The new year is in full swing and as the statistics inevitably show, the further we get into the year the more people let their fitness routines fall to the wayside. It is so crucial to have fitness goals but that in itself will not get you the results you're looking for.
There are several obstacles that people face when it comes to fitness and many reasons we give ourselves that end up preventing our progression. Knowing the most common obstacles you're up against can allow you to plan effectively and help to set your path for a successful year.
Lack of motivation - Change the stimulus every month
Loss of motivation is generally from two sources. Firstly, if your exercise routine is not interest-driven you will not be motivated for long. Motivation is only sustained through inspiration. It is crucial to choose activities that you have a high level of interest in; this will make a big impact on your consistency and motivation.
Secondly, the human body is amazing at adapting to any stimulus you provide it. If you've been sticking to the same routine week to week in the past, you're definitely going to hit a physical plateau. More detrimental however, is the associated mental plateau that can coincide with adaptation. When things become predictable and monotonous, you will inevitably become bored and discontinue. Try adding one new exercise class or workout-type every month. This will ensure you are always and changing the stimulus. Additionally, make a point of regular fitness evaluations quarterly to set new benchmarks on your fitness.
Lack of Focus - Create quarterly event goals
If you're exercising to maintain your health, that's great. If however, your goal is to become stronger, lose weight, increase endurance and your overall level of fitness, then you need a true focus. Training for fitness results without an action plan is like driving to an unknown destination without a map; it will take you forever to get there and you'll likely give up and turn back. Your map gets you to your outcome goal, the tangible goal that drives your day-to-day behavioural goals. That outcome goal may be to lose 10 lbs, increase your upper body strength or fit into your favourite pair of jeans.
If you want to dramatically increase your fitness success, align your goal to a tangible event of interest to you. This event could be a running race, cycling competition or perhaps a hiking achievement. To ensure that you're always moving forward with a new focus, overhaul your fitness routine every three months. To make an even greater impact, try associating your quarterly goals with an altruistic purpose like a charity or cause that is meaningful to you. Doing this, you will not only dramatically increase your drive; you will also make an impact on the lives of others.
Lack of Support - Buddy up and share your journey
No one achieves success on their own. This is something that also pertains to fitness achievement. Having support during your path toward a specific goal can increase your outcome significantly. There are many reasons for this but one of the most important is accountability. Sharing your fitness goals with those who are close to you provides an added level of accountability. Not to mention, those who care about you want to see you succeed and therefore they often adopt behaviours that support your goal. All of this influence can help to further your motivation and attitude towards goal achievement.
Further yet, there is something powerful in sharing your fitness journey with someone by including them in your exercise plan. Try choosing a friend and 'buddy up' for a workout or take a group class once per week as part of your regular regimen. This will help to keep your exercise routine fresh and will add a nice social element into the mix!
Lack of Priority - Get real. Know yourself. Excuse-proof your plan.
We can all come up with several reasons why we didn't start a workout plan or didn't get to the gym. It may be lack of time, fatigue, or loss of motivation... the list goes on. The important thing here is to know yourself and your most frequent excuses and justifications.
Taking the time to write down a personal inventory of your reasons for 'not' exercising can set a great foundation of self-awareness. From this list you can proactively plan to excuse-proof your regimen. Once aware, it's important to reprogram your mind and body with new behaviours. This may mean getting up an extra 30 minutes to ensure you make the time to exercise. If you're an evening exerciser, try keeping your gym bag in the car to ensure you get to the gym before you get home after work. Excuse proofing helps bring priority to your goal-oriented actions.
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