I started my healthy lifestyle when I was 18 years old (you can read more about it here). That’s 15 years of restarts. 15 years of trying different diets, programs, exercises, quick fixes, etc. 15 years of failing. It wasn’t until 3 years ago when that finally changed and I’ve not only stuck to this lifestyle but I’ve been the most comfortable in my own skin in those years and reached goals that I truly thought were impossible.
So if you’re frustrated with re-starting your health and fitness goals every year to only fall off continue reading and perhaps this will help you realize it’s not too late and you can still get there – if you want that is.
Here are the top Three reasons WHY you aren’t successfully reaching those healthy goals you set out to attain each year.
Reason 1. You’re not ready. I don’t care how many times you start but if you are not mentally ready, you will not succeed. You have to DECIDE, COMMIT and FOLLOW THROUGH. Sometimes we have to start with our mental sate before we can begin physically. How we do that varies on ourselves and our individual needs. It might require talking to a professional, perhaps some daily personal development, daily affirmations to yourself, etc. but you won’t be able to fully commit if you aren’t mentally ready.
Reason 2. Your WHY is not strong enough. This is where you have to DIG deep and also know the type of person you are.
Dig Deep: Ask yourself WHY do you want to reach that health and fitness goal? Have you gained weight that it’s hard to physically do things? Perhaps your doctors visit didn’t go how you expected it to? Are you skinny fat and want to eat better and be healthy? Tired of always being tired and having no energy? Finding that answer is a start but you have to go further than that. Do you want to be around for a long time? Do you want to be a good example for your kids? Do you want to stop having to take medications every day for the rest of your life?
Your WHY has to be so strong you can refer to it on days when you just don’t want to or days where you want to eat all the things and it pushes you forward.
How do you habit: You have to know the type of person you are and your tendency towards creating habits. Last year I read Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before (I highly recommend) and there’s this section about how a person responds to an expectation. She breaks it down into 4 different groups and most people fall into one of them.
1. Upholders – respond readily to outer and inner expectations.
If you’re an upholder, you shouldn’t be having much trouble starting a new habit like reaching those health goals because you respond to a goal set for yourself (inner) and those where you’re accountable to someone else (challenge groups, friends, etc.), so there might be something else preventing you from being successful in your goals.
2. Questioners – question all expectations and will meet them only if they feel it’s justified.
A questioner will start and be able to complete their goals IF they BELIEVE it’s useful and makes sense. If this is you, research and ASK away until you find something that you feel is going to work and help you achieve your goals.
3. Obligers – respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner ones.
An obliger will fulfill a goal if they’re doing it for someone besides themselves. This is me (for the most part) I will show up at a gym class if a friend asks me too, however I won’t show up on my own. I’ve done a 45 day raw diet to support my sister and I guarantee if I did it on my own I would have quit after the first few days. I’m an online health & fitness coach and my challengers and those watching are who I show up and fight for every day.
One of the most common tendencies out there. If this is you, use your strength and find something or someone to reach your goal for. Find an accountability partner, a coach, a challenge group but also form your WHY around someone else. Lead by example for someone around you that you wish would get healthier too, you want your kids to know what it’s like to be healthy, etc.
It’s ok if you’re doing if for someone else and not yourself. Sometimes that’s what we have to do to start and eventually that changes. Eventually you’ll be getting up and doing it for you. The reality is, each time you get up and work-out, eat healthier you’re doing it for you PLUS those around you – sometimes we have to trick our brain to get the job done though.
4. Rebels – resist all inner and outer expectations.
A rebel doesn’t like to feel obligated and expected to do something so they resist. You have to allow a rebel to take it one day at a time and for them to DECIDE to do it themselves.
Have you figured out who you are yet!? If not, take Rubin’s quiz to find out!
Once you have, embrace it and form your WHY around it to make it work for you to be successful at your goals!
Reason 3. You’re not thinking of this as a lifestyle. If you continue to think in terms of temporary you’ll continue to fail and fall back on bad habits. Don’t get me wrong, you’re going to fail on this journey (I still do to this day) but it’ll be different. You’ll go from starting this journey every January 1st and falling off shortly after to just continuing this journey each year. You’ll have hiccups, bumps in the roads and struggles but you have that with everything in life. However, each time you hit one of these bumps you’ll recover quicker and get back to it because it’s now your life. Take it each day at a time but don’t limit yourself.
There’s one more thing that I’ve found causes people to fall off eventually and goes along with reason three.
All the things, All at once: Drink half my body weight of water a day, no alcohol, no junk, no carbs, no sugar, exercise every day, 10,000 steps…I’m exhausted just typing all that. I’d last two days, maybe three. Most people make it a week, week and a half and then they need a break. The problem is they don’t ever come back from that break. Some people can go all in and have to because that’s how they work. Others need to take it a step and day at a time and that’s OK. Don’t deprive yourself of everything all at once, you’re setting yourself up to fail. It’s a lifestyle not temporary so you have to ask yourself what kind of lifestyle do you want to live. One where you get to enjoy the things you love still but perhaps in a different way (on occasion and in proportion) or where you eliminate it completely? You get to choose.
That’s the greatest thing about changing your lifestyle, it’s your choice and there are so many different options out there to make it work for you but first you have to make the choice.
I think Shonda Rhimes says it best in her book, Year of Yes (another great book) “I gave myself a choice. Which yes did I want to say? There were two options: I can say yes, I want to be successful at this. I want to be healthy. I want to live a long life for myself and for my children. I want to feel good. And once I say that, I have to buckle down and do the work and not complain and accept the work is going to be hard. Because that is what it is. Work. Hard work….if I say yes the life I save will be my own. Or: I can say no. Screw losing weight….I can say I do not want to be successful at this. I want to eat fried chicken…..But if I say no, if I say I do not want to do the work? Then game over. I have to shut up. I don’t want to hear me whining ever again about not buckling that plane seat belt. I don’t want to listen to a monologue on the pain of not touching my toes. Do not come crying to me about how I hurt my own feelings when I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. Because I made a choice. I said “no.” We don’t always get a choice in things. Life tends to throw us curve balls not matter how much we try to control the outcome. We do however have a choice when it comes to our health and fitness.”
Every reason why you haven’t been successful at your goals is within your control, each one is a CHOICE YOU get to make.