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How To Jump The 6 Biggest Hurdles of New Fitness Goals

a pair of hand dumbbells and a jump rope

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.

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.

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. We have all fallen into the comparison trap! 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 deciding to be healthier and happier! Motivation will come and go, discipline and building a habit are what will get you to your goals.

Hurdle 4: You can't find the time

"I don't have time to work out.” 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: 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!

Credit: Emily Skye & mgb movement

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