With everything from relationships to eating the right foods, the word commitment glares at us like a judgy aunt. It watches our every move. You feel its burn when you backslide. And while there’s a sliver of commitment in nearly every action we take, there’s no area of life more common in the realms of commitment slip-ups than fitness.
Shut your eyes and step into the memory banks of your last few fitness goals. Did you move through them like the wind, or were you off to a great start, only to fall back into a defeated slump? If you fit into the first group, bravo, you animal. If you’re in the second, well—welcome to nearly everyone’s issue.
So exactly why is committing to fitness—and anything really, so dang difficult? And is there a magic method that can conquer our fitness undertakings to make them as easy as slipping on a pair of socks?
Before we get to goal-crushing steps and figuring out exactly how we’re going to stick to three Pilates classes a week or running 30 miles a month, let’s dive into the root of why committing to fitness is a hard task for most of humanity.
Why Do Most People Fizzle With Their Fitness Goals?
Committing to fitness goals is a life change that takes finesse. But even those of us that get into a comfortable groove often fall out of it the very next month. Why is this?
Fear of Failure (and in some cases, success): Some of us don’t fall off the exercise wagon because we think we’ll never get to where we want to be—so what’s the point? Conversely, some of us stop midway through a goal because we’re afraid of what getting there will look like and what that change will mean (and what responsibilities come along with a new you).
Value of Self: When you don’t put yourself first, you may find that putting your health and goals on the backburner is a status quo in your life.
Overloading: You’re doing too much and not allowing room for rest and recharging. Basically, you’re trying to be the energizer bunny, but your battery back ran out a year ago.
If your mind is telling you anything other than “you can do it!” it may be time to take a deep look at what’s holding you back and push through those mental roadblocks. But for now, read on for steps that’ll help make being a healthier, stronger version of yourself effortless.
Steps to (Really) Achieving Your Fitness Goals
- Set Concrete Goals
Of everything you can do to achieve your fitness fantasies, creating concrete goals will be your most forceful motivator.
There’s nothing like a motivating goal to galvanize you into your workout gear. When you’re brainstorming your fitness goals, be as specific as possible, and make goals that shape an exciting journey. If you want to lose weight, write down exactly how much you want to lose—and keep track daily. If you want to shed some belly, how many (realistic) inches do you want to sweat away?
Maybe you just really want to take more yoga. But what type of classes do you want to take, and how many are you taking per week? Get all of the infinitesimal details on paper—every last triviality.
- Make Your Goals and Fitness Schedule REASONABLE
Please, do yourself a favor and don’t set yourself up for fitness heartbreak. While you may want everything to happen right away, the gateway to improved health is a marathon, not a sprint. Although you can make significant and immediate changes that work wonders, make sure that they fit into your life appropriately. Don’t load up your schedule so that you’re left with no time to sleep, and divide your goals into attainable steps.
- Fitness Apps
Apps will keep you on track, but studies have shown that health and fitness apps have limited efficacy. Though the app-route may work wonders for you, consider fitness apps as a supporting document in your overall fitness handbook.
- See Your Goals EVERYWHERE
If you’re really serious about your fitness goals, they’ve got to be visible until they become second nature—and this doesn’t mean hidden away on a calendar in your phone.
Invest in a few whiteboards to hang in the most eye-prone places in your living space. One hanging in your room should spell out your weekly fitness to-dos. Another in your living room should spark some movement with a fiery motivational quote and a few personal anecdotes.
Are you dreaming of looking or feeling a certain way? Make a visual board of your dream bod or general goals of how you want to feel (like getting stronger or feeling more energized).
- Accountability Partners
Most things in life are more fun with a friend, including fitness. The buddy system works wonders to trim and tone, but before you enter into obligations with a friend, be warned—it can also backfire. If your fitness partner has their own issue with fitness commitments, you may want to fly solo, as them dropping out of the ranks could propel your own discouragement.
- Reward System
For every goal you hit—whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—take a pause to say “thank you” to yourself. And shape the thank you into a reward, like a rest day at home where you don’t touch your laundry, or tickets to a comedy show (laughing is a great ab workout, btw).
The most important thing to motivate you along your fitness journey is to understand that you’re on this road for the betterment of yourself. If you fall behind, consider it a lesson learned, and apply what not to do on your future health conquests.