Trick your brain into helping you achieve your fitness goals
by Steve Theunissen on Dec 10, 2020
Fitness goals are a great thing to have. After all, we’ve only got one body. Keeping it in the best shape possible should be a priority for each of us. The reality for many people, though, is that pursuing a fitness goal is a bit like chasing a rainbow – they never reach it. In this article, we identify the key reasons why people fail to achieve their goals. We then reveal 5 powerful methods you can start using today to turn your fitness goals into reality.
Why You Can’t Reach Your Goals
Most people are not particularly good at setting goals. Often what they think is a goal is nothing more than a general desire or ambition. For instance, a person may say that they want to lose weight in 2021. That’s a good start but it is far too vague. How much do you want to lose and by when? Unless you set a specific goal that is time bound, you won’t have anything to aim for.
Often people set goals with the best of intentions. This is often done during a period of down time such as the holidays. They usually get started with all guns blazing, only to fizzle out when their normal life’s routine kicks back into play. That’s the reason that January is the busiest month of the year for gyms and March is the quietest!
Even when people’s lives don’t get too busy, they often find it difficult to maintain the enthusiasm and motivation needed to keep their exercise and healthy eating habits consistent.
Turn Your Goals into Realities
Find Your Emotional Driver
Imagine two men digging into the earth. The first man has been sentenced to hard labor and spends his days digging holes and then covering them up again. The other has just survived an earthquake and is digging with his hands into the rubble in search of his young daughter. It’s obvious which one has the greater motivation.
Now think about two people exercising. One of them has a vague idea that they want to lose weight for the summer. The other is working out to set a positive role model for her children and to have the energy and ability to play with them. Clearly the second person will have the deeper motivational well to draw upon when challenges arise.
Finding your emotional driver is a key to sustaining the motivation needed to pursue your fitness goals. To find it, ask yourself not only what you want to achieve but why? Keep asking that question until you drill down on the core reason. Often you will find that the basis of your answer to the why question is pain avoidance. That is an extremely powerful driver!
Team Up with a Buddy
Pairing up with a workout partner is an excellent way to sustain your momentum to achieve your goals. Having someone to share your challenges and successes with will make your workouts more enjoyable. Knowing that another person is relying on you will also give you the nudge you need to get off the couch. The social support you get from having a workout buddy has also been shown to significantly boost exercise regularity.
A workout partner will also help keep your exercise form on point. This will help you get results which will, in turn, feed your motivation to keep going. Look for a partner who has similar goals to you, a schedule that works with yours and similar motivations. You want someone who will match your drive and who will know the right way to push you.
Learn to Love Exercise
Many people view working out as a means to an end. Often, they actually hate the movements they are doing. As a result, they look upon their workouts as a chore. It’s hardly surprising that they let it slip by the wayside at every opportunity.
Until you flip the script and learn to love exercise, you will always struggle to maintain motivation and achieve your fitness goals. Learning to love exercise means that you have to enjoy the journey. Take the time to find a workout that you genuinely have fun doing and start looking forward to exercising. Whether you prefer working out at home, in a gym or simply outdoors, there is something for you.
By focusing on the immediate benefits that you get from working out, you can start to make the shift from putting up with exercise to loving it. Rather than fixating on the end goal of weight loss or muscle gain, set your mind on immediate results such as stress relief, the rush of feel-good hormones that are released, the mindfulness that results from your mind-muscle connection and the greater feeling of self confidence that you get from exercising.
Focus on a Daily Goal
It’s great to set a long-term goal. The problem, however, is that a goal that is six months away is hard to focus on day to day. It’s simply too far away. That is why you need to break your long-term goal down into smaller stepping-stones. Establish monthly and 3-month long goals that will lead you to your long-term objectives. Break that down even further to daily goals. Know exactly what you need to achieve each day to reach your goals. Take it a day at a time and you’ll reach those end goals before you know it.
Have a Back Up Plan
It doesn’t matter how motivated you are, there will be times when you are unable to get in your workout or eat as you know you should. Having a back up plan will allow you to manage these situations without abandoning your goal for that day. If you can’t get in your normal 45-minute workout, have a back-up 10-minute bodyweight routine that you can knock out.
You can make 2021 the year that you finally achieve the fitness goals that have evaded you for so long. By identifying your emotional driver, teaming up with a buddy, learning to love exercise, focusing on a daily goal, and having a back-up plan, you’ll be able to transform yourself and achieve real, lasting results.