How To Develop A Positive Health And Fitness Mindset

How To Develop A Positive Health And Fitness Mindset March 21, 2024Leave a comment

Guest Post by Shane McLean

Shane McLean is a certified personal trainer with 15 years of experience and a freelance fitness writer with over 10 years of experience. He accomplishes both through vast amounts of coffee on a daily basis. Shane’s work can be found here and here

There’s a lot of negativity in the world, and you only have to turn on the nightly news to know that. So, at times, it isn’t easy to be positive and have a positive mindset towards anything. However, as I will explain, having a positive health and fitness mindset is crucial in achieving any health and fitness goal.

You could have access to the best coach, the best program, and all the toys at your disposal, but if you don’t believe you can do it, it won’t happen. A positive mindset is the difference between success and failure. But what is a positive mindset? A positive mindset means you’re hopeful about stuff and expect good things to happen.

Another way of looking at it is to see if the glass is half full or half empty.  Before becoming a certified personal trainer, I was a negative nelly and always saw the half-empty glass. Slowly, I developed a positive mindset about future outcomes over time.


Who wants a negative coach telling their client they have no hope of succeeding? That coach will quickly become broke and in need of a new job. But what does all this have to do with your health and fitness? Let’s dive in.

Understanding Your Deeper Why

Before getting into a better mindset, why are you changing in the first place? We all start with wanting to be sexier, but when the going gets tough and the change isn’t happening as fast as you want it, what then?

If vanity is your only reason, the negativity may kick in, and quitting soon follows.

The answer lies in understanding your other ‘why.’ Use the guide below to find your deeper why.

Personal Reflection: The first step to finding your deeper why is introspection and diving into your motivations. Is it to feel more energized, improve your health, or achieve a fitness milestone? For example, being able to pick your kids up from the floor without pain. Identifying your motivations is crucial.

Foundation for Motivation: Your deep ‘why’ is the foundation of your inner motivation. It’s the anchor that keeps you grounded when the shit hits the fan. When you’re wavering at the sight of your goal, your ‘why’ is the warrior’s cry that rallies you and helps keep you moving forward.

Long-term Perspective: Embrace a long-term perspective. Your ‘why’ shouldn’t be about instant gratification but nurturing sustainable habits that align with your why. It’s the foundation upon which you build your bedrock of health and fitness, a testament to your commitment to living your best life.

Understanding your ‘why’ is the cornerstone of your health and fitness. It’s what makes your journey yours—the narrative weaves through your every action, choice, and milestone.

Positive Health & Fitness Mindset Example

Henry Ford’s quote comes to mind: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,” When you go to the gym with a positive outlook, are you more likely to have a good or bad workout?  The answer is self-explanatory.  

In my 15 years of coaching experience, clients and gymgoers are more likely to reach their goals if they know they can. Let me give you an extreme example.  When working at a YMCA, a guy with an amputated arm above the elbow devised a way to work his upper body on the amputated side.

He strapped to his upper arm and performed chest flyes and cable rows using an ankle Velcro attachment, usually reserved for lower-body exercises. To say I was amazed is an understatement, and I told him he was an inspiration. He just oozed positivity despite his handicap.

Would he have been at the gym if he had a negative mindset? I imagine he didn’t always have this mindset; he grew tired of feeling sorry for himself and made it happen. Here is the thing about developing a positive mindset with health and fitness. When facing an obstacle, are you more likely to come up with a solution with a positive or negative mindset?

Again, the answer is obvious, and that’s one reason why developing a positive mindset is crucial for your health and fitness.

Developing a Positive Mindset

How many people hire a personal trainer with a negative mindset?

Stop and think about that for a moment. What will happen if a prospective client wants to lose 20 pounds or run their first marathon in six months if the trainer says no way?

Nothing, and they will soon be out of their jobs.

That being said, I had to work on my mindset, and luckily, I had some positive people around to help. If you have trouble being optimistic, these two things were passed on to me; I’ll pass them on to you.

At the end of each day, a former client encouraged me to text him three positive things that happened to me. Some days, it wasn’t easy to find positive things; some days, it was. What it did do was make me sit and think of positive things, which helped me develop a positive mindset.

The second is the gratitude journal, which a friend and a coach suggested I start. Every morning, before work, I write three things I am grateful for. Doing this puts me on the front foot for the day and helps me be in a more positive frame of mind.  

Can You Be Overly Positive?

Are you a fan of people who are always smiling and happy no matter the circumstance, especially early in the morning without coffee? I have a problem with excessively optimistic people and the positive movement in general.


It’s the failure to acknowledge that negative things happen to the point of denial.

You know bad things happen whether you like them or not because we have no control over them. IMO, the trick is to acknowledge that negative things do happen and positive things also happen. Looking at and finding the positive despite the negative helps to develop a more positive mindset.

Because both can always exist simultaneously, you have to find the positive despite the negative, and when you do, transfer this attitude to your health and fitness and make it happen. A trick for this is also developing self-compassion.

Self-Compassion: The Secret Sauce For A Positive Mindset

In chasing your health and fitness goals, becoming your own harshest critic is easy. Goals sometimes feel like burdens, and setbacks seem like personal failures. However, cultivating self-compassion is the secret to staying consistent and on the path. 

Here are some tips to do just that.   

Embrace Your Humanity: Setbacks are a natural part of the human experience. You are not alone in your struggles. Your journey will have its ups and downs, and it’s okay not to be perfect. Embracing your humanity with kindness and understanding is the first step towards developing self-compassion.

Keep Learning from Your Setbacks: Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, see them as opportunities for growth and learning. Ask yourself, “What can this teach me?” This shift in perspective transforms challenges into valuable lessons, fostering a positive mindset.

Speak Kindly to Yourself: Pay attention to how you talk to yourself, especially during tough times. Replace critical self-talk with words of encouragement and support. Speak to yourself as you would a friend facing the same challenges.

Celebrate Your Efforts: Focus on your effort, not just the outcome. Celebrate your steps towards your goals, no matter how small. Doing so reinforces a positive relationship with yourself.

Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you navigate moments of self-criticism with greater ease. It allows you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment, creating space for compassion to enter.

Cultivating self-compassion is not just about being kind to yourself in moments of struggle; it’s about changing how you relate to yourself throughout your health and fitness journey. It’s a gentle reminder that you are enough, exactly as you are.  

Wrapping Up

As I’m nearing the end of this post on developing a positive health and fitness mindset, it’s clear that it’s as much about the mind as it is about the body. From understanding your ‘why’ to cultivating self-compassion, each step is needed to build a resilient, positive approach to health and fitness.

Incorporating a more positive health and fitness mindset into your daily life can transform your journey into joy, discovery, and satisfaction. Your trip is yours, not that of the latest fitness influencer. Let your ‘why’ guide you, your goals inspire you, and your self-compassion comfort you.

Finally, remember that health and fitness are lifelong journeys, not 6-week shreds. Embrace your short-term and long-term goals with positivity, purpose, and kindness toward yourself. It will not happen overnight, but if you stay on the path, it will happen.

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