Does taking workout selfies mean you’re conceited?

I used to feel awkward about getting footage of myself working out. Would people think I was conceited? Am I actually superficial and image-conscious? Or worse, am I secretly a narcissist?

The answer is… maybe. But that’s irrelevant anyway.

Conceited or not, you can learn a lot by watching yourself move. Are you in the right position? Do you favour one side? Is your posture appropriate for the activity you’re doing? Are you generating power from the hip (if you’re a martial artist)?

It’s easier if you have a fitness buddy who can shoot/film you, but propping up your phone nearby will do the trick. You’re already a step up with anything that captures key points in your workout from an outside perspective.

practising a handstand against a wall

My lower back posture is bad here (banana back). Seeing it in a photo helps me recognise the problem so I can fix it.

Workout selfies have a psychological benefit too

Especially when you’re trying to motivate yourself to work out more. Seeing yourself in the midst of fitness reinforces the idea that you’re the sort of person who exercises.

Over time, this becomes part of how you see yourself — your identity — making you more likely to keep exercising. That’s the theory, anyway. If you want to look it up, it’s called Identity-based motivation theory.

From Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year:

Each action you perform is driven by the fundamental belief that it is possible. So if you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it’s easier to change your actions.

This explains how some people can change, seemingly overnight.

Like my father-in-law, who was a pack-a-night smoker party boy in his youth, until he made a bet with his mates that he could beat them in a marathon race. The next day, he flicked a switch in his mind and decided: “I am a marathon runner.”

To be honest, I don’t know if he got his arse kicked in that race, but he cold-turkey quit smoking and started running. That a pretty good win, if you ask me.

Do the people who judge you set a good example?

Because, you know, they’re sitting around judging you instead of doing something healthy and meaningful. And if you take their advice and do (or don’t do) what they do (or don’t do), you’ll probably wind up just like them.

Is that how you want to live? Is that the life you want to look back on?

I mean, it’s OK if you do. Not judging.

But if you want to work out, want to motivate yourself to work out, want to see yourself as someone who can do the thing, then by all means, take a selfie and don’t feel silly about it.

It’s no one’s business but yours 😊

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