It’s a fact: 36% of us break our New Year’s resolutions by the end of January (University of Scranton – Journal of Clinical Psychology). And guess what is the most popular New Year’s resolution in America? It is “losing weight”. Here is a quick look at five common mistakes we make when setting our fitness goals and the solutions to turn these goals into reality…
1) Mistake-1: An “All-or-Nothing” Mind-set You are fully determined to make this work, you want to be 100% perfect with your training and nutrition; but then you miss a workout or two, or you eat that slice of pizza. Now what? You feel like you’ve failed completely, so you quit…
(Re)Solution-1: Enforce The 80/20 Rule Stick to your plan 80% of the time, and you’ll be successful. The key is avoiding “self-blame”. Stop beating yourself up for taking the day off, or enjoying that piece of chocolate. It’s okay. Just get back on track the next day and pick up where you left off.
2) Mistake-2: Poor Planning, Unspecific Goals “I want to get in shape” or “I want to lose weight” are way too general goals to be realized. Make the general, specific.
(Re)Solution-2: Identify the “Why?” Set yourself a healthy goal that has nothing to do with the number on the scale. What does “getting in shape” mean to you?” Does it mean being able to play with your kids or run with your dog, and not get exhausted? Or, does it mean finishing a half-marathon 6 months from now? Once you know your “why”, it will trigger your internal determination and become the basis for everything you do to “get in shape”. Don’t forget to remind yourself of that “why” when you feel like giving up.
3) Mistake-3: Letting Psychological Barriers Take Over “I don’t have time this week, I will start on Monday”, “I don’t know how to use those machines, I’ll look stupid”, “I’m so out-of-shape that people will stare at me”, “I can’t keep up with everyone in that spin class”…Of all the barriers to exercise, the psychological ones are the hardest to overcome. Don’t let fear and anxiety get in your way.
Convince Your “Mind” It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them. Your fitness goals will not be achieved, and your problems will not be solved unless you take action. Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done. It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction.
Think of “Past Successes” To get yourself in the right mindset, remember the times that you have achieved a goal. All the skills that you have used to achieve that goal (whether it was related to your school life, career, or your parenting) are transferrable to any fitness goal that you want to achieve today. Once you know you have the skill-set and know-how to “succeed”, you’ll have more confidence in yourself to keep going.
Think Beyond the Gym If you’re dragging your feet every time you’re headed to the gym, it’s time to start thinking beyond the spin class. Options are endless. Walk more, jog with your dog in the park, train at home with a workout DVD, dance, skip the elevator and take the stairs, go on a weekend hike with your family, play sports with your kids.…you get the idea. Just keep moving.
4) Mistake-4: “I Am On a Diet Until…” There is a wedding, high-school reunion, or another important event coming, and you’ve set a goal of losing 5-10-20 pounds. Then, the big day comes and goes, and you consider that chapter of your life closed…
(Re)Solution-4: Make the Short-Term, Long-Term The reason a “diet” doesn’t work is because there’s an “end-date”. So, go ahead and turn that short-term diet into a long-term goal of “building a healthier lifestyle”. The chances are you will keep that weight off for good.
5) Mistake-5: Ignoring Small Victories Finishing a half-marathon next spring or getting a bikini-body by summer time could feel so far in the future that your motivation may wane sooner than you think. It is important to remind yourself that every mile, every inch, every pound counts. Each step is one step closer to your goal.
(Re)Solution-5: Reward Yourself Small victories are worth celebrating too. So go ahead and spoil yourself for that extra mile… you deserve it:-)