Overcoming Obstacles to Exercise

Air Cav infantry Soldiers compete in company challenge

We’ve almost completed two months of this new year! If you’re not on track with your exercise goals, here are some tips that you might consider.

If you aren’t reaching your goals, it could be because the goals are set too high, you can’t physically meet them, you aren’t emotionally prepared, you aren’t prioritizing your time, or you simply don’t want to succeed. There might also be other reasons or excuses. First determine which category you fall under. Really examine your motivations. Try to be as honest with yourself as you can. You might also want to solicit input from others. How do they see you in relation to your goals?

What to do if you have set your goals too high?

  • This is a common problem. At the beginning of the year, enthusiasm and hope tend to be high. We might overestimate our motivation for change.
  • Parceling goals into smaller sub-goals such as amount of time spent in exercise per day helps improve the odds of success. Try starting with only a few minutes, maybe only 5 minutes in the beginning, especially if you are physically de-conditioned or have physical challenges such as arthritis.
  • Stick with the same sub-goal until you have measured success before progressing on to more challenge. Success breeds success, so if you can feel some measure of success, this motivates you to continue.

What to do if you are physically unable to meet your exercise goals?

  • Determine what your physical challenges are and find ways around them.
  • Swimming, biking, and walking are easier on the joints than jogging.
  • If you have muscle weakness, you might try strengthening exercises. Even though these are not aerobic, the increase in muscle mass gained will help you burn more calories and lose weight. You will also feel more toned.
  • Warm up and cool down are always important to avoid injuries.
  • For more specific physical limitations, consult you healthcare provider to be sure that the exercise you want to attempt is safe.

What if you are emotionally unprepared?

  • There are a variety of reasons that this might be the case: anxiety, depression, stress, etc. Get medical treatment, if these emotions are robbing you of your ability to function in your daily activities.
  • Be aware that exercise helps improve your emotions so having that resolve to “just do it” is needed. For this, you might want to get an exercise partner that can help you stay motivated and encouraged.

What if you aren’t prioritizing your time?

  • There are many reasons for this, the most common is over-scheduling your day or over-committing yourself. It’s okay to say “no” when it is detrimental to your health!
  • For some it is easier to schedule the most important things earlier in the day to be sure that those get completed and scheduling the less important things later in the day when energy levels tend to be lower. Find what works for you and implement that in your scheduling.
  • There are many good books available that deal with time management. Coaching is also helpful.

What if you simply don’t want to succeed?

  • Knowing yourself is key here!
  • A common reason for self-sabotage is fear of success. Is this your reason? What are you afraid of? Dig deep and be honest with yourself. You might also want to solicit the help of someone that you trust and that you feel knows you well. Or maybe an impartial person who can help you to sort through your various reasons for lack of success.
  • Sometimes working with another person who is not succeeding is good because you can see the negative things in the other person that you tend to avoid seeing in yourself. As you reflect on these and are helping the other person overcome their challenges, you can begin to see how those challenges are also holding you back.

These are just a few suggestions. I’m sure you can think of more! Feel free to post your ideas below or to contact me with your questions.

You CAN succeed!

9 Responses to Overcoming Obstacles to Exercise

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  5. Remember, that the time you spend in the program is valuable;
    not to mention the money that you spend. Next,
    check your mental attitude – believe in yourself and that you can
    achieve your goal. Incorporate this aspect into your training for optimum result.

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