Self Awareness & Fitness

The self awareness theory, developed by Duval and Wicklund, states that when we focus our attention on ourselves, we can evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. This can simply mean being aware of procrastination in your work, evaluating how you can do better and be able to get the work done (without being behind). But can this apply to your fitness routine? It can, and I’ll explain why.

Being Self-Aware in your Fitness Routine

Working out is motivation alone for some, and for others it is easy to push off to the side. But, can being an overly motivated person that strives for only the best, influence your procrastination? Absolutely. This relates to the fear of failure, but also the high motivation you may have to succeed. You are constantly in between these two forces that are making you freeze up. But once one, like the fear of failure, decreases the goal to get it done is greater.

Overcoming Procrastination

In theory, procrastination is seen as a protective mechanism. We have one side of us excited to succeed, and another side of us afraid of if our work was a complete failure. If you fail, you can blame procrastination. If you succeed, you can say you did it with little work.

Procrastination is not laziness. It could be seen more as information overload, a pressure to succeed and the fear to fail all at once leaves us frozen in time (an internal protector to help yourself). When it comes to fitness goals, this is all too familiar. On one end, you are excited to see your end goal and cannot wait to get there. On the other end, you keep doubting your work and trusting the process.

To make progress, and enjoy training overall, it involves challenging your thoughts. Where your choices reflect your goals and hopes, rather than the fear of failure. Here’s a series of questions that may help you become more aware when motivation is low and procrastination is high with your training:

  • “Why is this goal important to me?”
  • “How will I feel after I workout?”
  • “I’ll try 5 minutes, if I don’t feel better after at least 5 minutes I’ll try again tomorrow”
  • “How will I feel after I reach my goal?”

Motivation is only temporary. If it allows you to push the fear of failure to the side, it’s worth the extra time to help yourself in these moments.

Self-Sabotage & Lower Intensity

Lowering performance is common in the realm of self-sabotage, especially when procrastination is near. When it comes to workouts, it can be heard as: “If I don’t do this, I won’t reach my goals”, “If I don’t do this, it can impact my PR goals next week”, “I’ll do it later”. Motivation is only apparent when we are thinking of it, it is only temporary so it is hard to rely on.

The greater awareness that we have on what motivates us, what makes us stay behind, and how we can still succeed with our deep desires. Awareness helps us realize what we need in a moment of self-sabotage, low motivation, and procrastination.

An example scenario of no self-awareness, that affects workout efficiency and heightens injury risk:

“I am tired, but I have to train. Today is day 3 and it’s on my schedule”

At gym: “I don’t have time to warm-up, I need to train because I put off my workout too long”

“My shoulder hurts, but it’s okay. I’ll keep pushing through”

The same scenario, with self-awareness:

“I am tired, and I know this will affect my training because of how late in the day it is. I’ll reschedule for tomorrow and get some sleep”

Now, because of being aware of how tiredness can affect performance, and that the workout could be rescheduled- they helped themselves overall. When tomorrow comes, they know they cannot put it off till the end of the day again and is aware that this affects their workouts.

It’s about being aware of how your actions and thoughts can help you reach your goals, and not. When you know your own habits and what can motivate you in a moment, you understand how certain traits help you complete your goal and what makes you procrastinate.

The Importance In Training & Awareness

When it comes to training, especially with resistance, it’s important to be fully aware.

  • Aware of what muscle you are trying to contract in a movement
  • Aware of how your feet land when you’re running
  • Aware of how your activate your abs for proper engagement
  • Aware of if your body is able to push a weight to failure, or stop
  • Aware of if something doesn’t feel right

Being aware is being smart in your training. You can help yourself push past the barriers you’ve set for yourself, but you can also prevent injury by setting your ego to the side. Simply going through the movements is not enough, but instead going through the movements and paying attention to HOW they feel and WHERE you feel contractions is important.

For your next workout, take the time to be aware. Even if it’s being aware of the muscles you contract with each rep (mind/muscle connection), it can transform your workouts and results.

Tiffany Moule

Health & Mindset Coach