Maybe it’s been a long time since you walked into a gym. And, perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to what you’ve been eating. And, it’s likely that you haven’t been getting the kind of sleep that helps you wake up feeling rested, renewed, and ready to attack the day.
And, oh yeah, you haven’t been drinking enough water, maybe you’ve been drinking too many adult beverages, and caffeine is he one thing getting you from morning to afternoon...and then it’s been pure willpower to get you through the rest of your day.
Does this sound about right?
If so, that’s okay...you’re not alone. In fact, this internal dialogue is quite common among individuals who have yet to start their health & fitness journey.
You’ll hear the dialogue regularly:
There’s not enough time. Memberships are too expensive. It’s been too long, so why should I even get started? I’ll start next week, next month...okay, next year.
But each and every day, along with the doubt and negative self-talk, there’s a resounding sensue that reminds you: “I have got to start taking care of myself.”
And so, when you do finally respond to that call from within, it’s critical to avoid making these five (5) mistakes most people make; because, any of these could stop you short of building a rhythm, gaining momentum, and eventually reaching the goals you set out to achieve.
Mistake 1: Where’s My Result?
So, you’ve taken your first trip to the gym or attended that first class; you get home and look in the mirror or step on the scale and...”Holy shit — why don’t I see results yet?!”
Hey, depending upon the result you’re expecting to experience, this may take a whole year or perhaps even longer. And, if you’ve been sedentary for years leading up to your Day 1 then don’t be surprised to learn that it may take years to see the results you ultimately want.
But, like Michael Jordan said about making 100 free throws in a row, “It’s not about making 100 perfect shots, it’s about making just one shot...a hundred times”. And this MUST be your perspective when getting started.
Remember: Jordan didn’t hit 100 free throws on his first shot, nor did he even think about the 100th free throw on any other shot except the 100th—and he’s considered the best human ever at doing his job.
And so, it’s not likely—it’s impossible, in fact—that you’ll hit all your goals in your first workout or in your first week or perhaps even in your first month or year of training. But, by taking your process one workout or one week or month at a time, you’re far more likely to hit those “long-term” goals in the long run.
So, Mistake 1 is always looking for an immediate result, and that’s because it takes your attention from that which produces your result—your process.
Mistake 2: No Process
Now, you’ve taken the first step. You paid your gym membership and stepped onto the training floor—now what? Do you start on the treadmill? The stair climber? Should you lift weights? Is a ‘leg day’ what you need? What’s this “functional training” thing I keep hearing about?
Doing anything, in most cases, is better than doing nothing; but there will come a point when you start to wonder, is there a better way? The answer is most likely “yes, there is.”
One simple way to alleviate the pain of “not knowing what to do” is joining a class. Most classes will, at minimum, increase your metabolic rate (energy production) beyond what you’re likely to achieve on your own; and, more than any other factor, your metabolism and metabolic rate is the key to your health & fitness success.
So, Mistake 2 is not having a process. The moment you sense yourself grasping at straws just hoping the next one you pull gets you fit, it’s time to reach out and grasp on to a proven process. In the long run, it will save you time, money and frustration.
Mistake 3: “I Don’t Do That”
Hey, I agree; whether it’s lifting heavy things, running fast, or contorting my body into unfamiliar shapes...there are things I simply do NOT like to do. In fact, even as a gym owner and fitness enthusiast, I truly dislike exercise...
The heat compounded by the pressure of continued exertion over broad time is something I am diabolically opposed to; BUT, more than that, I am opposed to not reaching my potential...or worse, being dependent upon a doctor, a medication, or perhaps even a family member to take care of me.
How can I add value and contribute to my family and community if it’s incumbent upon them to take care of me?
And so, the one thing I won’t do is let THAT ever happen, and anything I can do to produce the result I want, I must be willing to do—and you should, too.
You’ll hear the voice in your head say, “Oh no, not running” or “But, I can’t do that” or “I hate doing those”; yeah, no shit...like I said, the heat & pressure doesn’t feel that great. But remember, any physical discomfort you expose yourself to during training is FAR BETTER than the psycho-emotional pain of feeling less than or wondering what could’ve been.
So, keep that in mind. Sure, you’re not going to like a lot of things that will get you more of what you want. And there’s a really good chance you won’t be good at most things at first—in fact, you’ll probably suck at them. But look, sucking at something good for you is better than being great at something that’s bad for you, and in order to ever get good at something you’re going to have to learn through being bad at it.
So, Mistake 3: Having the “I don’t do that” rule. Remember, this about breaking bad habits and in order to do that you’re going to have to start some new GOOD habits, which means you’re also going to have to break some of your own rules.
Mistake 4: “I Can Do It Alone”
Of course you can. You’re capable of SO much, and after all, your health, fitness, and wellbeing is your responsibility—but does that mean you don’t deserve support and help?
Whether it’s close friends, family, or a hired professional; a support system to help you through your process gives you an 80% higher chance of sticking with it for more than 30 days and increases your chances of reaching your goals by over 90% compared to those who “go it alone”.
Now, achieving the physique and performance level you desire is NOT impossible; but it is hard, and having support alongside you will be critical when you sense the hardness. The mental stress of not seeing the result will be good cause to quit. Your demanding schedule or life’s situations will be good cause to quit. Your aching body and sore muscles will be good cause to quit.
And when you sense that urge to quit, it will be your support network who helps keep you accountable to why you started in the first place.
Mistake 4 is trying to do it alone, and so, while you & I both know you can do it, having people alongside you promotes the likelihood that you will!
Mistake 5: Not Having A Why
As pointed out in Mistake 4, reaching all your goals is going to be hard. And there will be thousands of reasons to give up and quit; but if you have just ONE REASON to keep going then it’s likely you will.
Sore muscles. Aching joints. Schedule is daunting. Life gets stressful. It’s not as fun as you thought. You’re not seeing the results. Other people are more fit than you. That one person keeps looking at you funny…
Your brain will come up with just about anything to keep you in that comfortable space of mediocrity. And it’s up to you to not just keep focused on, but also to continually add meaning to the reason that got you started in the first place.
Above your comfort and beyond your likes and dislikes, your commitment MUST be to your “why”—the reason that got you started in the first place.
Keep in mind; all the results you have yet to experience are hidden under all things you have yet to do—most of which you probably don’t like. And until your commitment to your goals outweighs your commitment to your comfort and what you “like”, you’ll continue to experience mediocre results, if any at all.
So, there is Mistake 5: not staying committed to your “why.” And you can help increase your commitment to your “why” right now by getting out a pad & pen or typing up at least 20 reasons that add more value and meaning to your “why” so that it becomes so heavy, that no excuse can outweigh your decision to keep going.
Listen, that you’re even considering getting started is worthy of praise, so be proud of yourself. And if getting started is important to you, then keeping going will become your highest priority throughout your process.
And if you can turn these five mistakes into five opportunities, then you’ll have a near 100 percent greater chance of staying the course on path to achieving what you’re setting out to achieve.