Self-Image Hacking Guide: How To Start Going To The Gym

Do you want to go to the gym but somehow things always seem to get in the way and you end up at home on the coach?

Perhaps you already went there and got the membership, but as soon as it is “gym time” then there always seem to be a million good excuses or rationalizations as to why you should postpone.

It might be another thing that keeps you from going to the gym but has a similar feeling to it.

How to start going to the gym has a pretty obvious answer:


Of course, it has to be on a regular basis and you need to progressively challenge yourself with the right workout routines to keep growing. You also need to eat the right food and have proper rest.

But if you can’t seem to make it to the gym, instead of telling you that you simply have to get your priorities straight or stop being so lazy, I want to address what I believe could be the problem – which is a mental thing.

Because if you attack this problem and solve it, then you don’t have to force yourself and fight your “inner voice” telling you that you are too lazy and/or just not the type of person who can become fit and strong.

I believe that achieving most things in life requires not only the right plan or system, which in terms of fitness could be the workout and nutrition plan but also the right mental state/mindset.

This post is about that mental part.

If you are looking for a beginner guide for weight training, you should check out my ultimate weight training beginner guide 🙂

Uncover The Mental Thing Holding You Back

When I say that it is likely a mental thing or problem that is holding you back I don’t mean that you are stupid or insane or anything of that sort.

What I mean is that going to the gym and getting that outcome or becoming that fit person does not resonate with the beliefs you hold to be true about yourself.

In other words, it doesn’t fit with your self-image.

According to the more modern psychology, everyone has a self-image, which can be described as the sum of all beliefs, values, and truth, etc. we have about ourselves.

This might not surprise you, but what is perhaps surprising and more interesting is how incredibly powerful this self-image for controlling behavior.

We literally act, behave and feel in accordance with our self-image, and we do everything we can consciously or unconsciously to not deviate from it.

In this way, our self-image is a mechanism that steers towards conformity (In literature it has been called a cybernetic mechanism).

In order to be consistent with your own idea of who you are, you will make course-corrections every time you find yourself to deviate from it.

self-image in front of a face

Your self-image is like a cybernetic mechanism.

Change Your Self-Image And Going To The Gym Becomes Easier

The way you use the fact that you have a self-image to go to the gym and keep doing it, is to change or ensure that it aligns with being the type of person that goes to the gym and is strong and fit.

If you within your self-image perceive yourself at a certain weight or at a certain look, you can be sure that it will very difficult to get another result.

In other words, it will be extremely destructive for your efforts if you, for example, have the idea that: you are the just type of person that is just “scrawny and weak” or “lazy and obese”.

Luckily, as your self-image is your own creation you are in control of it.

It is commonly accepted by top experts that there are two ways to change your self-image.

1) A very strong emotional life event. This could be traumatic or extremely positive.

2) Autosuggestion. That is repeated internal suggestions and affirmations about your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

I don’t suggest you sit around and wait for a strong emotional event to occur in order to start going to the gym, but that you instead use autosuggestion.

Essentially you need to continuously repeat these things to yourself about you going to the gym until they have become internalized and you have “convinced” your subconscious mind.

At that point, you will start seeing changes in your behavior.

Using visualization to imagine yourself already being the kind of person you want to be or be in possession of the thing you want is extremely powerful to impress upon your subconscious mind.

Arnold Schwarzenegger himself has explained how he would often visualize himself already being in possession of what he wanted.

You could put it like this, you have to act, visualize and think as if the desired self-image is true until it becomes true.

Simple Strategy To Implement Autosuggestion Today!

A simple yet very powerful way to implement autosuggestion to change your self-image is to make a so-called goal card.

It is a small piece of paper or card with your goals written upon it.

If you think my illustration looks ridiculous why not share this post with your friends 🙂

You should carry it around with you all the time and read it to yourself at least twice a day.

E.g. once in the morning and then once in the evening.

When reading the goal card visualize yourself already in possession of the desired outcome.

The goal card should be written in the present tense and clearly state what your goals are.

It should also state what you are doing to achieve the goal(s).

You need a reasonable plan and you need to put in a good effort to achieve your goals (no such thing as a free lunch). It should also state a deadline for achieving your goals.

Now we are talking about going to the gym, so the goal card could be written like this:

I am so excited and happy now that,

I go to the gym three times a week without fail.

I arrive at the gym pumped and energized ready to put in the effort.

I push myself hard but I am still being mindful of proper lifting technique and protecting myself against injuries.

I am continuously learning about how to train and eat both better and smarter, so I can live and enjoy a healthy and flexible lifestyle.

By [insert date] I have a strong and muscular body. My body fat percentage is xx and I lift xx kg for 5 reps [insert exercise].

You could also find a picture of someone that has the type of body you want, and then put it on the goal card.

Your own goal card can be different from the example above, but overall the goal card should be very clear and concise with definite goals and a definite plan to achieve them.

Using autosuggestion with a goal card is not exclusive to going to the gym. It is universal and can be used for achieving any type of goal.

Using a goal card and reading it out daily is a technique mentioned in the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

The book was first published in 1937, and the technique has been used ever since with countless success stories.

What Is Holding You Back?

Would you like to think more highly of yourself and have a better self-image?

Do you think this might be holding you back, or is it something else?

I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

If you are interested in more information on this topic, I have dedicated a whole chapter named “the diet secret” in my free awesome nutrition guide.

I obviously go much more in-depth and talk about habit creation and the importance of getting rid of destructive habits. It also got an accompanying email course.

You can get it all as a welcome bonus when you sign up for my email list.

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My name is Marcus, I am a lawyer (LL.M.) and the founder of this website. Besides sometimes doing lawyer stuff, I like to write about fitness and health and share what I have found “works” for people like YOU. If you want to know more about me and my vision for this website then you can click here.

4 comments… add one
  • Shwe Yee Apr 27, 2018 @ 23:44

    Now I’m 23 years old. I’ve never go to gym till now and rarely do the exercise even at my home. My weight is not so much but these days I saw some challenge posts to work out at the gym. So i did tell my parents that i wanted to join that. But my dad said to me why i wanted to go there. He thinks that is not so much special for me. That makes me feel reluctant to go gym. But i really want to try how it is going for me. I want to know how it will change to me.

    • Marcus Apr 28, 2018 @ 18:19

      Hey there!

      Thanks for your comment.

      First of all, I want to tell you that I think it is a very good idea for you to start going to the gym.

      If you try it and give it some time, I think you will like it 🙂

      And it doesn’t matter that you rarely did any exercise before.

      To be honest, I think it is never too late to start, but if you are 23 years old you basically have nothing to worry about.

      I understand you feel reluctant because of your dad. But after all, you should do what you want to do… and not what your dad want. He is probably just looking out for you and thinks you will regret spending time in the gym.

      Because you said you rarely did any exercise before, I assume you don’t know too much about lifting weights etc. There is honestly a lot to know and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. However, there is also luckily a lot of things that are not that relevant for beginners.

      I believe the first thing you have to figure out is what you want. When you know what it is you want you can follow the right plan.

      You want to know how going to the gym will change you, if we are talking about physical changes, it will surely make your muscles bigger and according to most people make you look more attractive.

      What most important, how do you want to want to look?

      Regarding mental changes, I can say that it could have a powerful impact on your self-confidence and what you believe you can achieve. By the way, this is not only my opinion but what a lot of people have experienced.

  • Syed Aug 4, 2018 @ 22:52

    Hey Marcus
    I think you are spot-on & this is my exact problem.
    I found your article, while I was trying to overcome my biggest problem i.e. pushing myself in the gym ( I am 38 & have tried multiple times to be consistent with gym routine).
    I will start implementing your suggestion immediately.
    Will update you with results

    • Marcus Aug 5, 2018 @ 12:35

      Hey Syed

      I wish you the best of luck! 

      Although the goal card technique can feel ridiculous, try to stick with it for at least one month and then reflect. Changes of these kinds are often very small and subtle, yet they can have a powerful impact.

      Look forward to hearing from you.

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