Everyone knows that losing weight, improving nutrition, or sticking to an exercise program are not easy things to do.
In fact, some research suggests that roughly 90% of people fail to stick to health goals long-term. The average number of times people have given up on their fitness goals in the past is 4 times. That means they failed to achieve their goal, 4 times!
Numbers like these make adopting new healthier nutrition and fitness habits seem nearly impossible!
Yet, we know that it can be done. We’ve heard the success stories, we know these people exist.
So what exactly is it that these successful 10% know, that the rest of us don’t? What mistakes are the other 90% of us making that leads to our repeated failure in our health and fitness goals?
Here are the top 10 mistakes that people make when trying to form a new health, nutrition, or fitness habit.
#1 – Relying On Methods That Aren’t Sustainable
This is one of, if not the, biggest mistakes people make when trying to change a fitness or eating habit. If you want to make habits that stick, choose methods that you are willing to stick to for life!
Let’s imagine you have a goal to lose weight, and you heard running is a great way to lose weight. But you hate running with the passion of 1,000 burning suns… probably don’t pick running as your method to lose the weight.
There are a lot of types of exercise out there. Try to pick one that you can imagine yourself doing long-term.
Likewise, if you’re going to change the way you eat, do it in a way you can stick to long-term.
The reason why crash diets usually don’t work, is that they are so restrictive that people feel like they are missing out on the best parts of life. People can only do these types of methods for so long until they go a little crazy and quit.
#2 – Starting Too Fast
There are several things that cause people to start out too fast on a new fitness or health goal.
One of those things is the need for instant gratification. We want to achieve our goal now rather than later so we try to take shortcuts.
A lot of people also tend to either overestimate their current fitness levels, underestimate how much time and effort it will take to achieve their goal, or both.
A common reason for quitting a fitness goal is being to sore from starting too quickly. This can also lead to skipped workouts and a loss of confidence. Both of which make it unlikely that the person will be able to stick to that goal.
So pass up the urge for instant gratification. Be honest about where you are currently at with your fitness and what it will take to achieve your goals. And start small to set yourself up for success.
#3 – Setting Unrealistic Goals
This is related to mistake #2. Because people often overestimate their abilities and underestimate what it will actually take to achieve their goal, they set unrealistic timelines on their goals. For example that they can lose 30 pounds in 1 month and keep it off.
#4 – Not Understanding How Habits Work
If we want to do something regularly for the rest of our lives, we have to build a habit. Certain things go into building a habit that actually sticks.
However, most people have never really learned anything about the science or psychology of building habits.
We may have heard that it takes 21 days to build a habit, but this is not accurate. There’s a lot that goes into building habits that stick. Especially when it comes to health, nutrition, and fitness habits.
#5 – Unable To Navigate Misinformation
I probably don’t have to tell you this, but everyone and their grandmother seems to think they are a fitness and nutrition expert.
There’s a lot of “bro-science” out there which has very little basis in either science, or reality. We need a myth-busters show for all that fitness and nutrition #FakeNews out there!
Using incorrect information to try and reach a goal, is a quick way to set yourself up for failure.
#6 – Not Knowing How to Exercise Or Eat For Specific Goals
This is related to #5. Those of us that weren’t athletes growing up, probably never really learned how to work out.
There is so much science involved in working out safely and effectively, and it differs based on your goals. This can make going to the gym a terrifying experience for many people!
The same goes for diet. Raise your hand if you weren’t allowed to leave the table as a kid unless you cleaned your plate. ?
Not to mention, as we get older, we have to adjust how we eat. As we age, our metabolisms change, and then we’ve got to figure out that out on our own too.
#7 – Failing To Plan
This too, goes back to not understanding what it will actually take to achieve our goals. It may be that we make our goals too vague. Or that we don’t make short-term goals on the way to our bigger goals.
It could be that the methods that we come up with to meet our goals are flawed. Or that we don’t set aside enough time to put our action plan into place. Or simply that we made a goal without a plan to achieve it.
In order to avoid this common mistake, check out the following articles:
- Learn how to make an Action Plan for your new goal.
- How make time in your busy schedule to work on a new goal.
#8 – Relying Too Much On Willpower And Motivation
Our society has created unrealistic expectations about willpower and motivation.
We hear people saying “stop making excuses”, and “just do it”. Others tell us if we just had a little more willpower then we would achieve all of our goals. But this sort of attitude is based on a commonly believed myth about willpower.
[Learn about the myth of willpower & 3 things that are more important then willpower to achieve your goals.]
We also have the false expectation that motivation should be high all the time, and if we’re strong enough, we can achieve our goals.
But thinking this way, we don’t try learn the ways in which we can make things easier on ourselves. We just try to use brute force and power through. This is a big mistake.
#9 – Not Having The Right Mindset
Mindset matters a lot when we are trying to make a big change in our fitness and nutrition habits.
If you need any proof of this, check out these videos explaining the growth and fixed mindsets.
#10 – Can’t Bounce Back After Making a Mistake
When people slip up (which is bound to happen) they see it as a failure. If they see it as a failure, they get discouraged and lose confidence. If they lose confidence, they lose motivation. And if they lose motivation, they can’t get back on the horse, so they end up quitting. Even if they’ve only made one little mistake!
This comes back to mindset. People with the fixed mindset see mistakes as failures. While people with the growth mindset don’t see it that way at all! Mistakes aren’t failures to them. Surely they don’t like making mistakes, but they understand it’s not the end of the world.
People with the growth mindset recognize mistakes as learning opportunities. So instead of quitting after making a mistake, the growth minded person learns from the mistake. Then keeps trying, and makes sure they don’t let that same mistake happen again.
If you’re having trouble getting back on the horse after having a slip-up on your goal, check out the following posts:
- Try This 2-Minute Mindset Exercise To Get Your Health And Fitness Goals Back On Track After A Slip-Up
- The Complete Guide To Overcoming Setbacks and Achieving Your Health & Fitness Goals (+ Free Trouble-Shooting Template!)
The reason that ~90% of people can’t stick to their goals, is that they unknowingly set themselves up for failure.
They often have a lack of knowledge (whether they know it or not) on how to:
- Build habits.
- Exercise and eat safely and effectively for their goals.
- Set realistic goals and plans to achieve those goals
- Sort through all the misinformation out there on the internet.
- Take advantage of science and psychology to make things easier on themselves.
My mission is to help you gain knowledge so you can be one of the 10% to achieve their health and fitness goals!
Have you made any of these common mistakes in the past? If so, you’re not alone!
I will be addressing each of these ten common mistakes and how to overcome them on this blog. So make sure you sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss out!