Making Fitness Goals Stick

Whether it’s sticking to a program of physical training or being consistent with nutrition, we all fall off the wagon every now and then.

How can you make your health and fitness goals stick? The answer may start with having the proper motivation, but you’ll need a few more tools to get you through in the long run.

Start with your "Why"

What exactly are you striving for, and why? Ask yourself, “what’s the real reason for change in my life”?

Getting fit or losing weight may seem like “why’s”, but those are often merely superficial thoughts that lie on the surface. Try and dig a bit deeper to find your real motivation. If you think you need to lose body fat, what exactly does that mean? Why do you want to lose the fat? Will your life change if you reach your goal, and if so - how? Are you doing it for yourself or to please someone else?

Those motivators are important to understand. Thinking you should lose weight may seem like motivation enough, but for most people it’s not going to cause them to change their habits on a consistent basis in the long run.

On the other hand, if you recognize that you aren’t moving like you used to and that simple tasks like climbing stairs leave you winded, then you’ll connect improving your body composition with feeling better and moving better, without pain and without restrictions. That’s a far better motivation.

Don't set yourself up to fail

Some people’s goals make them even more miserable (although they think they’ll be happier once they reach them), and that’s why they fail in the process.

If you don’t enjoy running, then why make a fitness goal that involves getting up at the crack of dawn to run 5K? That strategy won’t last long if you try and force it. If you’re an emotional eater, why put yourself on a highly restrictive diet during stressful times? There’s more than one way to get results, you just have to find what works for you.

Goals should make your life better, not worse

Goals will stick better if they improve your day-to-day existence. If you make yourself miserable in the process, the likelihood that you’ll fail is much higher.

What can you do today that will improve your daily life?

Focus on positive habits, not future outcomes

Personally, I’m a big believer in affirmations. While goals are important, they’re always rooted in some mythical future state, a state that you may or may not achieve. You should be able to enjoy life in the present too!

Affirmations allow you to connect your present state with the future.

Ensure your affirmations are positive and will add value to your day and well-being. Make your own affirmations and write a few down on paper.

Here are some examples:
  • I’m a person who loves to practice joint mobility in the mornings, because movement makes me feel so good.
  • I enjoy learning new physical skills.
  • I crave highly nutritious foods.
  • I love the way I feel when I’m training to be strong.
  • I’m the type of person that leads by example. I walk the walk.
  • I think of exercise as a creative, enjoyable process. It’s not punishment. It’s my time to see what my body is capable of.
  • I’m a mover. I look for opportunities to move, even when I’m sitting at my desk.

Ensure your affirmations add value to your day

Your affirmations should be satisfying and desirable, even in the short run. If they truly add value to your life, you’ll not only stay consistent with your habits, you’ll reach your overall goals.

One step at a time

Resist the urge to make wholesale lifestyle changes in the beginning. I’ve seen many people try to “get back into shape” and they try and go from sedentary living to getting to the gym 5 times a week, meal planning and prepping, drinking enough water, trying to get enough sleep, etc. It’s too much of course, and they burn out quickly.

Instead of large changes, introduce a new habit to follow each week.

Pick something you can improve right now. Something simple, maybe it’s saying you’ll do a routine of 5 Equalizer rows, 7 EQ push ups and 9 body weight squats for 5 minutes, 3 times per week. Choose a time when you’re going to do this routine. Use a trigger to get you started - for example it could be as soon as you finish work, or after you’ve had your first morning coffee.

Once you’ve established the habit, you can look at making it more of a challenge (maybe you train for 10 minutes) or adding a new one.

Keep a journal

Finally, journal your affirmations and habits daily. Keep things positive and don’t try and make your journal perfect. What are you already doing? What do you already know? How could you make it just a little bit better?

Focusing on positive affirmations, introducing small habits, and journalling your progress will set you up for success in the future!

By: Greg Carver for Lebert Fitness
Founder/Lead Training, StrengthBox, Inc