Finding the motivation to carry on with a health and fitness routine can be difficult. You start out with every good intention and then, like most of us, you fall by the wayside. If you’re having problems losing weight, here are 7 likely reasons why…
Remember those New Year’s resolutions you made with such optimism just a few months ago?
If you’re like most people, you’ve abandoned your vows to lose weight and get in shape. (Which explains the barely used NordicTrack treadmills on Craigslist, fitness DVDs still in their original packaging and all the low-carb diets dumped by Day 4.)
We asked Michelle Segar, a motivation scientist and the author of “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness,” to help us get on track while there’s still time to crush our goals before 2017 rolls around.
The inability to sustain motivation leads to some 67% of gym memberships going unused, said Segar, director of the Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan.
That’s because goals need to be made “thoughtfully and not out of a reaction based on an immediate discomfort we are feeling with ourselves and our bodies. Be mindful that life is busy, and so whatever you decide you want to change has to be in real ways that you will notice every day.”
Here, are seven of the most common reasons why your health and fitness goals fall short – and Segar’s advice for helping you turn it around:
You’re a perfectionist
People who aim to work out “every day” after they buy a gym membership are more inclined to eventually stop going, Segar’s research shows. “It’s the ones who come in just one or two days a week to start who keep their memberships active.”
The fix: “Starting small is much more effective than jumping in with these huge goals,” she says.
You’re afraid to experiment
“It’s OK to say, ‘I didn’t like that high-intensity class.’ We’re taught to approach exercise like dating, as if we’re trying to find a life partner. But there’s nothing wrong with seeing this as a series of experiments. It’s the negative experiences from exercise choices that demotivate us.”
The fix: Accept the idea of trying new things.
You see it as a chore
The biggest impediment to success is to subscribe to the “no pain, no gain” ethos. But Segar says you’re more likely to stick with moderate, pleasant exercise — something you don’t dread the thought of — and that will ultimately improve overall health and increase energy levels.
The fix: Find a physical activity you love.