How To Jump The 6 Biggest Hurdles Of New Fitness Goals
Beginning a fitness journey is pretty easy: You invest in some workout gear, you sign up for a program or a gym, you do a workout or two. Continuing on that path is the tricky bit—but the good news is there are plenty of strategies to help you succeed.
So pull on those leggings and dust off those dumbbells. As an industry pro, I know exactly why most fitness flings fail—and I'm going to tell you how to make it stick for good this time around.
Hurdle 1: Unrealistic goals
Lifting the heaviest weights after a week in the gym? Completely changing the way your body looks? Setting unrealistic and unhealthy goals like this will only set you up to fail. Why? Because when you don't hit the impossible target, you're more likely to feel defeated and give up.
How to jump it: Reality check what is possible, be honest and kind with yourself, and then set some accessible goals! Being committed to a healthy lifestyle means making it part of your life for good, not just for a short period of time. My guide to goal-setting will help you to figure out the right kind of goals for you.
Hurdle 2: Comparing yourself to others
Whether it's an Insta post or another gym-goer, comparison is a surefire way to feel insecure and discouraged. Pretty soon you're asking yourself, "Why should I bother?"
How to jump it: It's unrealistic and unhealthy to compare yourself to anyone. I've fallen into the comparison trap, too! After I had my first baby, I wondered why so many other fitness professionals "snapped back" fast and I didn't. I felt like an impostor because I didn't look "fit." With my second child, I knew better than to beat myself up. Now I focus on my own journey and don't get distracted by others.
Our lives and bodies are different, so your progress won't look the same as someone else's. But it's your progress, so celebrate it when you hit new milestones: Cook your favorite meal, get that new workout gear, or treat yourself to a day at the beach with a good book.
Hurdle 3: Mistaking motivation for discipline
The burst of motivation that kick-starts your fitness journey is a great thing—but what got you out of bed yesterday may not work tomorrow. Eventually, motivation wears off and may not feel like pursuing your goal. This is the point many people give up.
How to jump it: Every single day you have to get up and decide what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, and what to put on your to-do list. Fitness isn't so different. You're just making a decision to be healthier and happier! Motivation will come and go, discipline and building a habit are what will get you to your goals.
I recommend starting to build your habit by filling out a goal sheet, if you haven't already.
Hurdle 4: You can't find the time
"I don't have time to work out"—as a trainer and fitness expert, I hear this a lot. Some people may truthfully be too busy to find 30 minutes a day to release stress and boost their mood with exercise. But that's not the case for most of us.
How to jump it: First, schedule your workout time. Treat it like an appointment you can't miss, and set a reminder on your phone. Struggling to find the time? Maybe you can get 20 to 30 minutes of movement into your lunch break, or sacrifice 30 minutes of TV time. You may not be able to do every workout as planned, but you can make it easier for yourself to be consistent. Remember, something is always better than nothing!
Hurdle 5: Convincing yourself it's a chore
I know you're comfy under the covers there, but treating exercise like a chore will make your habit unsustainable. Of course, you won't leap into every single workout with a smile, but if you are dreading it and hating every second, you're setting yourself up to fail.
How to jump it: To change your attitude toward exercise, you need to create a routine that fits with your life. Don't overdo it. Take your rest days. Use modifications where needed—workouts should be tough but not something to be feared.
Also, aim to find a fitness method that you truly enjoy—the best type of workout is one you'll do consistently. Experimenting with different environments can help, too. Create a workout space at home that you're completely comfortable with. If home is chaotic, maybe you'll be more focused at the park.
Get curious about fitness and good form, nutrition, supplementation, and what makes you feel good—understanding what you're doing and why can forge a stronger connection.
Hurdle 6: You're not willing to mess up
When you're new to exercise, it can feel like learning a new language. (When everyone is talking about quads, delts, and obliques, it practically is!) Some people aren't as open to learning something new and switch off when they're not great at it straight away. Others get embarrassed and give up.
How to jump it: Trust me, we've all had moments of looking like a baby giraffe learning to walk in the gym. Laugh it off and try again! It's OK not to be great in the beginning: to lose balance, to be too out of breath to finish a round, to groan every time you sit down the next day. But every "fail" is a chance to learn, and learning equals growth!
If you're at the start of your journey and need some inspiration, check out my FIT Foundations exercise tutorials, learn the benefits of what you're doing, and don't be afraid to try something new (or look silly doing it!). We're building this habit from the ground up so you can be stronger for life.
Fitness inspiration Emily Skye designed and launched her first health and fitness program in 2014, which has now grown into the global Emily Skye FIT program. But before helping millions of people around the world transform their mind and body, she had to transform herself: from skinny and insecure model, to strong, toned and confident role model. After falling in love with strength training, Emily entered fitness competitions, placing 1st in WNBF Miss USA Figure NSW 2011, WNBF Miss USA Fit Body NSW 2011 and WNBF Best Body Swimsuit Sydney 2012, and 2nd in WNBF Miss USA Figure Sydney 2012 and INBA Fitness Model Sydney 2012. Emily is a qualified personal trainer, with a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness.
Emily has found success through her effective fitness and workout plans, but also by being authentic and transparent about her past struggles with body image pre/post-baby, eating disorders, mental health and how exercise and healthy living have transformed her life in a positive way that she now shares with others so they are able to have their own transformations.