When it comes to fitness goals — or any goals for that matter — it seems like we’re constantly looking for the next big thing to push us over the edge toward success. Every day, I walk into my gym and see all the shiny whiz-bang machines with lots of bells and whistles. And as evidenced by countless internet and magazine articles, there’s an unlimited number of exercise choices out there.
So the paths to success are seemingly endless. And while that should be super reassuring and positive, it ends up being … well, overwhelming.
Adding insult to injury is the question of, with so many resources at our disposal and expert advice just a click away, how are we still not able to meet our goals? What does it take to truly crush it in the goals department?
Over the years, I’ve seen programs fail and I’ve seen some be wildly successful. I’ve paid enough attention to see that the ones that have succeeded had two specific characteristics in common: simplicity and consistency.
How to Crush Your Goals
1. Keep it simple. Long-term health and fitness shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, in my experience, the more complicated the program, the more likely it is to fail. That’s not to say that the programs are inherently flawed, but c’mon, life is already complicated enough — so adding a complex plan to the mix is a recipe for stress, frustration and burnout.
You don’t need a intricate program, the perfect gym, a special class or fancy equipment. You don’t have to read every article out there on the subject either. Start with what you already know. Use what you already have access to. Go back to basics — study the finer details, educate yourself or hire someone to help you perfect them. You’d be surprised at how much your performance can improve just by doing, revisiting and mastering the basics.
Just do what you can now and add to it later when you’re ready. It’s easier to stay on track when you have a plan that’s on your side and simple to execute. More simplicity = less excuses.
2. Be consistent. Inconsistency is an absolute goal-squasher. If you want to change something, you have to be consistent with your efforts. “Every once in a while” is simply not gonna cut it. You can have the best laid plans in mind but if you’re not executing it on a regular basis, it will fail. Solid structures are built brick by brick. Even the smallest efforts, when done consistently over time, create lasting change.
Yes, there are actual valid reasons to skip a workout sometimes. But “I don’t feel like it today” isn’t good enough. And, yes, if you’re brutally honest with yourself, you really can tell the difference. Here’s the thing about motivation: some days you’ll be all jazzed up with it and some days it’ll leave you high and dry. Don’t wait for motivation to fall out of the sky. The trick is learning to be consistent, with or without the presence of motivation.
If consistency truly is a problem for you, sit yourself down and ask what’s really standing in your way. Maybe you need shorter workouts, maybe you need to change the time of day, maybe you need the support of a group or maybe you’re making it too complicated (see above). Whatever it is, fix it.
Honor your commitment to yourself by showing up every day and doing the work that needs to be done, whether you “feel like it” or not. If you want to master something, master consistency — I promise it’ll change your life.
And if you find yourself waiting for the perfect plan to come along, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: there’s no such thing as the perfect plan and even if there was, it’s all for naught if it’s too complex or you don’t do it consistently.
So you can spend the rest of your life searching for something that doesn’t exist or you can start now by taking simple and consistent steps in the direction of your goals. You decide.
How do you stay on track? —Alison