If asked, most of us would agree that we want to develop better food and fitness habits. Stories of people who are healthy, fit and strong inspire us. In fact, we are doubly impressed by those people who weren’t healthy, fit and strong, but then decided enough was enough and made the change.
So, what keeps us from getting out there and conquering the whole fitness thing once and for all? Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but I think a lot of our success or subsequent failure at fitness has to do with lack of habit formation. Once we make that determination to do something to change our fitness factor, do we actually do what it takes to develop a sustainable habit?
Notable Life Accomplishments Share Common Factors
Take a moment to think back to a major life accomplishment, possibly earning a degree or having your first child. Every notable life accomplishment shares some similar characteristics:
- Start Date – There was a distinctive moment when you decided, “I’m going to do this thing!”
- Benchmarks – There were steps that had to overcome and built on from day-to-day and week-to-week. It didn’t all come together at once.
- Encouragement – There was built-in encouragement. Sometimes it may have been external; like advice, grades or compliments. Other times, you may have encouraged yourself for making it or rewarded yourself.
- Learning Curve – You understood that you didn’t know everything there was to know when you got started. You realized that learning was part of the process and that you would make some mistakes along the way.
- End Goal – You started with a goal and were willing to put up with whatever it took to meet that goal.
All of these factors served to keep you on track from start to finish. What’s more, they kept you accountable to the task at hand. But, progress didn’t just happen…you had to establish a habitual routine to accomplish your goals.
Is Fitness A Goal For You?
The majority of us would agree, albeit unwillingly, that weight and fitness are major life considerations. That doesn’t mean that we actually prioritize them, rather we realize that fitness or the lack of it, does positively or negatively affect our lives.
I can honestly say the more out-of-control my weight has gotten at different points in my life, the more I would think about it. Typically, my diet attempts were proceeded by excessive thought and self-chastisement.
Developing a fitness habit requires an acknowledgement that weight and fitness are indeed significant factors that are worthy of dedicated time and consideration. Successful fitness attempts cannot be half-hearted and are not accomplished in your spare time; neither were any of your other notable life accomplishments.
Factors You Will Notice If Fitness Is A Goal For You
Let’s apply the common factors for notable life accomplishments to fitness.
- Start Date – You need to have a specific time to focus on your fitness. It can’t be a side note to your life because then, it will never get your full attention or commitment. Remember back to your other life accomplishments…there was no Plan B!
- Benchmarks – Fitness doesn’t happen in a day. It involves a series of progressive steps. It’s OK to be a beginner.
- Encouragement – It helps to tell others about your new-found resolve. This builds in accountability. Now, you need to find people who share your interests. If you plan to start off walking, then find a walking buddy who will commit to meet you several days a week. You can also join an online fitness forum or purchase a Fitbit (pedometer).
- Learning Curve – I have heard it said on multiple occasions, “I don’t want to go to the gym because everyone is in better shape than me.” First of all, everyone at the gym is somewhere on the same spectrum as you. What’s more, the majority of people never step foot into a gym in the first place! You don’t start out as an expert at anything and fitness is no exception. Allow yourself to learn, grow and even fail a time or two.
- End Goal – You need to know what you are doing it all for. Weight loss is a fine benchmark for fitness, but it should not be the end goal. Fitness is more about your mindset and overall health. Ultimately, you want to invest yourself in something that will add value, not only to your life, but to the lives of those you love.
I hope you will take a few minutes to think through some of the factors mentioned in this post. Is fitness a goal for you? If not, what seems to be keeping you from reaching or even setting goals for your fitness? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Next week I will give some more practical steps for establishing a fitness routine in your life.
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