Achieve Health and Fitness Goals Once and For All With This Behavior ChangeNov 01, 2022
For anyone interested in making lifestyle changes, these are some common mistakes to avoid and ways to set yourself up for success. These tips are especially helpful when it comes to fitness goals for beginners. Let's dive in!
A Beginner Fitness Common Mistake - An All or Nothing Mentality
The most common hurdle for those embarking on a beginner fitness health and wellness journey is the "all or nothing" mentality. This cognitive distortion and polarizing thought pattern generates self-defeating thoughts and keeps us from reaching our goals. It happens when we lose focus of our "why" or feel defeated and give up instead of doing what we can to work through challenges and toward our goals. Below are two common scenarios where this pattern of thinking commonly occurs.
Scenario 1: Taking on More than You can Handle
Picture it! It's a new year. You decide you will do whatever it takes to get your health and fitness checked, so you purchase a gym membership and new workout attire, meal prep, set your alarm for 5 a.m., and commit to making this your new lifestyle moving forward.
Then, by week three, you hit the snooze button, find yourself in the fast food line, and end up putting your health goals on the back burner indefinitely. If this story sounds familiar, you are not alone! The truth is, it's not you, it's the plan.
To understand why this happens, it's essential to understand "short-term gains and pains." Short term "gains" are the positive aesthetic responses you might experience, such as liking how you look and feeling a slight burst of energy. These are the moments when you feel like your efforts are paying off and motivate you to continue. On the flip side, short-term "pains" represent the physical and mental discomfort that you've endured to achieve the "gains."
Unfortunately, when your plan is unrealistic, these "pains" outweigh the "gains," which can make you feel defeated and cause you to give up on your goals entirely. The truth is, you can keep your life intact; plans that are easier to manage and conducive to your lifestyle are more likely to help you reach your goals.
Scenario 2: Not Taking "Little Goals" Seriously
My favorite example of this is doing a 5-minute workout every morning! At the moment, it might seem more worthwhile to spend that 5 minutes on something else, but imagine the impact that just 5 minutes of exercise a day can make in a year. That's more than 30 hours invested in your fitness! An easily achievable beginner fitness goal. I refer to these goals as "long-term pains and gains." They might feel unnecessary or inconvenient, but they can have a considerable impact if pursued consistently. On the other hand, when an "all or nothing approach" is taken with these goals, thousands of pieces of low hanging fruit are left on the tree each year.
How To Reach Your Goals Once & For All
While consistency is critical, so is maintaining a positive mindset. If you fall off the wagon or realize your plan is no longer attainable, change course instead of abandoning the ship! In other words, "approach" vs. "avoid."
Imagine if you missed a workout (or even a week of movements), but instead of giving up entirely, you gave yourself grace and picked up where you left off the following week. The same goes for nutrition and any other goal you set for yourself. You are only human and will make mistakes along the way, so find ways to overcome feelings of self-doubt and defeat and keep moving! It won't always be easy, but it will be worthwhile.
As you embark on this new journey, developing behaviors to overcome roadblocks and picking up where you left off will be one of the most valuable tools in your toolkit. Take roadblocks into consideration when making your health plan, and the likelihood of success will increase.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
My advice is that slow and steady wins the race. Common mistakes people make when embarking on a new health journey are taking on more than they can handle, setting unrealistic expectations, and taking an "all or nothing approach." Instead, focus on sustainable behavior changes that will empower you to reach your goals, give yourself grace, and do your best.