It is an age old problem. We bring old thoughts and behavior patterns into new plans and goals. Unfortunately, that practice is a sure way to not succeed with your fitness plans. That doesn’t mean you should be discouraged. Instead, take a clear headed look at what you have tried as well as why you failed and make a plan to begin again.
Rebuild Trust in Yourself
Probably the person hardest on you is you speaking as the little voice inside your head. You know that voice. It is the one that eagerly reminds you of every promise you didn’t keep to yourself and every time what you did was different from what you said you would do. Sometimes that voice is so loud it robs you of your confidence. You would like to improve your health or get in shape, but deep down you don’t believe you can. Here is the truth – even if you have tried two dozen times and failed you can still be successful. Here are some tips to help you quiet the voice and learn to trust yourself again.
• Write out a win list – the funny thing about that little voice is it only reminds you of what has gone wrong. Chances are, far more things have gone right. Make a list of all your “wins’ both the great and the small ones. Even the fact that you have tried 28 times to lose weight counts as a win because it says something about your willingness to persevere. Include accomplishments from every area of your life such as maintaining a budget, finishing school, getting a promotion, or having healthy relationships. Writing it all down will remind you that you are really a winner. Bring up a mental tally of your win list the next time your inner voice tries to discourage you. Take your experience of being a winner into the places in your life where you have had less success.
• Transfer success skills – your win list may reveal behavior patterns that you can use to create a successful fitness plan. For example, maybe you finished school because you had a good study schedule or study partner or you chose a program you were passionate about. Maybe you are good at maintaining a budget because you have written out a financial plan. Approach your fitness goals the same way. Set yourself up for success by using some of the same habits that helped you find success in other areas.
• Learn how to establish a habit – in his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg says habits are based on three things: the trigger or thing that leads to the action, the action itself and finally the reward. Here is how that might look with your fitness plan – put your sneakers on after work (the trigger before exercise is I always put my sneakers on after work) the action – I always exercise when I put my sneakers on after work. The reward – after I exercise I always take a relaxing shower or eat just one Hershey’s kiss.
• Keep a journal – an exercise and diet diary can help you see where your plan should be adjusted. Perhaps your exercise routine is going well but you are taking in more calories than you think. Keeping track can help your mind understand that the problem is with the plan (which can be adjusted) instead of some fundamental flaw within you.
• Establish and celebrate milestones – Give yourself a pat on the back if you exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes. You can move the mark higher with time. The important thing is to keep yourself encouraged and motivated by recognizing the small steps you take along the fitness journey. This is a great way to remind yourself that you really can achieve your fitness goals. Now get going.