Getting Psyched

Here are some tips on how to get — and stay — motivated. At a Can Fit Pro lecture this past weekend, Dr. Haley Perlus, a sport and exercise psychologist and prof at the University of Colorado, gave them as ideas for trainers to use with their clients. But in the spirit of ‘power to the people!’ I’m passing them along for us all to use.

1. Use positive self-talk. Write down positive affirmations (i.e. “Every day in every way my body gets stronger and stronger.”) and post them where you’ll see them often. Chant them when the going gets tough. It gives you something positive to think about and detracts from fears and fatigue. Change negative thoughts to positive ones: instead of worrying about hurting your low back, for example, remind yourself you’ll be okay as long as you focus on good form.

2. Use imagery. Imagine your ideal state, how you want to feel, using all your senses, and symbolic imagery (like a cheetah). Believe it, achieve it.

3. Use competition. Compete with yourself — compare today’s workout with last month’s, for example (keep a record so you can do this) — and with others, as long as you keep it within healthy bounds. Focus on process, technique and effort, not winning.

4. Use comparison. If you see someone of a similar age, condition and ability achieve something wonderful, realize that you can probably do it too, if you work at it as hard as she does.

5. Use social support. Make friends of your fellow exercisers, or enlist a buddy to work out with you. Connectedness makes the effort more enjoyable, and increases your commitment.

This is just a quick summary of a much longer presentation, but I hope you find something here that’ll help you stay engaged.

Barb Ledger

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