Let’s be real … most of us find it REALLY HARD to stick to an exercise routine.
We feel defeated before even start. And even when we do make some progress, we get frustrated because we don’t see immediate results.
Or we start an exercise plan, but a million things come up: family drama, sickness, a new job, or whatever.
You beat yourself up for not following through and find excuses even when you know you should be exercising. Once you get caught in this vicious cycle – it’s just another downward spiral that leaves feeling DISAPPOINTED and DEJECTED.
I’ve been there before – so I know how easy it is to lose momentum and then feel guilty and ashamed for not following through.
I used to self-sabotage a lot when it came to working out, and it took me nearly 4 months to ease into a good workout schedule. At the time, I didn’t like the way I looked and I was going through some very difficult personal circumstances.
But despite these struggles, I ultimately did manage to make fitness a priority in my life.
Today, I want to share some of the invisible scripts that were holding me back, and what I wish I had done differently to overcome them.
Limiting belief 1: “I don’t have enough time / money to get fit”
The first stumbling block for my personal fitness goals was that I kept telling myself I didn’t have enough time to work out. I would blame my busy university schedule, as I was taking 6 modules rather than the usual 5, that term.
I found it hard to stay on top of all my work, and so it was very convenient that I could blame my classes for my lack of exercise. I kept telling myself that I just didn’t have enough energy after all the studying to do a proper work out, and I struggled quite a bit in sticking to my original workout plan.
Subconsciously, I was really saying: ‘I don’t care enough about working out to spend time on it’.
Even though my workouts were just 10 – 15 minutes long, I couldn’t be bothered to get off the couch after dinner or wake up a little earlier every morning and fit in these routines.
I already made working out super simple, because I just followed a 30-day programme on the free fitness site: Darebee.com.
But in hindsight, I should have told myself working out would need to be my #1 priority for the first 60 days – no excuses to be made.
At the start, I also wish I had someone to kick my ass and challenge my lame excuses. It would have been great to have my inner voice say to me:
“Don’t tell me you can’t free up 10 – 20 minutes each day to work out. Anyone can do this – just get off the couch, ditch social media, or wake up 10 minutes earlier. You can do a workout on Darebee, even if you’ve had an exhausting day. And working out will help you get rid off the stress. You can relax afterwards when you take a shower or get a good night’s sleep.”
A pep talk like this would have helped me make my new fitness habits stick a lot faster.
HOW TO CHALLENGE THIS BELIEF:
Tell yourself that you will make working out a priority and then figure out a way to act upon it. Start small, just 5 or 10 minutes a day. And don’t feel like you need to spend a ton of money to get fit.
Also, read this post, where Steve Kamb talks about the difference between people who fundamentally changed their fitness habits vs. those who continue to struggle with little to no results.
Limiting belief 2: “I’ll never be as slim as those guys in the magazines / look as good as those sexy girls in the YouTube ads”
In the first few weeks of starting my new workouts, I would walk around campus and feel like everyone else was in so much better shape than me.
This wasn’t actually true. In reality, about half the people were fitter and half were in equal or worse shape than I was. But for some reason, I never noticed the second group, and always felt more inferior to those students who seemed to be more attractive than I was.
It took me a long time to realise (and I’m still learning) that you don’t need to look like other people. The key is to be comfortable in your own body and appreciate the way you look.
Don’t make the mistake I did and feel like you need to constantly compare yourself to others – especially if you are using an unfair point of comparison, like Photoshopped images from beauty influencers on Instagram or models featured in clothing magazines.
HOW TO CHALLENGE THIS BELIEF:
Remind yourself that fitness goals take time achieve. You can’t miraculously expect to wake up with a six pack or lose massive amounts of weight in a week. No matter what the movies and weight loss ads tell you, working out once and expecting instant results just isn’t going to cut it.
The best progress in fitness comes from sticking to a routine for months or years. Maybe you start working our 2-3 times a week, and after a few months you see the first results. If you stick with your program, the results compound over the years. And by the time you’re thirty, your non-fitness friends admire your body and wonder what it took you to get in shape.
Your secret is: CONSISTENCY. Success in fitness is much more boring than you think – it’s about building the right habits and sticking to them time an again.
Limiting belief 3: “I hate cardio / running / weight lifting …”
Okay, maybe you’re convinced that you would be capable of working out and achieving your fitness, but what’s holding you back is a feeling of dread.
You think sports are boring and you hate the thought of having to do jumping jacks and burpees for the rest of your life. That’s totally fine. We all have different preferences.
But guess what: there is more than more than one way to work out.
I used to think that the only way to get fit was by going to the gym, and I hated the thought of seeing all these people who were much fitter and stronger than I was. It took some experimentation and time to realise that I was much more comfortable doing bodyweight workouts at home.
The same goes for you. You don’t have to lift weights, hit the gym or train with your local soccer team if you don’t like it. You just need to find one way of getting fit that you enjoy, whether that be playing ball games, trampolining or doing martial arts.
To help you, here’s a long list of sports you could be doing to get in shape. Just pick one of the options, or try a few until you find something that sticks.
Limiting belief 4: “I don’t know how to work out correctly, and it hurts when I do it.”
When I was new to fitness, I didn’t have a clue how to work out correctly.
I was lucky that my fitness program had images and videos to explain all the exercises, because I think I would have given up if I hadn’t known what to do.
However, one thing that the program didn’t prepare me for was how to deal with minor injuries and muscle soreness. At the start, I got so sore after some of my workouts that I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without falling over.
Looking back, I can see that I was pushing too hard, and it almost caused me to quit, because I felt like the pain wasn’t worth it. Another time, I landed badly after doing high knees and twisted my ankle, which went on to hurt for a few days.
It wasn’t anything serious, but it discouraged me from working out for a bit longer than necessary because I was afraid of not giving my body enough time to heal and I thought that additional strain could lead to a worse injury next time round.
WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND:
Look for people who can teach you how to work out correctly. There are tons of online resources, whether that’s YouTube videos from qualified personal trainers or blogs like Love Sweat Fitness.
If you’re truly struggling, don’t be afraid of reaching out to a friend, getting a fitness coach or even going to your family doctor for a health check-up and workout advice. There are so many people who can help you get in shape and improve your health; you just need to reach out and ask.
Limiting belief 5: ‘I’ve tried getting in shape before – but it never worked. I don’t see why this time would be any different.”
If you have a string of fitness failures to your name, it’s easy to feel dejected.
Maybe you’ve tried running 30 minutes over and over again, but every time you want to make it habit, some thing else comes in the way.
Or you don’t trust yourself to follow through and self-sabotage wherever you can.
The more times you start out super motivated, stick to your goal for a few days or weeks, only to give to up, the worse you begin to feel – and the harder it is to get back on track.
I’d tried and failed to work out regularly for about a year or so, before finally making my fitness habits stick in early 2020. So I know exactly how you feel.
WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND:
If you’ve failed at something once, and you try the same thing again, what do you think will happen?
Provided you use the same strategy and do exactly the same things, you have 99% chance of getting the exact same result as before: FAILURE.
Therefore, when you do struggle to make the changes you want to your fitness routine, you need understand why you’ve failed before and what you can do to minimise the chance of failure.
Suppose you have a hard time following through because you’ve planned your workouts for early in the morning when you’re too tired. In that case, you might be much more dedicated if you decided to plan sports for later in the day. Maybe you just can’t be bothered to get out of the house and walk to your local gym. Then, why don’t you try hitting the gym when you’re out and about anyway, or find a way to make exercising work from home.
Also, have a plan in place to recover from set-backs. We have times when things go wrong (and they’re not our fault, like a family emergency, or a hectic week at work). What you say to yourself when these things mess up your schedule has a great impact on your future success. Be willing to forgive yourself and get back on track until your routine becomes unshakable.
If you feel like there’s more holding you back, check out my Ultimate Guide to Limiting Beliefs in Fitness, Health and Business. This guide will show how you to overcome invisible scripts in any walk of life.