Welcome back to part three of Why Aren't You Reaching Your Fitness Goals. Hopefully you have been following along over the past two weeks, and have been using these concepts to help you reach your goals.
Here's a recap: I first talked about setting goals and how they act as your road map to success. Then I spoke about how to develop a plan to stay consistent with your health related goals. In this post we will discuss how to not bite off more than you can chew.
Go All Or Nothing?
When people set fitness goals (or any goal for that matter), the tendency is to only look at the end game. I need to lose 50lbs, or I want to deadlift 600 lbs. But in reality, we never sit down and take a look at how we are going to get there.
When January hits, everyone goes into an all or nothing mode; cutting out carbs completely, hitting the gym 5 days a week, taking all sorts of weird juice cleanses, trying to become more productive at work and grow their savings account to the likes of President-Elect Trump, himself.
Thank God, I created the Joe's 7 minute ab shredder workout, because all the above sounds like a tremendous amount of work.
In retrospect, we tend to bite off more than we can chew. Going all or nothing is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. This causes short term gain. When all the changes become too hard to keep up with, we revert back to square one; this is the classic yo-yo-er.
What you really should be doing is making one change at a time, and mastering it. Easy things like actually being consistent in the gym. Once you can do this with ease and stop missing workouts, you can start thinking about the next goal; getting that extra hour of sleep per night. This allows you to build momentum and continue to make sustainable changes.
Research from the University College of London found it takes 21 days to make something habitual, and 66 days to make something a habit. Therefore on average, it takes three weeks to start getting into the habit of doing things and 3 months to solidify this as a habit. This is why after a few weeks of eating well it is still easy to fall off the wagon.
Let's say you were consistently going to the gym for three weeks and didn't miss a workout. You will come to find it easier and easier to get to the gym. Now you can start adding a new habit of going to bed one hour earlier. You come to fond this to be successful after three weeks as well. Next you decide you need to eat more vegetables, so you start adding them to each meal. After 3 more weeks this goal is becoming easier to achieve. Before you know it, you're hitting the gym three times per week, getting adequate sleep and eating better. And in less than a year you just created three strong rooted habits that are now part of your lifestyle.
I have seen people lose 15 - 20 lbs in several months doing this. The best part? It lasts. These people tend to keep their weight off for longer periods of time.
In today’s world we want everything now, and lose the value of slow and steady. If you follow that exact advice above, you will make it further towards your goals than you ever would have going all or nothing. Just ask the tortoise after he beat the hare.
Stay Strong, Move Well.