If you find yourself struggling to commit to that new fitness goal you made this year, you’re not alone! According to Statistic Brain, the majority of Americans set resolutions related to weight loss or fitness, but only a low 8% of people actually achieve them.
By making a few tweaks to goal setting and your mindset around them, you can set yourself up to win.
Don’t: Go Big or Go Home
There’s nothing wrong with having big goals, but without the proper planning, it’s a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. Lofty goals are typically set with unrealistic time frames or are so far from our current state that they lead to overwhelm, falling victim to excuses when life’s other priorities come calling. An example is going from couch potato to working out 5x a week for an hour or more at the gym. This is an easy trap many people fall into when they’re pumped & motivated but hard to maintain when this is a new behavior.
Do: Make Small Changes
To avoid overwhelm, it’s best to make small changes that can evolve over time as you make progress. Additionally, if you are setting a big goal for yourself, break that down into smaller attainable goals so you can experience some wins that will fuel your motivation. Using the example above, instead of going all in right out of the gate, start by committing to 3 thirty-minute sessions a week and as it becomes habit and part of your regular routine, you can add a day and/or increase the length of your sessions.
Don’t: Think All or Nothing
Look, we’re all human and there are going to be times when you falter from the plan. What gets people into trouble is the attitude that it’s all or nothing. You miss one workout or have one cheat meal too many and the thinking tends to go the way of complete failure. Stop beating yourself up over one miss-step! The difference between success and failure is not being perfect; rather it’s having the discipline to keep going and not giving up even when you slip from the plan. When this happens, pick it right back up and start where you left off.
Do: Stick With It, Even if You Fall Short
We’ll say this again! One mistake doesn’t have to undo all your previous effort. Again, the goal here is not perfection or flawless execution but persistence. When this happens, get right back up and start where you left off. Another tip to remember is, that it’s okay to modify your plan sometimes. Example: let’s say your planned after work gym session is going to be compromised by another commitment. Can you modify that day's workout to a morning session, or do a 15min HIIT workout at home? Setting a new goal means adding a new priority to your existing ones. Remember that it takes time and be patient with yourself as you adjust to a new routine.
Don’t: Jump in With Eyes Wide Shut
An important reminder is to stop thinking there’s going to be a quick fix, magic bullet or easy button. Fitness and weight loss goals require a tremendous amount of effort and some upfront due diligence. The second half is to understand yourself and the personal challenges that could distract you from keeping your commitments, then plan ahead for them. This is not to say you won’t enjoy the process but if this is new for you, realize you’re stepping outside your comfort zone and that takes work.
Do: Your Homework
Have a good understanding of what it’s going to take to achieve your goal. Is it diet change, lifestyle modifications, starting or increasing workouts? When you know what it’s going to take, you can set expectations and most importantly a plan. Then, within that plan, you can set benchmark goals to keep you on track but also to celebrate smaller wins leading up to your major goal.
Knowing the areas where it’s easy for you to slip up and putting a safeguard in place is another tactic to help stay committed to your goals. For example, if you’re not quite disciplined with your diet yet, limit going out to eat, don’t keep junk food at home, prep meals once or twice a week so you always have a healthy meal or snack on hand. Sometimes the battle is within our mind. When we step outside our comfort zone, the ego wants to go back to familiar territory. If you find yourself on the front lines of a mental war, find an accountability partner or other motivational resources as your go-to weapons to help you stay the course.
Stay tuned for part two of this post as we continue the conversation on how to set goals that get results.
We'd love to hear your thoughts or tips on how you stay committed to your fitness in the comments below.