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The Importance of Mindset in Exercise

In an society that sometimes seems polluted with negativity, we each possess the incredible power to dictate our own realities based on what lens we are looking through. In other words - it is not always about what is happening to us, it is about how we think about what is happening to us.

The same concepts apply to how we approach exercise. Many of us see exercise as a chore; it is challenging, uncomfortable, and can be time consuming, so we either avoid it or drudge through it and go through the motions so we can check it off our ongoing list of to-do’s (that, by the way, never seems to get any shorter). We like the effect and the feeling we get when it’s over, but find ourselves back in the exact same mental spot the next day/workout session. How do we change this?

A simple way to approach this is to shift our mindset to one of gratitude. Instead of thinking “I just want to get through this,” think “I am grateful that I have the physical capability to move and exercise”…something that not every one is so lucky to have.

Another concept that seems to resonate well is that of a “fixed vs. growth mindset.” Someone with a fixed mindset will see a challenge (like exercise) as a barrier that should be avoided, will give up when exposed to any sort of failure, and is threatened by the success of others. Someone with a growth mindset, however, will see challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow, will endure through failures, and uses the success of others to motivate them. Easier said than done, but we should all strive towards this growth mindset. This can be as simple as being aware of our thoughts and then making a conscious effort to change them.

Aside from your mindset, it is also important to find an exercise environment that you feel both comfortable with and motivated by. Exercise is a beautiful form of self care if viewed in the right light, so take a look at how you perceive exercise and make the necessary changes to get you to where you want to be. It is easy to chalk it to the thought that “exercise is just not my thing,” but we have more control of this thought than we think!

Stephanie Spoto, CSCS

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