You can level up your health in a thousand different ways these days. You can get a fitness tracker, download an app that reminds you to drink water or meditate, get a standing desk, and more. I’ve done many things to level up my fitness in my decades of being a competitive athlete and fitness trainer, but nothing has changed my life more than adopting these two simple mindset shifts. And guess what? They’re free.
I say it daily and in nearly all my online workout videos. Say it with me, “I GET to do this.” Instead of saying to yourself, “I have to work out today.” or even “I have to go to work today” say “I GET to work out.” and “I GET to go to work.”
Listen, I get it, sometimes working out does feel like a chore, but in reality, working out is a huge privilege. I’ve been sidelined with injury many times in my life. When I broke my leg I was incredibly limited in terms of movement and dreamed of being back out on the soccer field running around. That experience changed my perspective entirely. Working out is a privilege, even though every now and then it will feel like a chore.
Try this. Instead of saying, “I have to (insert task here)” say “I get to…” to yourself. It’s a very small shift in phraseology that frames every task you have to do with a sense of gratitude, positivity, and choice. Because the reality is, no one is forcing you to work out. You get to do it and it’s a choice that enriches your mind, body, and soul.
I put the asterisk there because, for some people, fitness trackers actually are a helpful tool. One that motivates them to move a little more each day. However, for others, it can drive an unhealthy near-obsession with numbers and analytics. (Hello, that’s me. My name is OTHERS.) Especially fitness trackers or apps where you upload and see other people’s data/workouts. You know the ones. On those, you’re subconsciously incentivized to compete with people that have much higher fitness levels. When you see someone else going on a run six days a week and you’re only doing four, you may think to yourself, “I’m so lazy. Why can’t I run six days a week like them?”
But I have permanently retired my days of competing with others. Try this instead. Ditch the fitness trackers. Do it as an experiment. Just try it for a month. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, go a step farther, and ditch calorie counting or weighing yourself daily. Go by the feels, instead of the numbers.
When you ditch the trackers, you put your intuition to work and your intuition is powerful. It’s a mindset shift that allows you to listen to yourself, a skill that every great athlete has and one that everyone, athlete or not, can benefit from. The truth is, you know whether you’re just feeling lazy or if you actually need a rest day from the gym to recover and bounce back stronger. You know that if you’re feeling ravenously hungry, that’s a sign you need to fuel. You also know that gaining .05 oz on the scale means nothing and those daily weigh-ins are more detrimental to your mental health than they are beneficial to your physical health. Listen to yourself and see what happens. To me, it’s mentally freeing.
These two simple things took me a long time to learn, but have changed my health and my life enormously ever since I adopted them. Try them out for yourself and see what they can do for you.