The Psychology of Doing More
Ever gone on a run and stopped a few minutes in because you were bored? Or hit a new PR at the gym and brightened up your whole day?
Although two different outcomes, they’re caused by the same thing: the brain.
It’s something often thrown out in the fitness community—fitness is 50% mental—but little dug into or considered. But the role your brain and mindset plays is huge. The motivational posters are right: Believing you can do something is half the battle.
Negative mental states can lead to poor focus, poor performance and even physical symptoms like muscle tightness. Even the best athletes would not be capable of their top performance without proper mental coaching. What does that look like? Mental focus, drive and confidence. And across the board, there are some clear-cut tools anyone can use to boost these traits. Here’s our top 2:
In a soccer match, a ball is useless to a soccer player without a goal to kick it into. Without a goal, the ball doesn’t move and neither does the player. Without a goal, a person and their fitness stays at the start line.
But luckily almost anyone has a goal in their fitness journey. Whether you want to lose a few pounds of fat, gain a few pounds of muscle, run a 5K or just be able to lift one extra grocery bag so you can finally make it in one trip. While these can be great motivators, the key to successful goal setting is to break it down into micro-goals that are accomplishable on a much shorter timeline.
Smaller goals are a great psychological motivator because they’re easier to spot and work towards, and they also help us feel accomplished; regularly crossing a finish line makes us more confident that we can continue to cross them even when the tasks get harder.
These micro-goals can be one large goal broken down or if you’re overall fitness wishes are more vague (i.e. “get stronger”), set goals that fit under that umbrella, like increasing your curl weight or plank time. The important thing about micro-goals isn’t just breaking up the goal, either; it’s also about breaking up the time. If you want to cut your mile time by 2 whole minutes or lift 2x more weight, set weekly goals in smaller increments. And be sure to write down all your goals; it’s important to physically cross off each goal as you hit it to boost your confidence and drive.
How you talk to yourself makes a huge difference in all aspects of performance in your life. Your body hears your brain…after all, your body is controlled by your brain. So it’s important to have productive thoughts motivating you towards your goals. There are a few different types of (helpful) self-talk:
- Instructional: This type of self-talk focuses on reminding yourself on form. It can be useful if you’re working on improving technique, growing in a technically difficult skill or just need a helpful distraction from a tough workout. Examples would be things like “Remember, hips over knees over ankles” or “stabilize the core.”
- Motivational: This is exactly as it sounds; thoughts that help psych you up for difficult or intimidating tasks. Tell yourself “Don’t stop until you’re proud” or simply “I can do this.”
Put your body and mind to test with a class at Dynamic Souls. We’re here to help with your goals and motivation. Plus, first class is free for new members!
Until next time, we’ll be thinking of you,