“Step up, show up, never give up”
Hands in the air if you’ve been crushing your workouts this month! I don’t know about the rest of y’all but my January workouts have been great. Clearly my strategic carb loading the second half of December paid off…
If you’re a fitness newb and have stuck to your New Year’s Resolution to work out (but judging by the rapidly declining attendance at my gym, you haven’t), give yourself a high-five.
The reason for the check-in this week is it’s the week notorious for people quitting their New Year’s Resolutions. It’s actually hallmarked by its own “holiday” of sorts – Blue Monday. Apparently it’s the most depressing day of the year and the point when people have officially given up on their resolutions.
Even if the workout struggle is all too real for you, Blue Monday doesn’t have to be the end of your fitness journey. And, really, the timing has nothing to do with it – there are about a million reasons why most fitness resolutions fail, regardless of what time of year they begin.
Here are six reasons why most attempts at fitness and eating well fail – and what you can do right now to make sure yours doesn’t.
Poor Goals or No Goals
Before simply giving up on your fitness resolution, step back and examine why it has been hard to keep. One of – if not the top – reasons resolutions fail is poor goal setting.
Did you resolve to lose 20 pounds the first month? Or did you just resolve to lose weight?
Maybe you pledged to work out six days a week? Or perhaps you just resolved to work out more.
In order to achieve a goal it first, has to exist, second, be realistic, third, be measurable, and finally, have a plan to achieve. Once your goal meets that criteria, onward!
From more time spent shopping and cooking to the sheer 30-60 minutes each day actually working out, fitness and health takes up more time in your day than not.
Many who start a health and fitness routine forget this piece of the puzzle. They either don’t adjust their schedule to make room for their new healthy habits or they attempt to do it all, and end up feeling more overloaded than ever before.
When you commit to a healthy and fit lifestyle, you have to sacrifice some pieces of your previous lifestyle. The good news is it doesn’t have to be all-encompassing. You may have to give up a nightly happy hour in favor of going to the gym. You may have to cut into your regular Sunday Netflix binge to grocery shop and meal prep. Figure out where you’re willing to make time, not stressing about not having enough time.
Speaking of time, this is another area that’s often skewed for fitness resolutionists and the cause of giving up.
You’ve been working out and eating well for two weeks now but seeing no results. WTF, right?
Wrong. It often takes several weeks – even months – to see results from a workout plan. In our impatient, need for immediacy, “I want it and I want it now” society, this discourages many people.
On the eating side, if you’ve truly been eating well and balanced the past two weeks, it’s likely you’ve lost from 1-5 pounds. That probably seems like such a small number but in reality, it’s the kind of weight loss that’s normal, healthy, and most importantly, sustainable.
Sure, contestants on the Biggest Loser drop 10 pounds in a week. Google how many of them gain back the weight once they try to sustain that in real life. Trust me, you don’t want to put yourself through that.
While you may not feel like you’ve seen results, you have to at least feel better, right? Enjoy that feeling and strive to keep it!
And understand that being fit and healthy has no end point – it’s a lifelong commitment. Too often, the goal of “getting fit and healthy” is set but never achieved because of this. The fitness models in magazines, the ones that have massive social media followings – they didn’t reach that point in six weeks. In fact, they’ve probably been working on their bodies and health for years.
While you don’t have to live your life with the same level of commitment as a professional in the health and fitness world, realize that if you’re serious about it, it’s a never-ending process.
Space and Place
While likely not an initial thought, where you work out is a huge part of the equation to a successful fitness regime.
If you thought you could stick to a routine working out at home but find yourself constantly interrupted by kids or distracted by laundry, vacuuming, your DVR, or a million other things, it might be time to join a gym.
Or maybe you joined a yoga studio but find it hard to make it to any of the scheduled class times. It might make more sense to buy a mat, subscribe to an on-demand yoga channel, and give at-home workouts a shot.
Give yourself the best opportunity to succeed and it’s more likely you will.
That Damn Motivation
I know what you think. You think your biggest problem is that you’re just lacking motivation right now.
Remember the lesson on motivation: it’s not a real thing.
Remember the lesson on working out and eating right: it’s a choice. And it’s WORK.
Remove the concept of motivation from your brain and vocabulary. When you eliminate it as an excuse, you’ll figure out the real issue.
Okay, time to get real. This whole working out, eating right, balanced lifestyle. Is this something you really want? Or do you have a case of the “shoulds?”
I “should” go to the gym.
I “should” lose 20 pounds.
I “should” be able to run that 5k.
I “should” be a size 6.
If you think you should do something, but you don’t really want to and can’t give any reasons why you want to do it there’s virtually no chance you’re going to do it.
I remember telling someone this when they mentioned they might want to run a marathon. Their reasoning was, “I’ve done a half, I feel like I should do a full.” Yep, you for sure could do it; I mean, your body will be able to physically do it. But you have to really want to do it. If you’re going to sacrifice free time, drag your ass out of bed for a Saturday morning long run, and power through 40-50+ mile weeks, you have to really want it.
This is why I could never achieve a goal of being a bikini bodybuilder or traveling to every state. I don’t have a passion for either and I’m not willing to sacrifice other things in life to do either.
In order to reignite and get back on track for your resolution, I think the best piece of advice I can give is to forget the whole idea of New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, start thinking of fitness and health as a lifestyle and ongoing process. One that fits with what you want in life, is hallmarked by small, frequent, measurable goals, and includes a plan and the commitment to stick with it.
If you’ve struggled with resolutions or simply with sticking to health and fitness in general, I challenge you to adjust your mindset and start by setting one goal – a clear, measurable, achievable goal. Then, hit me up with a comment, Instagram post or tweet when you achieve it!
How are your January fitness goals going? Share successes or struggles in the comments below or connect with me: @LindsayIRL on Twitter or @lindsayinreallife on Instagram.