Focus and attention to detail during a workout are the key to improving and making long-term progress. The more intently you can focus or be mindful of the small details of the exercises (as well as the program details), the more you will be able to build success, says Sean Tarpenning. “The journey of 1000 miles starts with one step.”
You want to ensure each step is purposeful, so you stay on track.
Eliminate distractions during your workouts.
One crucial element of focus is the ability to stay in the present. Eliminate distractions, like reading on the elliptical during your workout. (Better yet—eliminate the elliptical!)
Focus on being in the now and what you are doing now. Focus on the task at hand and clear your mind from distractions. Don’t worry about what happened at work or what you must do when you get home. Letting your mind drift is a surefire way to get a shitty workout.
Dedicate this time to yourself and put all your effort into the workout.
Focus on yourself and what you’re accomplishing.
This is a big part of why many people feel better after a workout: They can put all the crap that happened during the day aside for a time and do work. Focusing on your body and intentionally working on a skill will not only improve the quality of movement and exercise, but it will also help you let go of all the shit you might be dealing with during the day, says Sean Tarpenning.
If your boss yelled at you or your wife got mad, or you feel like your kids don’t appreciate you, let go of it all and focus your energy on the workout.
You are becoming more assertive, physically and mentally, and moving better than the day before if you focus on getting better. You put all the other distractions aside and clear your mind for an hour. It’s time to focus on yourself and feel good about your actions.
Keep your eye on the prize.
Lastly, the workout should be a means to an end, not an end. There should be a reason why you are doing what you are doing. Yes, as described above, it is essential to stay focused on the workout itself, but not without the framework of an end goal.
In open water swimming, athletes focus on a landmark on the horizon to avoid getting pulled off course. This also holds with your workouts—make sure you focus on your long-term goal to keep from getting sidetracked by the ebb and flow of daily pressures and ensure you are doing the appropriate work to reach your destination.
People should view each workout as a practice session and each exercise as a skill. Skills require attention and development. “Shutting off” and going through the motions may still increase heart rate, but you will never see improvement without focus.