Let me first start of by saying there are a hell of a lot more reasons than eleven why people don’t achieve their health and wellness goals. The following reasons are not excuses. We already covered that together in a previous post. The following are more like mental hurdles or behaviors that many of us can’t seem to crack in order to achieve the outcome that we want in terms of our health.
Will this post blow you away?
Maybe. But probably not. I call it a Homer Simpson post. You know, one of those ones you read, hit yourself on the forehead and say, “DOH!”
However, when searching for something we tend to think what we are looking for will be hard to find. But most often that thing we are looking for is found in the most obvious place, right under our dang noses (ie: glasses on top of the head, cellphone in-between the car seat and the middle arm rest)
If you’re looking for answers search the most obvious place first. In this case. That search begins with you.
Reason 1: You’re doing everything you’re suppose to be doing except…
You’re doing everything you are supposed to be doing to get into better shape. Eating right, exercising intensely 5-7 hours a week, sleeping and keeping stress low, mixing in some fun play-time.
But what the hell!
You’ve got nothing to show for your efforts. What gives?
It’s wonderful that you are educating yourself. Reading some of the best nutrition blogs out there like Robb Wolf, Balanced Bites, and Mark’s Daily Apple. Learning how to workout by reading the best books, watching exercise descriptions, and taking a few classes here and there. But the truth is maybe going Paleo, being a vegetarian, or doing P90X are not what you need.
Just because those methods work for some does not mean they will work for you. Case in point, I use to compete in Crossfit and follow the programming religiously. Crossfit does an excellent job in building a fun environment to workout, teach the basics and most important lifts, and provides enough intensity to establish results. Most of the workouts can be performed fairly quickly as well which worked perfect with my schedule.
However, the 3 days on and 1 day rest template that it follows did not work well for me. It was too much training and not enough recovery time. I was often unable to recover, constantly sore, and my progress stalled. But I kept doing it because I thought that’s what worked.
Long story short, I still do a bit of Crossfit but I tailor it to my schedule and how my body is able to recover. I still mix in the workouts but I do so at a pace that I can handle. Instead of trying to keep up with the “Jonses” and their results I just try to keep up with the “Justin’s” and monitor my own progress.
Reason 2: You say you’re willing to do whatever it takes… but are you really
This is something I hear pretty often. Especially when I meet with a new client. The first question I often ask them is how committed are you to changing your health and wellness habits? I have never gotten an answer except 100% committed.
I then ask them to do a homework assignment for me. It never changes and is always the same. I ask them to fill out a one week food log so that they can become aware of what they are eating, how much, and so that I can analyze habits and help them to build new ones.
Sometimes it’s done perfectly… other times the log is never done or it was done the day before it was due and often missing many items.
In order to achieve results you have to know what you are doing. What are you eating, when are you going to exercise and what will the routine be? What time is bed time so that you are getting adequate rest?
Are you willing to make your health a priority? Are you willing to keep a food log? Take time to prepare meals in advance? Schedule workout appointments with yourself and not break them? Yes, Some of these things suck! But are you willing to do them until you have built habits that lead to long-term success?
Reason #3: You get results, hit a plateau, get frustrated, give-up.
If you are new to the fitness game and have not been regularly active you’ll probably see some pretty rapid changes immediately through minor tweaks to you nutrition or simply adding in a little daily exercise. But sooner or later progress will slow a bit and you may hit a brief wall.
This is when you need to change it up. Take a look at what you were doing and find what really worked for you. Were you doing P90X and eating Paleo, got tremendous results? But progress has slowed now and you’re looking to get back into the groove.
You come to find that Paleo was easy for you. Preparing meals ahead of time was easy, and eliminating grains, legumes, and dairy wasn’t to tough. However, P90X was the tough part. The workouts felt a little to long, you’re feeling a little burnt out, which led to you skipping some workouts here and there. In order to make it work for you on a more consistent basis try cutting the workouts a bit short so that you can fit it in more consistently on a daily basis. Or maybe you ditch the P90X and give Crossfit a shot, or start putting together your own bodyweight routines together at home in order to fit your time constraints.
If you hit a plateau don’t give up. Look back at your previous plan, take what worked, and modify it a bit to fit your needs.
Reason 4: This one, no that one, maybe the first one, I don’t know which one
When we have too many choices one of two things happens. Either we take forever to decide or we never decide at all. How many times have you come back home from work, opened a fully stocked fridge with all kinds of choices, can’t decide what you want so you close it and open the pantry instead?
What do you know, the pantry is fully stocked too. Full of choices but you close it and open up the fridge. This goes on for the next few minutes before you say F-it and order a pizza. 🙂
Simplifying our choices and eliminating decisions makes achieving health goals that much easier. A good idea is to create a shopping list, like this one for the week. Plan all your meals in advanced around this list because it is all you have. Have the meals waiting for you.
Here is the meal plan that goes with the shopping list.
Reason 5: Figure out where you normally screw up and decide what to do about it NOW
Are you one to skip a workout? Or do you slip up with your nutrition more? Maybe you’ve got those two things knuckled down but you don’t sleep enough and are exhausted all the time. Figure out where you usually screw things up and decide what you are doing to do about it.
If you screw up in more ways than one pick the one that gives you the most trouble and solve that problem first. Are you eating well all week-long but always seem to screw up on the weekends when you go out with friends? Decide before the weekend comes what you will do about it. Since you already know you are going out have a plan in place.
Decide what healthy options you are going to choose at the restaurant. Find out where you are going in advance and look up the nutrition facts. Decide that you are not doing to have a few rum and cokes but instead one glass of wine. Offer to be the designated driver.
Have a plan in place before hand so that you don’t have to think about it when the time comes.
Reason 6: Your favorite game is the Whoa-is-me game
Are you constantly rowing your boat down the “it’s everybody else’s fault but not mine river?”
Here are a few examples of what I mean.
“I eat really well but we have these family get togethers every weekend and all that’s there is junk.”
“I wanted to workout but my boss kept me late again.”
“I try to eat right but my family doesn’t and I don’t want to make separate dinners.”
Truth is you have a choice. If your health is a priority then at those family dinners you can bring your own prepared food or decline what is being served. If you are pressured or given a hard time then that is what is called a “them problem“. You’re trying to better yourself by being a healthier person. If people can not respect that than that is on them. Pressure is not an excuse. You always have a choice as to what you will put in your mouth.
If you are constantly being asked to stay late then start working out in the mornings or eat at your desk so that you can use your lunch break to get in a bodyweight routine.
Hurdles will always be there. Plan in advance what you will do about it. Don’t play the victim.
Reason 7: You feel it has to happen now
When you decide what exercise, nutrition, or lifestyle strategies you want to try ask yourself if you think this is something you can maintain for the next year. I would even go beyond that and think five years. If your weight loss plan includes not eating after 6PM seriously ask yourself if that is something you think you can realistically do for the next year or so.
If you are thinking about going Paleo, Vegan, Intermittent fasting, or getting into Insanity (the workout, not the mental state) ask yourself the same thing. Now that doesn’t mean you can not change your mind after a few months and decide it’s not for you but if you think about it initially and you can not imagine yourself doing it consistently as a long-term plan then scrap it.
This whole health and wellness thing is about developing healthy habits that you can sustain as a lifestyle. What you want to happen is for it to become so natural and comfortable for you that it almost seems like you don’t have to think about it to achieve results. Trust me, it sure beats flip-flopping from program to program every other week and deciding you are vegetarian one week and Paleo the next.
Reason 8: It’s a journey that never really has an ending
You might see results pretty quickly like Ami and Nick here. Ami lost 30 pounds in 3 months and Nick dramatically changed his body in six weeks. But to keep it up they have to see this is a long-term journey with no real ending in site. They will constantly be tested and challenged in some way or another along the way.
But it does get easier. The longer you stay with it the easier and more natural it becomes.
It’s like a smoker that quits smoking. The chance they could revert to old ways will always be there with them but the longer they keep up the positive habits that led to quitting the easier and easier it will be to never smoke again.
Reason 9: Answer you own damn questions
What excuses do you make?
No time? Working out isn’t fun? You get tired of the same food over and over again? Other people sabotage you?
Well answer your own damn questions!
How can you make more time for exercise? Can you get up a little earlier? Shorten workouts to fit your schedule? Cancel your gym membership and start working out at home?
Working out isn’t fun??? Well it’s up to you to make it fun. Play a sport, go kayaking, do things that keep you active that you enjoy. But also realize that every so often you have to do things that suck.
If you feel like you are getting tired of the same meal over and over again then it is up to you to learn to make some new stuff. Buy a cook book. Here is a good one by my friend Marla and part of my web design team Spyr Media. You may know her from a pervious post about Chili…. YUMMMMM, chili 🙂
Reason 10: It’s has more to do with more than one thing
It’s not just exercise, it’s not just nutrition, it’s not just sleep, it’s not just stress, it’s not other people, it’s not the routine you’re following, it’s not your mindset…. I think you get the drift.
It’s a combination of everything. To get the best you out of you everything needs to be aligned. Not perfectly aligned but somewhat. It’s impossible to have everything going perfectly. If you do, please share it with me because I could use some help with that.
All of these things mentioned above work together. Try and get a handle one thing at a time. Where are you struggling most and fix it. Then move on to the next chink in the armor. Before you know it everything will be aligned and you will really be cooking with gas.
Reason 11: You have great goals but terrible behaviors
I think this is a great way to wrap this post up. You may have great goals like to add 15 pounds of muscle, lose 30 pounds, or start your own business. But instead of focusing on those outcomes focus more on the behaviors and feelings of those outcomes.
What will 15 pounds make you feel like? Stronger, more confident, etc…
Will starting your own business make you feel successful, accomplished, proud?
Then get into the behaviors that will take you there. What action do you need to make now in order to get you closer to feeling that way (remember, focus on how the goal makes you feel and not the goal itself.)
You can’t control the outcome of the goal. For example The scale will tell you what it wants to tell you but you do control the behaviors it takes to get you there.
Am I missing anything here? Anything you agree with or disagree with? Just need some clarification? Let me know.