The first step to long-term success is to create a healthy mindset toward your journey. Setting yourself a tight time frame to reach your goal and focusing solely on appearance-based outcomes can quickly lead to failure. The most important thing all my successful clients have in common is that they have started their journey with a clear intention to commit to the best of their ability, regardless of how long it takes them to get to where they want to be. By approaching fitness in a way that is enjoyable and sustainable, you can break the mantra that training and exercise is a ‘chore’. Everyone experiences progress differently, so buckle up for a long ride and stay committed. If you’re putting in the work, you will succeed – there is no other way. However, don’t approach your journey as a way to fit into a new dress or lose a few kgs for an upcoming event. No one ever has truly won that race – so aim for a marathon.
A big barrier to embracing a new lifestyle is often a sense of deprivation when implementing nutrition-related changes. Ask yourself:
If any of the above statements are correct, you may be experiencing something that’s often called “deprivation mindset” – and this is very common in the health and fitness industry. At the start of my journey, I used to obsess a lot over “clean” eating, ultimately categorising foods as ”good” or ”bad” and considerably restricting my calories over a long period of time which always let to inconsistency and ‘failure’. If you cannot adhere to the plan you are following, then it is not the right plan for you. Since then, I have learned a lot and came to a conclusion that following a flexible approach while fuelling my body appropriately is a much better strategy for me – and one that’s certainly sustainable. I personally enjoy the 80/20 approach – 80% nutritious foods, and 20% “soul” foods. This has been working wonders for both my physique and my mindset! There are no good or bad foods as such, it’s all in the amounts and assessing your individual needs correctly.
One of the most common barriers to success is, “just not having the time for it”. Finding the time to prioritise your own health and fitness goals among the responsibilities of day-to-day life can certainly be a challenge. What it usually means, however, is not the lack of time as such, but the rigidity of initial plans. The life-changing trick here is to not only have a Plan A, but also a Plan B – and perhaps even C if your life is especially unpredictable!
For example, if you’re planning to go to the gym in the morning for an hour-long workout, if something goes slightly wrong you could consider shortening your session to 30 mins by reducing the number of exercises or reps, and as a last resort – fitting in a small evening session at home. If all these options are pre-planned, you can’t really “fail” and therefore feel demotivated and upset when life gets in the way.
And neither it’s truly attainable 100% of the time! What is, however, possible is implementing positive changes and putting in the effort consistently. I always encourage my clients to strive for progress over perfection!
Motivation can carry you through the first few weeks of your journey, but when this initial motivation begins to wear, it can be difficult to maintain the same level of commitment. The ‘all or nothing approach’ is the biggest progress killer known to me! The solution? Let fitness fit your lifestyle! Don’t take away everything you love and enjoy doing. Yes, a level of discipline and sacrifice is required to achieve your goals, but learn to find a balance of both. The all or nothing approach is NOT required to achieve the results you are after! Remember: consistency and adherence will always win over perfection.
For someone new to health and fitness, it often seems like there are so many “rules” to follow, and adhering to the changes takes out a lot of joy from everyday activities. However, looking at this differently can be a true life-changer. I don’t want anyone to feel restricted or deprived, or thinking they must follow a certain set of rules to achieve their goals. Instead, I always tell my clients to treat themselves to a lifestyle that brings so many positive changes, both physical and mental!
Instead of dreading meal prep, allow yourself a couple of hours each weekend to cook nutritious meals that you will be looking forward to each day. Allow yourself to do some research and learn new things about health and fitness, instead of getting frustrated by blindly following someone’s advice. You deserve to put the time aside to get that workout in, which in turn will make you feel great and set you up for an amazing day ahead. In other words, creating a new lifestyle is a treat – not a punishment!