When I started out on my fitness journey, I had a lot of doubts. I tried and failed so many workouts that I wanted to give up altogether – more than once. I thought I would never be skinny enough, strong enough, or skilled enough to look or perform like the athletes I admired. I thought I would never make it to the “water break” of the workout videos without needing extra rest. I thought I would never be able to do a CrossFit WOD rx’d (as written, no modifications). You know how sometimes you have a gut feeling about something, and you are dead sure of it? That’s how those doubts felt – like a lot more than just a momentary fear.
There has been a sort of movement in American culture in recent history – a movement to trust your instincts and believe in yourself. While I think there is a positive side to that mindset, I think we need to be discerning and not just follow any feelings that pop into our minds. Our minds and hearts can be more deceiving than anything else, and it is really easy to lead ourselves astray by putting too much stock in our own thoughts.Often times the most destructive lies we believe are the product of our own minds, and something we need to fight against, not embrace. If you find yourself resonating with some of the doubts and fears I had, know that you are not alone, and that those fears don’t have to come true. None of them did for me.
Here are a few simple ways to break out of that self-destructive mindset and move from a beginner to an accomplished person:
(1. Realize that any belief that you will never do or achieve something is likely false and not worth dwelling on. No matter what your goal is, there is absolutely no reason you won’t reach it unless you have a serious injury or disease (which is extremely unlikely). If you put in the work and stay on the right track, you will get the results you are looking for, I can almost guarantee that. (Note: If you aren’t sure what the right path is for you, Contact Me and I would love to help you find the perfect workout program and eating plan to fit with your schedule, goals, and personality, as well as coach you through any stumbling blocks along the way.)
(2. Keep going especially when you think you should quit. Pushing through the doubts is the only way to overcome them, and working out or following a meal plan in spite of your fears is the single best way to get rid of them for good. After all, those thoughts won’t want to stick around if you don’t pay any heed to them, right?
(3. When you feel like you aren’t making any progress, make up your mind to give it your all for 1 month. Often times when people complain a program isn’t working, it’s because they quit too soon or didn’t put in consistent, quality work. It’s usually after 3-4 weeks of committed work that you notice changes. If you don’t notice any improvements after that time, chances are you are either doing the wrong program for your needs, or you didn’t stick to the program as well as you should have (both of which are easily fixed).
(4. Start a blog or join a group of like minded individuals. Having people to cheer you on every step of the way, in both the successes and the struggles, makes a tremendous difference in your motivation levels. There are some fantastic, supportive groups on Facebook full of people just like you, with similar goals and aspirations, who love to spur each other on. Blogging your journey in detail is also a great way to hold yourself accountable, and if you are as transparent as possible, people are likely to inspire and be inspired by you through your vulnerability. You don’t have to be a model or a celebrity to have a successful blog. People want to read about someone they relate to – not a perfect and impossible standard they feel they can never reach.
(5. Set attainable short and long-term goals for yourself that are not based on weight. A common mistake many women make is to focus on losing pounds or inches from their bodies. While this is likely to happen if you are overweight, if you only focus on the number on the scale going down, you are setting yourself up for disappointment in several ways. First, losing something is never a very motivating idea. Having your weight go down 1 or 2 pounds each week (the healthy rate for most adults) can seem like a never ending process, and you will likely get discouraged at some point. If you are working hard but your weight isn’t decreasing, don’t despair. A pound of muscle takes up a LOT less space than a pound of fat, so if you are doing an effective exercise program that causes you to simultaneously lose fat and gain muscle (which is the best way to lose weight by the way), the number on the scale might not actually change much because the weight of your muscle is going up even though you are losing fat. So a much better alternative to making weight-based goals is to set performance goals for yourself. For instance, some goals I set for myself as a beginner were to be able to do 10 full push-ups, 3 strict pull-ups, and hold the plank position for 1 minute without collapsing. It was so much fun to set a goal, create a plan, follow it, and achieve those goals within a few weeks. I still structure my workout programs this way sometimes when I get discouraged, and it does wonders for my motivation.
So there ya go! It’s not as impossible to overcome your doubts and reach your goals as your mind would have you believe. Don’t be ashamed of being a beginner, you have to start where you are to get anywhere! Being weak and unfit is where you have to start to get where you want to be – embrace it!
What are your goals? What are some doubts you have a hard time letting go of? I would love to hear about it! Let’s start a conversation in the comments 🙂