Staying fit and healthy is a common goal among Canadians. Whether you are a student, young professional, parent, snowbird or retiree, most of us have some sort of fitness goal. However, with so much information and misinformation available, not to mention thousands of fitness magazines and blogs, it can be confusing to know which program to follow, exercises to do and foods to eat.
It can be overwhelming if you are trying to make a change in your life to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Making a change in your life, even a small one, can be difficult, and when times get tough, many people can actually start to sabotage their own fitness success.
Two ways you might be sabotaging your fitness success
While there are countless ways your fitness goals can fall off the rails, there are two methods of self-sabotage that are common among most people.
“In my experience, most people sabotage their journey by letting one less-than-ideal health choice snowball or by trying to adopt a method of change that doesn’t fit their personality,” says Kathleen Trotter, a personal trainer, in the Globe and Mail.
If you feel your motivation is starting to take a dip, be conscious of the following:
1. Snowball effect
Perhaps the most common way people sabotage their fitness goals is by falling out of habit. As soon as you miss a workout or have a moment of weakness and indulge more than you should have, it creates a moment of vulnerability. Cheating on your diet or skipping a workout here and there is perfectly normal. It’s when missing a workout turns into skipping another workout, and then missing a week and so on, where your fitness goals fall off track. If you miss a workout or eat a pizza (or whatever your less-than-healthy favourite food is), get back on track immediately.
2. Methods of change that don’t fit you
Making any change is difficult. You know yourself, and it’s important to set fitness goals while being honest about the things that will work for you and the things that will not. The key is to choose a method of change that makes sense for your lifestyle. For example, if you take up running, but you don’t enjoy it, you are likely setting yourself up for failure.
“Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Other people’s health and diet regimens are exactly that – theirs. Sure, you can twist yourself into knots and adapt to someone else’s program for a few weeks, but chances are you won’t be able to maintain the program over the long haul,” says Trotter.
How to keep your fitness goals in check
Here are some ways to stay focused on your fitness goals:
- Work with a personal trainer or nutritionist
- Get a gym partner
- Track your progress
- Persist when the going gets tough
- Set realistic goals and break them into smaller goals
- Have a workout schedule and stick to it
- Prepare meals in advance
Doing these things will help keep you on track and prevent you from sabotaging yourself from reaching your goals and improving your health.