to set goals. When it comes to diet and exercise, I hear some common excuses for not reaching those goals. Here’s my top five, and some suggestions for overcoming them.
1. "I don't have the time"/"I'm too busy." This is the number one excuse for not exercising or eating well. Yet somehow we can find time to watch Master Chef or X-Factor. The reality is that we CAN and DO find time for the things that we want to find time for. It helps to make exercise and good eating a part of your everyday routine, rather than viewing it as something extra that you have to do. Thinking that “I need to diet” or “I have to get fit” has an association that it is a temporary thing that you do and then it’s finished. Practice shifting your thinking to making this a part of who you are and what you do; for life. This can be helped by incorporating exercise into your daily life, not as an add-on. Walk to the shops. Ride to work. Take the stairs. Find healthy foods that you love, and enjoy them.
2. "I can’t afford it.” You don’t actually need a gym membership to exercise. It doesn't cost a thing to move your body. You can get moving outdoors free of charge. Walk, ride or swim in your own neighbourhood without spending a cent. It may help your motivation to have a friend with you. And there’s plenty of free online fitness tool. Ask yourself, “Is telling yourself that you can’t afford it a reality or a handy excuse?”
3. "I'm too tired." Exercise actually gives you more energy! It also boosts your mood, combats health conditions and diseases and helps you to sleep better. The irony is that if you feel too tired to exercise, it’s probably because you’re not exercising. Try to keep your focus on the numerous benefits of exercise to help give you that motivation to get started.
4. "I feel overwhelmed with where to start." If it feels overwhelming, start REALLY small. Begin with a walk around the block. Slowly add a little longer to the walk each time, nothing much, only another couple of minutes. Sometimes when we look too far ahead, to where we want to be, it seems overwhelming. It helps to bring it right back to one achievable, small goal, followed by another. Before you know it, you’ve reached your big goal.
5. "I feel so deprived when I diet!" Dr Martin Seligman tells us that 90% of people who diet put the weight back on within three years. Why? Often the focus becomes on what is being missed out on, rather than what is being gained. You deserve to be happy, healthy and comfortable in your body. As with starting off exercising, start small. Don’t cut out everything that you love or you increase your chances of resenting it. Rather, look at it as a permanent change in lifestyle. You can permanently eat smaller portions, low fat
and exercise regularly.
Further tips for success:
- Write down all your reasons for wanting to get fit and/or lose weight. Keep it visible and review it daily.
- Set realistic goals that you can achieve. Start with small goals, reach them, and then add to them.
- Notice more than just the weight loss. Also notice how you feel, how your skin looks, the quality of your sleep etc.
- Visualise yourself at your healthiest best. Picture with as much detail as possible – how you feel, how you look, how you act, how you move etc.
- Everyone has slip-ups along the way. Use them as an opportunity to learn, forgive yourself, and simply get back on with it.
- Celebrate your achievements along the way. Don’t wait until the big end goal, note milestones along the way and celebrate each one.