or with friends. The word itself should put you in a motivated state-of-mind. Use the word when you are succeeding at being motivated so when you’re feeling less-than-motivated, just saying the word or phrase will get your mindset back on track.
6. Play that funky music! Triggers that involve the senses are the best ways to motivate. We’ve discussed physical touch, words, mindset and more. One tried-and-true method is music. You can get into your flow with your musical mojo. Whether it’s soft musical tunes for stretching or hard intense beats for cardio or weight lifting, music can motivate and help you reach your fitness goals.
Do you consider yourself to be a fitness procrastinator? —Dan Nguyen