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How to trick yourself into exercise

12 November 2016

WORDS BY Fashion Quarterly New Zealand

Fitness goals(H)

Why summoning up the willpower can be harder than doing the exercise itself.

Summer is just around the corner which means warmer weather and longer days. Really, there should be no excuse for not getting your exercise gear on and going for that walk, run, yoga class but….

Life is busy, there’s no denying that. There are a million different ways your time gets parsed out, another day slips by and exercise plans fall, yet again, to the wayside.

And let’s not even get started on fitness goals – those once aspirational ideals – now hash-tagged fantasies of the worst kind: the ones that taunt you with their seemingly attainable transformations – for everyone else, but you.

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But, as it turns out, there’s mind-trick for getting yourself to the gym and onto the dreaded treadmill.

One of the ways of achieving any goal is by a process where you imagine how you will feel once you’ve attained that goal.

So, if your goal is fitness-related, thinking about how you’ll feel happier, healthier and fitter as a result of your dedication to working out puts your mind into bigger-picture thinking.

This helps to shift the focus from the present moment – along with any perceived thoughts and feelings of discomfort associated with the activity – to future outcomes which your mind has associated with feelings of reward and satisfaction.

Another way to bypass the mind-chatter is to simply put off any excuses as to why you can’t exercise till after you’ve actually done the exercise. Business Insider’s Libby Kane writes “You can decide whether you want to go afterward”.

She says it’s helpful to acknowledge there will always be reasons not to go to the gym, but just because there are reasons not to go, doesn’t mean they are necessarily good ones.

Go anyway, she says. You can have the back and forth after you’ve been about whether it was the right decision, and of course you’ll have done the workout, so it’s a debate you’re always going to win.

Photos: Getty Images

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