By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
Dedication to achieving a goal is incredibly admirable – being committed to a direct path that will lead to success says a lot about a person.
It takes discipline, trusting and believing in yourself, and not letting others negatively influence your decisions. It also takes courage, strength, determination – and maybe lots of deep breaths some tears- but ultimately a lot of self-worth.
THE ALL-OR-NOTHING TRAP
Having the drive to motivate and push you forward is like a catapult. Instantaneously, you are going from a complete standstill to suddenly being propelled forward at an intense rate of speed.
This can be a great thing, and you may feel almost euphoric – as long as you don’t hit a wall before you hit your intended target (i.e. reach your goal). This is all too common when people get inspired and motivated, and become incredibly determined to achieve a fitness goal (we will see it real soon with New Year’s just around the corner).
I call this the “All or Nothing Trap.” I think we have all done this at some point in our lives, and may still be doing it. You’ve heard people say I am an all or nothing person. If I’m in, I’m ALL IN!
Some people can even drive themselves crazy going around and around in a circle and get completely caught up in a vicious cycle of being “all in” (eating super healthy, exercising 5-6 days per week, skipping desserts, etc.) for a short period of time. Then something happens – an injury, a death in the family, a changing job situation or relationship status, the holidays – and everything stops. The workouts, the eating healthy, the progress – everything just completely stops.
SLOW AND STEADY
For some, going all in isn’t a problem. They know that if they set a goal, they will achieve it, so it’s OK to put everything you have into achieving your goals. It’s a safe route, and there most likely won’t be any problems regardless of what bumps in the road you face along the way.
But for most who are either just starting out, or for those who are revising old fitness goals they’ve been trying to accomplish for years, going all in is a dangerous path. This mentality could end up setting you up for failure physically and emotionally.
An example of this is going from not exercising at all to exercising three times week for an hour. Every individual is different, but to me this seems unrealistic. Going from zero hours to three hours a week is a lot, and it can be overwhelming and exhausting once the excitement and motivation is gone after a week or two.
Three hours a week might not seem like a lot at first, but it would be very easy for someone to give up if they aren’t use to being sore and fatigued from working out, and if they feel like they have taken on too much!
A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY
When I propose to people who are just starting out that they should take the first 3-4 weeks and adjust to the habit of working out by only going to the gym 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes, they look at me like I’m crazy and say something along the lines of “That doesn’t seem like that much, is that going to be enough?”
Well, it is 100% more than what you are doing right now, and you’d be surprised at what just 20-30 minutes a few times a week can do for you if you aren’t exercising at all
I would put money on the fact that most people would rather skip a workout if they only had about 20-30 minutes to get a workout in. I know this because I used to have this mentality too. I felt like unless I could work out for at least 45-60 minutes, it wasn’t worth my time. So why bother.
But give it a try, and you may be amazed at what you can accomplish in just 20-30 minutes. And if you are just starting out, or just getting back to it, that is more than enough to ease you back into it.
I always encourage people to start small so that you are almost guaranteed to achieve your weekly workout goals.
You don’t have to be one extreme or the other, going all in on a “fitness kick” then falling off the wagon a week or two later. Once you trust yourself to accomplish these smaller goals, you can always add another workout in down the road having confidence that you will succeed.
TIPS TO AVOID THE ALL-OR-NOTHING TRAP
1. Don’t take on too much too quickly.
2. Set small, realistic weekly goals that you know you will be able to fit into your schedule and achieve.
3. Don’t be in a rush to see results, or else you will be disappointed. Instead, focus on incorporating healthy habits and activities that will eventually lead to results. You’ll get there, but not if you keep waiting for the results to show up. This may end up in disappointment and trigger giving up completely.
4. Know that any extra little workout – even just a 20 minute workout – is going to help you get that much closer to your goal. It is progress! It is worth putting for the effort to just get that workout in. Don’t think that just because it is only 20 or 30 minutes that it isn’t worth it, because it is.
5. You are doing this for the long haul, so just take it one day at a time, one workout at a time, one meal at a time.
As I mentioned before, if you feel you trust yourself to be able to go all in, then by all means go for it! Aiming high is fantastic, and I am all for it. But I have seen too many people quit because they started doing too much too soon and just completely stopped because it was too hard and overwhelming.
Be honest with yourself and don’t set goals too high that may have a boomerang effect and cause you to go running in the opposite direction. It’s OK to take a cautious, slow and steady approach to fitness. As long as you are doing the workouts and making strides with eating healthy, and being consistent about it, that’s “all in” enough to succeed!
Tip Me Tuesday: The Cost Of Health
Tip Me Tuesday: The Struggle Is Real
Tip Me Tuesday: Know Your Body Inside And Out
Tip Me Tuesday: No Pain, No Gain (Sometimes)
Tip Me Tuesday: The Balancing Act – Health, Fitness & Life
Tip Me Tuesday: Enjoy The Journey
How To Set And Reset Your Goals
Tip Me Tuesday: Maximize Your Cardio
Tip Me Tuesday: The Waiting Game
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.