After years of Coaching, I have recognized the distinction between Why someone starts and exercise plan and why someone continues long term. In actuality it doesn't require the perfect program, or best nutrition plan (although those are important), all that is required is clarity and alignment in 2 separate stages.
At first, I listen to Why they showed up for their first visit. What is it they want to change, more importantly WHY they want to change. The truth is there are only a few things that cause everyone to move into a place of discomfort and uncertainty. Most that don't exercise regularly assume starting a new plan is going to be painful, embarrassing, stinky, expensive and possibly a waste of time. So - how do you get past that?
We'll, there are only 2 reason's Why someone will embark on a new fitness or nutrition regime:
1. There current state is too painful to continue
Examples: Seeing a picture of yourself on vacation or a friend has a heart attack and you think that could be you.
2. They have a belief that exercise will give them something they are striving for.
Examples: Feel a sense of accomplishment or Love the way they feel when they are in great shape.
Now WHY does one stay on track with this new program after a few weeks... That's the even bigger question...
I've met people with the most compelling start up goals, those with incredible will power, and commitment - only to give up after a few weeks of putting it all out there. Here's Why...
There are 4 reasons Why we don't stay the course:
1. The pain has reduced (we're not at a place we can't stand anymore), so the motivation is weak - and yet we have not yet reached the place of results - so we haven't experienced the pleasure of our hard work. Translation - weak motivation, no inspiration = you slip, take a break, fall off the wagon.
2. The mood or attitude that you're commonly in. Have you ever noticed happy people are often happy, sad people can get sad regularly. If you live in a common emotion that doesn't make you feel great, your going to choose lifestyle choices that feed that emotion - and not the emotion of empowerment, and fun. It's really challenging to go for a run when your depressed, and stick to your healthy diet when you are down in the dumps. Translation - choosing your moods (yes you have control of this) will dictate the choices you make and the success of your intentions long term
3. Beliefs are one of the most powerful drawbacks for people because they are often unconscious. If you believe people that are fit are vain, shallow, or stupid you will never be fit. Asking great questions allows you to discover your limiting beliefs. Ask yourself: If you where in the best shape of your life: What would people think of you? Who would you need to be? What would need to happen? What am I willing to do to make this happen? What am I willing to no longer do?
4. Rituals/Habits - unconscious patterns like brushing your teeth, turning on the tv, or making coffee are rituals you do with very little thought. Of course there is the thought that you need to do it - but it usually stops there. There is no question about it - why you should or shouldn't, no contemplation, no avoidance - no will power required. It's just what you do. When patterns of ideal eating and exercise fall into this category your set! Research shows people who exercises consistently for a minimum of 6 months will continue to exercise regularly for the rest of there life!
5. You have to Feel Good because of this change. According to human needs psychology if at least 3 of your 6 human needs are being met you will become addicted to an activity or behavior. This means your workout needs to make you feel important, there needs to be variety, you need to have familiarity, feel a connection with yourself or others, feel like your growing or progressing, and feel like you're efforts are contributing to others. If all of these needs are being met - your probably working in the field! Bottom Line: You must find certainty, variety, significance and connection in your workouts. When you feel growth and contribution you'll never let it go. One last point: If your workouts conflict with your 6 human needs, even the best intentions will be squashed. If your a mom who is getting there needs met by there kids at higher levels than there workout - and the workout conflicts with family time, the kids will come first. Translation: Find ways to get your workouts to align with your needs through the right time, intensity, environment, and relationships. Search out the perfect gym, home program, video, or sport to keep you going.
Why aren't you achieving your fitness goals yet?