I’m going to start off saying something you probably don’t want to hear but need to.
If you’re truly honest with yourself, like no bullshit down to the core honest, these beliefs are really excuses in disguise. However, I know you may try to justify why you haven’t stuck with your workout and weight loss goals. To be fair to you I would even go as far as to agree that they are legitimate reasons. However, it doesn’t change the fact that they are excuses. Why? Because whether you admit it or not they are within your power to control.
For the sake of this article let’s call them Beliefs. Reason being is beliefs can be changed, no matter how difficult it may be to do so.
Most people have no idea how truly powerful their beliefs are. Your beliefs in life can uplift you to the highest levels of your potential, or cripple you, keeping you from truly realizing your greatness.
Our Beliefs create our Identity, and our Identity determines our Behaviour (you may want to make a mental note of this for future reference).
The 11 Beliefs Holding You Back (and How to Change Them)
The first step to changing a belief is understanding that your beliefs don’t permanently determine who you are. They are simply a perspective or way of looking at the world or yourself you have accepted as true.
Next thing to understand is to change a belief you first have to reframe or look at that belief from a different perspective. This will help you to change its meaning, thus empowering you to change.
So let’s identify each belief and help to change your perspective of them.
1. I need motivation to get it done
I wanted to start off with the number one belief most seem to have when it comes to sticking with their workout and weight loss goals.
Many believe that without motivation it’s impossible for them to start or stick with their fitness goals. Truth is most days you’re not going to feel like doing it. Most days you’d much rather be doing something else.
The key is understanding that it’s not motivation you need, but 1). An emotionally compelling reason why it’s important for you to stick with your goals, and 2). A painful consequence if you don’t.
Once you have those two things in place then focus on putting in the work every day consistently, not getting results. Once you are able to do this then you will eventually develop the discipline and habit to stick with it.
Change your belief that you need motivation, and instead focus on ensuring you put in the work consistently, and never miss a day.
2. I don’t have the time/I’m too busy
Most believe that they don’t have the time because they already lead a very hectic life, and already find it difficult.
I’ll be brutally real with you right now, it’s not time is the problem, it’s value. In other words the problem is you don’t believe these goals are that important to you, you don’t value them. Even if you tell yourself they are, truth is we can always tell what we value based on where our time and focus goes. By the things we spend our time on.
Take some time right now. I want you to map out your entire day. From the moment you wake up in the morning, breakfast, get ready for work, get the kids ready for school. Go to work and put in your hours, leave, get home. Literally map out everything based on how much time it takes you to do each activity. I want you to even include the time you spend on Social Media, chatting with your best friend. Time at lunch. What you spend watching television or having a drink.
If you’ve really done this honestly, I’m willing to bet 100% that you could easily find 15-30 minutes of unused time (even with all that time you spend posting pics on Facebook and Instagram).
What you value you prioritize, and what you prioritize you make time for. The problem isn’t time, the problem is these goals aren’t a priority for you. You’d like to achieve them, but it isn’t a MUST for you to do.
Now if it’s not a priority that’s okay. No one said you HAVE TO do them. However, I want you to at least be honest with yourself about what your priorities are.
If you truly want to find the time to commit to your fitness goals, change your belief.
Instead of saying you have no time increase the priority of your workout and weight loss goals by increasing their value to you. Identify reasons that are emotionally compelling why they are important to you, and your value for them will increase.
3. It has to be done in the morning (or a set time)
There’s a common belief that has spread all across the fitness and personal development space about having morning routines. It’s a common belief and it does have its merit.
However, I like real world practicality. I have found in the real world there are moments you wont be able to execute your morning fitness routine. Whether because you have to be rushing through the doors to get to work or a meeting on time.
Another common misconception is that it has to be done at a set time every day in order to develop discipline and consistency.
Truth is when it comes to sticking with your workout and weight loss goals it’s completely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter when you get it done. The important thing is to get it done and remain consistent each day.
Everyone’s temperament and nature is different. For example it’s next to impossible for me to workout in the morning (I know…I’ve tried to). The challenge with this is I’m not a morning person AT ALL. This means my brain isn’t fully awake before 12 midday.
For me this is important, because it means it will take my brain greater mental effort and energy to get me up and working out, especially if I’m not motivated to do it.
The more effort it takes my brain to mentally prepare to get it done, the less likely I am going to follow through and do it.
So for me working out in the afternoon between 12noon and 3pm is the ideal time frame, when my brain energy is at it’s peak for working out.
The important thing isn’t the time of day you do it, but that it gets done. Know what your temperament is and use it to increase the chances of sticking with it.
Change your belief that it has to get done in the morning or by a set time. Instead make the commitment to never let a day pass and it not getting done.
4. I need to workout for at least 1 hour
This is another misconception that you need to push yourself for at least an hour to see any sort of result in your workout routine. If I were writing this from theory I would agree…but I’m not.
What my experience with myself and working with others has shown is working out for an hour to start seeing progress and results isn’t really necessary. Unless you’re training for the olympics or to be in a body building competition or 5k run, which I’m assume 95% of you reading this aren’t, then 10-15 minutes is enough.
Whenever I’m working with someone I NEVER tell them to start with more than a 10 minute routine. Even if they tell me they can do more, I encourage them to not go more than the 10 minutes.
For one my goal is to help them develop the discipline to workout every day and be consistent at it. Another reason is I don’t want to overwhelm them with trying to do too much too soon.
In every scenario after the first 10-14 days of consistency going only 10 minutes, they always tell me how they can actually see change in their bodies. Even more importantly for me they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in themselves for sticking with it.
Understand it’s much more about how much effort you put into the workout, than the length of time. Are you doing it with complete focus and intention? Or are you doing it haphazardly and casually without really trying to push yourself, just so you can say you exercised?
Change your belief that you need to go ‘hardcore hour’ to see progress. Instead focus on executing with excellence, pushing yourself to do a little bit more each time. Focus on getting the most out of a small workout starting out, and never missing a day to do so.
5. I need to workout at the gym
Okay look I know you want to workout at the gym and take your selfie to put up on Instagram. However, there’s no rule that says you have to exercise at the gym. As a matter of fact trying to do so lessens the chances you’ll stick with it.
Going back to what I said earlier about the more mental effort it takes, the less likely you’ll follow through with it.
Well think about having to not only find the time to go to the gym, but to put on your gym clothes, travel to the gym, workout, then travel back home. Now imagine you had only 30 minutes to squeeze all of that in. What are the chances you’ll want to go through that hassle almost every day?
My brain is getting overwhelmed just thinking about it.
I believe one of the main reasons I’ve been able to be so consistent with my fitness goals is because I do it at home. It doesn’t take much out of me to get up and get it done.
I live a two minute walk from the supermarket across the road. I can tell you at times just walking across the road to go to the supermarket has a 60% chance it won’t get done, especially when I’m feeling tired. That’s just walking (not exercising) across the road. So just imagine if I had to travel to the gym to get it done.
There are great exercises you can do at home that can have the same results for you.
If you’re still hell bent on working out at the gym then I suggest starting out at home for at least your first 30 days, then once you’ve gained some momentum in your consistency you can move to working out at the gym.
Change your belief that your workout has to be in the gym to maximize your efforts. Accept that it’s not where or how you get it done that’s important, but that you get it done.
6. I need workout equipment
The only equipment you need is an internet connection and a smartphone/tablet/laptop/desktop, and judging by the fact that you’re reading this it means you do.
There are workout videos online that doesn’t require you to have any equipment whatsoever, just your willingness to show up each day and get it done.
Again I stress the important thing is to get it done, and be consistent each day.
Change your belief that you need workout equipment to work out, and understand your greatest equipment is your body.
7. I need an accountability partner
No you don’t. Saying you need an accountability partner is like saying you need motivation, translation: it’s not going to get done unless a certain condition is met.
What you need is discipline to get it done whether or not the conditions are in your favour.
The problem with waiting on an accountability partner is that it’s not a guarantee that they’ll show up each day. Also, there is still the issue of you being motivated to show up.
This is simply trying to put a band aid on a knife wound. It will make you feel good for a moment, but it doesn’t fix the deep wound.
I’m not saying there isn’t merit in having someone with you to keep you accountable. However, like motivation it’s an unreliable strategy that you shouldn’t use as Plan A. You want to be in control at all times to ensure your success, not relying someone else to control it for you.
Change your belief that you aren’t strong enough to hold yourself accountable, that you need to be tied to someone to get it done.
Have confidence in yourself that you can do it. As a matter of fact challenge yourself to stick with it at least 10 days without an accountability partner. Discipline can be developed through taking small actions with patience and consistency.
8. I’m fat so it’s pointless
Remember what I said about beliefs? That whatever beliefs you accept as true determines your identity, and your identity determines your behaviour?
This is one of those cases.
Truth is you’re not too fat to lose weight and get in shape. Search the internet and I’m sure you can find stories of men and women who were significantly overweight. Yet through sheer desire to not let their weight hold them hostage any longer was able to change.
If you continue to hold the belief that you’re fat, or because of your genes it’s impossible for you to lose weight then that story becomes true for you. In your mind you’re telling yourself that you don’t have the power to change this so there’s no point in trying, when in fact that isn’t true.
Understand that your beliefs about yourself are keeping you fat, not your genes.
Change your belief that you are powerless to change and lose weight. Go back to the two things I said at the beginning of this list:
A. Your beliefs don’t permanently determine who you are
B. To change a belief you have to first change your perspective of it
So instead change your belief to say that you have the power to change, that it’s not the right genes that you’re lacking, it’s the right discipline. Remember, discipline can be developed.
The next step is to take small actions and create small wins for yourself. Challenge yourself that for the next 30 days I’ll only drink water. Nothing sweet, nothing with caffeine, nothing that I would normally consume that is bad for me.
Every day you do celebrate and congratulate yourself for sticking with it. Every day you don’t forgive yourself, and just tell yourself that you’re not perfect, you will make mistakes, and that’s okay. However, refuse to accept this mistake as who you are, and always push yourself to stay the course.
The path to change begins with the first step.
9. It’s too overwhelming to start or start over
The reason why you believe this is true is because you’re thinking you need to start or restart at a high level of intensity. You’re thinking that you need to get at least an hour of exercise in to make any sort if progress. You’re thinking you need to throw away every carb, sugary, gluten food product you have right now.
In other words you’re thinking you need to climb Mount Everest in one leap when you haven’t even laced up your hiking shoes as yet.
I know I may sound like a broken record but let me say it again, because you need to get this. The more our brains sees a task as taking too much work or too much effort, the more resistance it will create and the less likely you’ll feel like doing it.
The best way to make change is to start small and ridiculously simple. So if you’re trying to start or restart your workout routine don’t try to push for 1 hour. Don’t even push for 30 minutes. Start out doing 10 minutes. Hell if 10 minutes is too much start with 5 minutes. Five minutes a day everyday consistently will produce greater results LONG -TERM, than 1 hour a day done only twice per week.
If your goal is weight loss as I mentioned in the last point don’t try to change your complete diet overnight. Start off by challenging yourself to drink only water for the next 30 days, laying off any beverage that is sweet or fattening. After the 30 days you can choose something else such as eating vegetables with your meals or eating less on your plate for the next 30 days.
Change your belief that you need to go all in from Day 1. Focus more on making small consistent progress, rather than intense and major changes in one go.
Change your perspective to have a tortoise mindset, not the hare. Each day you take action, no matter how small, brings you one step closer to achieving your goal.
10. I’m too tired at the end of the day
This one I can actually give you, because I know you may really be too tired to exercise…but it doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t do it.
If you understand that it’s more about developing the mindset and discipline to get it done each day, then even 5 minutes…yes 5 MINUTES will help to shape your mind, identity, and thus your behaviour. This will eventually help you to develop the habit of doing it if you push yourself to never miss a day.
This means if five days you’re tired, but you push to get it done just four out of the five days, the message you’re sending to your subconscious is that “I’m a winner who gets it done no matter how I feel”.
I’ve had moments when I was really tired. Like all day working, not eating until 5pm, coming home at 10pm type days.
However, because I understand it’s more about developing the Mindset, Discipline, and Identity, than it is trying to have a sexy body, then I know pushing myself to do even a 5 minute workout is contributing to the development of all three of those areas.
You may really be tired. However, change your belief that you have to get it done no matter how you feel or the circumstance (check back to number 1).
Decide to never miss a day to execute, even if that means only putting in a 5 minute workout.
11. It isn’t convenient
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s no such thing as “convenient” when it comes to your goals in ANY area of your life (fitness or otherwise).
If you’re waiting until the perfect moment to get started, when everything is going perfect for you, well I’m willing to bet that next year this time it still won’t be convenient.
If ever there was an excuse not to get started this would be it.
Change your belief that there is such a thing as a “convenient” time. Accept that there’s no such thing and that you just have to get started and figure it out each day as you go along.
You may want to do a whole lot right now, but if all you can do is 10 minutes a day better that than doing nothing. If you can’t find the time to do it at the gym, do it at home. If the distance to the gym is too much or it’s too costly to go consistently to the gym, then workout at home.
Instead of waiting for motivation, decide to be the motivation and show up every day. You’ll find greater pride and satisfaction in that than what any motivation will give. Plus it’s a huge confidence builder for you too once you stick with it.
I’ve put together a free guide to help you change your beliefs about your workout and weight loss goals, create a new identity, and finally stick with and achieve the fitness goals you have.
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