Workout Tips

The Ultimate Starter’s Guide: Psychology

Get your mind right and your body will follow, with 10 tips to help you stick to your goals.


Anything new can be challenging. Sticking with it after you realize it’s not as easy as you anticipated is even tougher. That goes double when it comes to training and nutrition. Hundreds of thousands of individuals embark on fitness programs every year, but many drop out within six weeks. Half will quit within six months, and less than one third of those who begin a regimen will still be exercising by the end of the first year. Those statistics, however, don’t indicate the number of people who can’t tolerate physical discomfort. The main reason for the high dropout rate is a mental inability to stick with the program. If you’re ready to go toe to toe with yourself, then the strategies we offer will tame that part of you that resists getting in shape.

1. Determine the Outcome

Wouldn’t it make sense, before embarking on an unfamiliar path filled with countless obstacles and detours, to first decide where you’re going and what you want to accomplish? Merely saying to yourself, “I want to lose weight, get in shape, and build muscle,” is too broad and ambiguous. What does that mean? Set a specific goal with a time constraint that keeps you focused on achieving it.

2. Build New Habits

It’s easier to create a new, good habit than it is to shed an old, bad one. For example, if you smoke, work on getting to the gym regularly and pushing the pace in your cardio sessions before you attempt the challenge of quitting cigarettes. Eventually, your motivation to keep improving on the positive aspects in your life will help you replace your addictions to the negative, more destructive ones.

3. Get Clear

Try taking a page from the handbook of top athletes who use imagination to visualize the end result they want to achieve. When LeBron James steps up to take a foul shot, his goal isn’t to get pretty close to the rim. What he sees in his mind is the ball sailing through the net. Get clear in your mind about what your goal looks, feels, and even sounds like. If you want to bench-press 300 pounds, see yourself doing it.


4. Use Bribery and Threats

Promise yourself, or demand of yourself, anything that prevents you from quitting. The top reason people throw in the towel on their fitness goals is giving in to self-defeating thoughts like “Life’s too short—I should just enjoy myself.” You need to develop the ability to control impatience and fight through frustrations.