By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
Have you ever gotten ridiculously excited about starting an exercise program, or setting a fitness goal you just couldn’t wait to achieve? Maybe you’re embarking on a transformation challenge for the first time, or working with a personal trainer for the first time. Or maybe you’re prepping for your first body building competition, or training for your first 5k, obstacle race or triathlon.
You felt almost giddy, and couldn’t wait to get to the gym for your next workout and head to the grocery store to buy all the healthy things, beaming with joy from the inside out! Whatever the fitness feat might be, you’re as excited about it as a little kid on Christmas morning.
REALITY SETS IN
But a few weeks or months down the road, the honeymoon phase is over and you find yourself frazzled, stressed out, and disappointed because you may have not stuck to what you said you were going to do or you aren’t progressing like you thought you would be. The daily tasks you have to do in order to progress further towards your goals are a lot harder than you thought they’d be, and you often question why you decided to embark on this seemingly monumental task.
You feel like you’re on a collision course to a total crash and burn. Or maybe you feel like you’ve already plummeted into an unrecoverable abyss of failure. How did this happen? How can you go from feeling sheer joy, excitement and enthusiasm to feeling disappointed, apathetic and distain for the exact same thing you were excited about not too long ago?
HEED THE WARNING SIGNS
I have good news: when you start seeing some of the early warning signs of a potential fitness program derailment, you can implement strategies to prevent a catastrophic meltdown.
1. Know yourself and be realistic about how much you can handle given all of your responsibilities. If you have quite a bit on your plate, maybe now is not the time to pursue an equally demanding fitness goal that may add more stress and responsibilities. You need to be realistic about your priorities, your time commitments and how much more taking on a new fitness goal would take away from any of your other responsibilities. Something as demanding and focused as prepping for a bodybuilding competition may take away time from your other responsibilities more than you realize, and you may end up spreading yourself too thin.
2. Be fair about the extent of a commitment you can give. There is a difference between being realistic about how much you can handle, and being fair to yourself about how much you should handle. Why take on a monumental fitness goal during a time in your life when it may come at too high a cost (for example, your sanity)? Be fair to yourself and maybe take on a smaller, less intense fitness goal for the time being, then save a larger, more involved fitness goal for a time when you may actually enjoy the goal and the experience of achieving that goal. Wait until you have a little less on your plate so you can commit more of yourself to that goal. There’s no rush, and the only pressure you are getting is the pressure you’re giving yourself.
3. Be present and fully aware of your reasons for pursuing a fitness goal. This can be significant in the end result of either achieving your goal, or continuing to attempt to achieve it and crashing every time. This may sound strange, but we can sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we want something – – but we can have ulterior motives, even to ourselves. Yep, we can unintentionally manipulate ourselves. Crazy, huh? One of the most common examples of this is when someone has a habit of self-sabotage, or self-destructive tendencies. For whatever reason, some people have a habit of taking on a goal, then behaving in a way that sabotages their chances for success. If you are fully present and aware of your reasons (or motives) for wanting to move forward with a fitness goal, and genuinely feel like you will do your best to achieve it without sabotaging your changes of success, then you will most likely achieve your goal.
4. Acknowledge past sensitivities from previous attempts at achieving your goals. What methods or approaches have worked for you in the past when trying to achieve goals, fitness or otherwise? What hasn’t worked for you in the past? In previous experiences with fitness goals, at what point do things start to turn south, and what emergency plans can you have in place to prevent another crash and burn?
5. Starting over is definitely something you should encourage yourself to do. If you attempt a goal a dozen times, start over a dozen times. But do so with a different approach, or having learned something from the previous attempts. Don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over and over, but don’t be hesitant to start over and try again every time something doesn’t work or doesn’t have the outcome you hoped for.
Setting and achieving lofty goals is something most all of us strive for. But there is a balance between setting high goals that with hard work, discipline, sacrifices and perseverance, are achievable, and goals that when trying to achieve may take too much out of us, take too much away from our other priorities and come at too high a cost, resulting in a crash and burn. Your health and fitness goals should keep you truly healthy inside and out in all areas of your life.
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.