Have you ever had the best fitness intentions, only to fall flat when the going gets tough?
Would you love to bulk up, slim down, or supercharge your athleticism but find the grind too gruelling to stick to a perpetual program?
Or, if you’re honest with yourself, do you find yourself putting off workouts, opting instead for junk food nights with your tribe? Instead of pounding the pavement, do you lay on the couch with a chocolate bar?
Most people who’ve set a New Year’s intention know about failed fitness routines; promises that evaporate into the ether when things get real. But, there are also people who soar! Those who pursue health as a priority and maintain their dedication through their lives…
So, how do you move from the former to the latter? How do you quit failing and jump on the path to success?
You need to understand where the snags lie and why failure continues to strike? Then you can make conscious choices that work for you.
With this in mind, there are five mistakes we see people commonly make. By identifying where you falter, you can implement steps to avoid pitfalls and, finally, experience the success and fitness you deserve!
1. Overcomplicating Your Fitness Plan
Life is complicated enough! If you do not already have a well-entrenched fitness habit, a tortuous workout is a great way to break your willpower. And, at least for most people, it’s not necessary.
Return to basics.
Simplify your approach. For example, instead of long rafts of muscle-specific workouts, try functional movements that kill many birds with a single stone.
Work out what you don’t need and remove it; ask a personal trainer, coach or knowledgeable friend for advice.
2. Lack of Motivation
Is your mojo flat? Is a double espresso with three teaspoons of sugar the best you can do in the morning? Does the idea of an hour at the gym four times a week feel impossible?
Breath… Lack of motivation is understandable in our ever busy world. But there are ways to hack your enthusiasm and propel your success.
Firstly, stop beating yourself up. You are, after all, human!
Secondly, sit down and work out why you want to succeed? Not the “oh, I want to be a size 0” or “it would be nice to have a six-pack.” The real reason…
Do you want to avoid the heart attack that took your Mom’s life too early? Do you have a condition that means excess pounds undermine your quality of life? Does your self-esteem suck and you want to reclaim your joy? Do you want to be a better parent for your young children?
Once you uncover your real why, keep it handy. Write it down and place it where you see it often. When those inevitable sluggish days hit, refer to this written reminder. It may be enough to get your bum off the couch.
Thirdly, consider the reasons why you make excuses…
Are you tired? Find your primary drains. How can you change them?
Are you prone to excuses? Connect with a fitness buddy. When your motivation has flown the coop, chances are they’ll be on fire; and vice versa.
Does self-sabotage rear its head? Work on any underlying issues. Or simply tell your brain to stop! Then get up and start your routine anyway. Beginning often spurs propulsion.
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3. Not Enough Time in Your Day
Do you feel like there’s just not enough time in your day?
If you’re struggling to allocate time to your fitness routine, something has to give. Your health needs to be a primary concern. Plus, when you’re well, you will be more productive in all areas of your life. It is a false economy to short change your fitness.
To identify your habits, keep a detailed journal through a normal week. Do you watch three hours of television each night? Do you sit at your desk for lunch when you could be taking a walk? Did you rush up the elevator when you could have hit the stairs? Can you find unproductive or overlooked periods to dedicate to your fitness?
Remember: if you don't make time for wellness, later you will be forced to make time for illness.
4. Failure to Set and Reach Goals
Have you thought about and set fitness goals?
Have you written down your aims?
Then, now is the time!
By deciding what you wish to accomplish (and as we said earlier, why), and writing it down, your goals become more tangible. For many people, this encourages dedication.
As part of your goal setting process, focus on SMART goals:
Specific: Your goals should be clear and significant: What do you want? Why? What resources will you need to accomplish your goal?
Measurable: You should be able to track your progress: What numbers are involved? What timeframes? How will you know if you are hitting your targets?
Achievable: They need to be achievable (or you’ll kill your success).
Relevant: Your goals, of course, should be relevant. If you set a six-pack as a goal but don’t value a stringent diet or hours spent at the gym, your chance of success is slim to none.
Time-bound: Goals should be attached to a deadline. Time slips away quickly; this commits you to a target.
Once your SMART goals are set, go out and get them!
5. Comparing Yourself to Others
Advertising, social media, movies, music, models. There are many places that can breed a perception of lack within us if we don’t guard carefully. And when we see ourselves as flawed, it can undermine progress and trigger failure.
If you’ve ever thrown your arms up in exasperation, if you’ve ever felt “less than”, if you’ve ever given up your goals as unachievable dreams, be gentle with yourself. The way you feel could spring from a painful comparison; your imagining yourself as inferior to an imagined ideal of perfection. This can be so drummed into us that we believe it’s our ideal, too.
This can distract us from our deepest desires, those that will keep us going through the hard times. We’ve accidentally replaced our truth for what we see worshipped by family, friends, society.
Whatever it takes, set in place strategies that allow you to compare yourself with yourself; no-one else.
The Fitness Success Takeaway
An overcomplicated fitness plan, lack of motivation, perceived time poverty, skipping the setting of goals, and comparing yourself to others are mistakes that can taint your success; even push you completely off course.
Implement strategies to correct these mistakes and your workouts will become more enjoyable, less guilt-ridden and far more likely to result in the healthy, happy life you desire and deserve.