It is easy to lose sight of the fact that when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, much more is required than simply becoming more physically active.
Gyms, fitness centers, personal trainers and even home based workout programs all focus on the benefits of working out because of the physical transformations that are visible.
The greatest sales tool in the industry are the before and after pictures, which is what people want. Most people begin working out and exercising more because they want results they can see. They want to lose weight, gain muscle tone, look better in a bathing suit or fit into their favorite pair of jeans.
The reason why most people fail to attain the results they want, or find themselves falling off the program once they get there and begin the yo-yo process of failure and success is because they have not engaged themselves mentally into the healthy lifestyle. They look at their exercise program as a separate part from the rest of their lives, something to be endured, with the misguided belief that once they finish the program, whether it is a certain number of weeks or they have lost a predetermined amount of weight, the transformation will be permanent.
Unfortunately, no change will be permanent unless the change is complete, and the way to make that happen is by changing the mental approach in the first place. Instead of looking at the process as overcoming a negative - "I feel like I am fat and I don't like that" - it needs to be seen as incorporating a positive attitude - "I want to live a healthier lifestyle." This change in focus creates a more open-ended approach and lets people look at long term goals when it comes to making a decision.
A person who says, "I just need to lose twenty pounds and I'll be happy." sees an end point, and so their focus will be on that one goal. They may celebrate each pound loss as a milestone, but once they reach their goal, in most cases, they will stop what they have done to achieve those results and slip back into old habits. Compare this with a person who understands that losing weight is an aspect of living a healthier lifestyle. Instead of focusing solely on their weight, they will make the small lifestyle changes that will become the new way they want to live.
This mental focus will not only help them reach their goals, it will give them the opportunity to maintain the results going forward. It may take a lot of physical exertion to work out, but it takes a strong mental focus to change your lifestyle into a healthy one.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who focuses on the combination of body, mind and spirit when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. http://www.legacyfit.com