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Getting in shape can mean different things to different people. For some people, it’s about losing weight. For others, its about gaining muscle. Others want to tone up and maybe get that ever-coveted ‘six pack.’ Others still just want to get really strong. Regardless of your personal definition of “get in shape,” the fact is that people will fail more often than they succeed. I’m here to help change that. So, for starters, here’s what I think are the top three reasons people don’t succeed at their fitness goals.
First and foremost, we need to address a very important point, here: We are bombarded. We’re bombarded every single day, by television, magazines, advertisements, and more. We’re bombarded with images of “beautiful people,” the people everyone’s supposed to look like, act like, and be like. We’re bombarded with enormous success stories, of people losing three hundred pounds, or gaining sixty pounds of pure muscle, or turning their flabby belly into a chiseled six pack in a month.
All of these things come together in a really toxic mix to create unhealthy expectations, and unrealistic goals. Is it possible to lose three hundred pounds? Absolutely, and people that do it in a healthy, sustainable manner should be commended! However, the Biggest Loser does not illustrate a healthy, sustainable model of weight loss. Is it possible to gain sixty pounds of muscle, or get that awesome six pack? Sure, but probably not in the same time frame that people with access to personal trainers, chefs, and maybe even anabolic steroids do.
When we set unrealistic goals for getting in shape, we invariably fail to meet them because these goals are just that, not really possible. That failure causes disappointment, which leads to lack of motivation, which leads to more failure and a general lack of desire to even try. “Why bother?” It’s the toxic question that failing to meet your goals time and time again spawns, and it’s why setting unrealistic goals is probably the single biggest enemy to real, lasting positive change in your life.
Lack of Motivation
No, this isn’t about putting on your favorite song from your favorite movie montage. It’s not about watching inspirational videos on YouTube, or getting yourself pumped by watching your favorite anime. These are great methods of getting yourself fired up temporarily, but I’m talking about something deeper, here. I’m talking about that original reason you wanted to get in shape, your “primary motivator,” if you will. If you don’t have a real solid reason to drive you forward, you’re going to slowly lose track.
The reason needs to be relevant, and the more personal it is, the better. Trying to look hot so you can pick up babes is not really a solid primary motivator (also, if that’s the way you phrase it in your head I advise you to take a look at my articles on feminism.) That isn’t to say that aesthetics aren’t a solid primary motivator, though! Wanting to get in shape to be more attractive to your significant other, for instance, can be a very powerful personal motivator. Personally, I have three primary motivations.
- I’m a dad, and I always want my son to see me as basically a living superhero.
- I want to be the man my wife dreams about. 😉
- I want to change the world by setting an example for people, especially the people reading this blog (like you!)
On any given day, if I feel like skipping out on a workout, I look at those primary motivators and they help to keep me on course. Your primary motivators may have to do with performance in a sport of your choosing, increasing your longevity, or just making your life more enjoyable by opening up activities you weren’t capable of doing before. Regardless, if your motivator is not defined and relevant, you’re gonna probably run into some speed bumps.
Lack of Accountability
There’s a reason why partners who decide to get fit together have so much more success than those who have only one person in the relationship trying to get fit. There’s a reason why people who have workout buddies tend to go to the gym more regularly, eat healthier, and progress faster than those who don’t. There’s a reason why keeping a workout log can lead to a greater success rate than just exercising without writing it down. They all come down to a form of accountability. This can be accountability to a loved one, a friend, yourself, or the general public at large.
Now, before we go any further I don’t mean that you need someone to shame you for skipping a day at the gym or having a “cheat meal” (god I hate that term.) Shame is bad, and it doesn’t help. Accountability means you are on record with someone, you have someone supporting you, and you’ve got an ear to vent to if you need it. Having some sort of accountability system set up is crucial to success in fitness goals. In fact, the more you’ve got, the better.
If you and your partner are trying to get in shape and you work out regularly with another couple with the same goals, while also logging your workouts and posting them in a fitness group? Well guess what, you’ve just increased your chances of success by 1500%. Having so many brains to bounce ideas off of, to give you a friendly kick in the butt when you don’t feel like working out, or to eat healthy foods with you rather than temp you with the double grande burrito is such a big help. Heck, even joining a public gym instead of working out at home can be a big help (assuming gym anxiety doesn’t get to you.)
These are not the only reasons people fail!
They are just, in my opinion, the biggest ones. Now, if you enjoyed this post (and I hope you did,) I really hope you’ll come join us in the webinar tomorrow night. We’ve still got slots open (for now, at least,) and we’re going to be talking about all of this and more, plus some great tips for overcoming these pitfalls, AND a Q&A session at the end! So, if you’re interested in learning more about this stuff…
Click here to reserve your slot for “How to Succeed at Getting in Shape!”
I hope to see you there! (Metaphorically, of course. Webcams not required.. =P) As always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace