Admittedly, the thought of working out may not necessarily have everybody jumping out of bed at 5 am… or, even 10 am for that matter. And that is totally okay!

Over the years, the thought of working out has gotten a pretty bad reputation. Instead of focusing on moving our bodies in a way that makes us feel good and we enjoy, we started to treat workouts like a form of punishment or obligation. Today we want to offer up some workout mindset shifts to make the journey a little more enjoyable.

Let’s start with a quick overview about mindset shifts, just in case you’re new to the idea.

Workout mindset shifts are essentially ways to make your workouts more enjoyable. Think about what it was like being a kid: when you’d run, jump, dance and play like it was your job to have as much fun as possible, and not a punishment or an obligation. Somewhere along the way, society got ahold of us and began telling us that moving our bodies should be reserved for changing or maintaining our physique. So the goal of the workout mindset shifts are to shift your focus in a way that makes them more enjoyable. To focus on the fact that physical activity can help to lift your mood, give you more energy, and even improve your sleep quality, among other things.

Also read: At-Home Self-Love Inspired Workouts You Need to Try

9 Workout Mindset Shifts to Make Your Fitness Journey More Enjoyable

Prioritize your mental health

Working on your physical health needs to go hand in hand with working on your mental health. It will be incredibly difficult to shift your mindset around working out if you aren’t actively working on your mental health at the same time. There are a ton of different ways to do this, including reading non-fiction books, journaling, speaking with a therapist, and meditating – think of them as ways to help you focus on what’s going on in your head. Get comfortable being alone and get comfortable in your own skin, and the rest will come easier. But just remember, working on your physical health is not an excuse to ignore your mental health. Talk with your doctor about ways you can work on yours.

Focus on creating a lifestyle

As overused as this term may feel, focus on making lifestyle changes. There are far too many programs marketed as a 30-day “detox” or a way to “get abs in 2 weeks.” These things pray on vulnerable people and set unrealistic goals that can really hurt if (/when) we don’t achieve them. The best workout is the one that you’re consistent with, and the one you’ll be consistent with is the one you enjoy, and the one you enjoy will never be a punishment for something you ate. Instead of looking for a quick fix that you do for a short amount of time, try to make small lifestyle changes. This could look like going for a walk after dinner instead of watching an episode of something on TV, doing some yoga in the morning the help you wake up, or even taking a Zumba class. Don’t get caught up with what someone else is doing, and instead, focus on daily movement that makes you feel good.

Create non-scale/non-aesthetic goals

You’re allowed to want to change how your body looks, but make sure you include non-scale/non-aesthetic goals to work towards, too. Regardless of what you see on social media, it takes time to see physical changes, and it can quickly get incredibly discouraging. Create SMART goals that are not based on how you look. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. An example of this could include wanting to go from curling 5 lb weights to 8 lb weights by the end of November. Whatever your goal is, make sure you take into account where you are now and be kind to yourself if you need to make adjustments along the way. The focus of this is just to shift your focus from your aesthetics to bettering a skill. Remember that your value is based on so much more than how your body looks.

Hype yourself up

Be your own cheerleader. Throw on something that makes you feel good, do your hair, dance around for a bit – do what you need to do to feel your very best. Recite affirmations such as “I am strong, I am healthy, I am fit, I belong here,” to reaffirm to yourself that this is a positive situation. You need to remember that you are worthy, as opposed to tearing yourself down for all that you think you aren’t.

Reimagine what workouts look like

A good workout is not dictated by how much you sweat or how long it lasts. If the best workouts are the ones you actually enjoy, then just focus on increasing your activity levels throughout your day. If you haven’t been as active lately, a great way to start could even look like parking at the back of the parking lot and walking through some extra stores in the mall. A workout could also look like walking around the farmer’s market or going to a pumpkin patch. The more you do, the easier it’ll be, and the more you can add to it in the future. 

9 Workout Mindset Shifts to Keep the Focus on Self-Love
Image by: Alexandra Tran // Unsplash
Change how you speak about your workouts

The words you say to yourself and about yourself matter (they REALLY matter). Saying things such as “I only worked out for 15 minutes,” “I should workout,” or “I just need to get this over with” reinforces the belief that your workouts are a punishment or a means to an end. Let’s say you were watching an episode of your favourite show, but something came up, and you had to turn it off halfway through: beating yourself up over not finishing the episode would be silly because you’d simply finish the show tomorrow. Think of your workouts with the same frame of mind. Find things that you enjoy that aren’t used as a punishment, and simply forgive yourself if something comes up. To do this, focus on the words you’re saying. For example, instead of saying “I only did this,” try “I did this!!” Instead of saying “I should go workout,” try “If I wanted to workout I could.” Instead of saying “I just need to get this over with,” try “I’m ready to begin!”

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Remove guilt if you miss one

Missing a workout doesn’t mean you’ve failed or have messed up at all. Our needs change daily – sometimes our attention gets pulled in a different direction, and that’s okay. Instead of feeling guilty, remember to forgive yourself and get back at it the next day. The more you pick yourself back up, the easier it’ll be to stay consistent.

Make it comfortable

There’s a lot of people who say that growth doesn’t come from your comfort zone, and there’s definitely some truth to it – changing up your lifestyle is uncomfortable, doing something new is uncomfortable, becoming a beginner is uncomfortable. But it doesn’t mean we can’t add some comfort back in. Start small: you don’t need to go to an hour-long spin class, so find what works for you. Go with a friend: having someone who can motivate you, laugh with you, and smile with you makes a world of a difference. Make a plan in advance: map out your workout routine or was route before you leave, hire a trainer if that’s accessible to you, or find a workout class you feel comfortable with. Workout where you feel most comfortable: at home, in a quiet corner of the gym, outside – you do you, just make sure you’re in a safe location.

Love where you are now

One of the best workout mindset shifts that you can make (but arguably the hardest) is to love where you are now. Imagine what it would be like if you constantly told your best friend how much they sucked, how behind they are, or how awful they are at something, and then turned around and asked them why they aren’t motivated to do something. Regardless if we are where we want to be or not, change takes time. Remain kind to yourself and find a way to fall in love with where you are now. Your journey is yours – it doesn’t need to look like someone else’s to matter. This chapter does not mean the rest need to look the exact same, but it’s still important because it’s where you are now.

These 9 Workout Mindset Shifts Will Make Your Fitness Journey More Enjoyable