Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. After those New Year’s resolutions we’ve probably long forgotten, this time of year is often when the pressure is back on to think about physical fitness. We’re shedding the clothing layers and feeling pressure to get back on the horse. And it’s actually nice enough to get out and be more active. We may join a gym, download a running program, or sign up for a 5k. We may commit to regular tee times and get the ball rolling.
But I’ll bet you haven’t given a thought on how to get the ball rolling with mental fitness. Someone wrote a really phenomenal article last month about spring cleaning your mind (can you hear me patting myself on the back?). Now that you’ve spring cleaned, how do you “get fit”? If you scratched your head on that, you’re in the right place. Let’s follow the same steps for jumpstarting our mental fitness as we might for jumpstarting our physical fitness. I’m going to talk golf because, well, don’t you think golf can be a metaphor for everything?
Identify needs. Sit down and actually spend some time identifying areas for growth. If you always shank shots over water because you spend so much time trying not to hit into the water, make that a focus. If you always 3 putt on a behind-the-hole incline, there you go.
Set aside specific time. Look at your schedule and carve out specific time each week. Don’t just assume you’ll fit it in when you can (you won’t). Make time and hold it.
Make a plan. This should be a concrete plan. Something like – 5 minutes of visualization followed by 5 minutes of dry swinging while visualizing, 3 times per week.
Find accountability. There aren’t fitness challenge apps for mental fitness the way there are for running, biking, etc. But tell someone about your plan. Check in with them so they can give you grief if you fall off the routine.
Commit and then regularly reassess. Nike it (Just do it). Stick to your plan and then every few weeks reassess. Identify growth and new or continued areas to work on.
Make it fun. If it’s not fun you won’t do it. Set goals and give yourself incentive. Fun reinforces effort. You need a good balance of both.
We all go through periods of less activity, both on the physical side of things and the mental side of things. It’s never the wrong time to sit down and make a plan to jumpstart your fitness again. And it’s ok if you have to do it over and over and over and over again. The work never ends so just keep grinding.
Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.
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