It’s time we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. I hear so many people talk about how they struggle to get started reaching their goals, or stay consistent, and they constantly blame themselves.
Here’s what I keep hearing:
“I just don’t have enough willpower”
“I’m not disciplined enough”
“I don’t have what it takes.”
Usually the people saying these things are people who are very successful in other areas of their lives, so what is it that makes health and fitness goals so different?
What is it that causes us to struggle to get started? Or to self-sabotage once we start seeing results?
It’s not that we are weak, undisciplined, or lazy… chances are there may be some underlying fears and concerns that haven’t been addressed yet.
Here are three big reasons why we struggle to get started or stay consistent on our health and fitness goals:
1. Fear of failure –
If you’ve ever procrastinated starting something, you probably know well the fear of failure. There’s a fear that if we “don’t get it right” or “screw up” then we are doomed, done for, and that we have blown it for good.
So it becomes easier to think about the possibility of starting, to plan, to dream, than it is to do. Because it’s when we actually do something that we realize that all of our best laid plans are likely to have some detours and bumps in the road.
We take these detours as proof that we are going to fail, and so it’s easier to not do and not fail, than it is to do and struggle.
But here’s the thing: these detours aren’t failures. These detours and struggles aren’t a sign that we can’t succeed. In fact, each time we encounter a struggle or potential “failure” we have the opportunity to learn from them, grow, and keep moving.
Mistakes and struggles don’t make us failures, they make us human… and they are the reason we learn. If we never struggled we would never learn, and we would never improve.
Instead of fearing failure, or using it as a sign that you won’t be successful, be excited each time you reach a challenge, or find yourself struggling. Because on the opposite of that struggle is a new life lesson, a new improvement, and a new way of being a little bit better.
2. Fear of success –
You may doubt me when I say that many people who struggle to reach their health and fitness goals are afraid of success. But hear me out.
There are a lot of consequences of reaching our goals that we don’t consider. For many people, the struggle with weight or food becomes a part of their life identity. When you’ve spent the majority of your life thinking about food, fearing food, hating food, it can seem scary to have all of that extra brain space.
What will you think about on your free time?
What will you think about when you’re falling asleep at night if it’s not what you will eat tomorrow?
And remember all of those things that you have been waiting to do until you lost weight? Remember all of those fears, ideas, and dreams that you have put off until you “reach you goal weight”?
What if you actually reached that goal? What if you actually got to start doing these things? Does the thought of that scare you a little? If it does, you may be using your weight, your health, your fitness, as an easy-out to keep you from taking action on other things that would help improve your life.
Fear of fitness success may seem like a tough mental block to overcome, but it doesn’t have to be. One incredibly effective way to overcome the fear of success is to start facing those fears in the here and now, instead of procrastinating them.
Take those lists of things you want to do after you reach your weight loss goals and start doing them now. Some of those things will seem scary. The truth is, chances are they won’t be any less scary when you’re fit and lean than they are now. But they won’t be any less rewarding or awesome now than they would be in the future. And the good news is, you don’t have to wait.
You don’t have to wait until you’ve reached a certain weight/size/etc to feel confident in your body. You don’t have to wait until you’ve reached a certain number on the scale to change jobs, find love, or create happiness in your life.
3. Fear of not liking the results of success
Similar to the fear of success, this is the fear that even once you reach your goal you won’t be happy with what you’ve achieved. The biggest driver of this fear: Unrealistic expectations of what the “after” looks like.
And I’m not just talking about that perfectly toned – cellulite free – fitspo poster body that social media has deceived us into thinking is reality (although that is a huge problem too). It’s also the unrealistic expectation that weight loss will solve all our problem,
It’s easy to go down that road. We imagine that once we reach our goals, our job will improve, people will respect us more, we will feel more confident speaking out, we will be happier… We hinge our entire future happiness on how we look.
What happens once we reach our goals and our struggles are still there? It’s understandable that we might be resistant to losing weight or getting fit because the illusion of how perfect everything will be would be shattered.
The solution for this type of fear is strikingly similar to the fear of success. The trick to overcoming this type of fear is to accept and embrace the here and now. If you don’t love your body now you won’t love it when you’ve reached another number on the scale. If you are struggling with something now, chances are it will be just as much of a struggle in the future. Instead of waiting for some mythical day in the future where weight loss will change our lives, we have the ability to start making changes now.
So what’s next?
If you find yourself struggling to take action or stay consistent with your health and fitness goals, consider taking a look at these three fears, and see if they might apply to you. Chances are with a small change in your thinking you can see some huge changes in your ability to take action.