Do you feel like you are working your tush off to get in the best shape of your life but aren’t seeing any results? Does it seem like you keep starting various fitness programs only to never finish any of them? Are you tired of constantly starting over?
When I first started my fitness journey, I often felt that way, too. I didn’t like the way my thighs looked or that I couldn’t get up the stairs without getting out of breath. When I took up running, it was extremely difficult for me to keep going. Somehow, I managed to even though the going got tough.
It took me six months to train for my first marathon after doing several 10K runs. The truth is, real results can take several months (and even years) of solid, consistent effort.
In college, I was more in love with the final result than with the process of getting there. Unfortunately, I didn’t always stick with the process long enough to see the results I was looking for, and I would get frustrated. Then, I would quit. Then, I would beat myself up for quitting and then try again. I finally realized I needed to break that cycle and learn to love and trust the process for progress to become inevitable.
After digging deep for almost a decade, working with many clients, and overcoming my own obstacles, I’ve been able to put together a list of four reasons people aren’t seeing the results they want. I also want to give you some possible solutions you can implement right away so you can start moving closer to achieving your goals.
1. Your efforts lack consistency.
Notice how gyms are packed for the first two weeks of January? Then, by mid-February, approximately 70-80% of those gym members abandon their New Year’s Resolutions. I believe that feeling overwhelmed and expecting immediate results creates inconsistency. We all know that it takes much longer than a month of hitting the gym regularly before we see changes in our physiques.
Solution: Avoid the “all-or-nothing” mentality that will lead you to feel overwhelmed. Create a plan that allows flexibility and focuses on 1-3 small things you can do each day or week. For example, it’s always going to be better for you to do three workouts a week for a year versus seven workouts a week for only two weeks (before you quit).
2. You waste time looking for shortcuts.
If you Googled, “How to lose weight fast,” you will come across millions of “resources” claiming to offer rapid weight loss solutions. However, many of those ways to lose weight very quickly are not healthy in the long term. Unfortunately, you may end up consuming information that does not always come from credible sources. This leads to confusion and frustration and leaves you with very little time for taking action.
Solution: Rather than looking for shortcuts, start with the basics that you know will eventually work. The truth is, if you spent as much time following a process as you do looking for shortcuts, you’d already be well on your way to getting results. There is not one diet or exercise program that is the perfect solution for everyone looking to lose weight, run faster or lift heavier. Therefore, you should pick something you enjoy and can do consistently. Stop wasting your time and energy searching for a quick fix when you already know what you need to do.
3. You don’t ask for help.
I know that you may hesitate to ask for help because you take pride in figuring things out on your own. However, getting help may be exactly what you need to take your fitness to the next level, especially if you are not making progress on your own and you feel “stuck in a rut.” There is no shame in asking for help or hiring someone to help you. When you hire an expert, such as a trainer or a nutritionist, to help you, you will benefit from the several years of knowledge they’ve acquired, so you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.
Solution: If you feel like you are getting nowhere, then you should consider asking for help. For best results, work with someone who is trustworthy and has a good reputation. Before you blindly give your money away to the first person who makes a bunch of promises, do your own research and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Prior to hiring someone, it’s important to consider whether that person has experience working with people who’ve had similar challenges as you. You must also feel comfortable around that person and it’s important to have a good connection. Additionally, you must set your ego aside so you open your mind to learning.
4. You let other people’s opinions influence your actions (or lack thereof).
Unfortunately, not all your friends and family members will have a positive impact on your journey. They may tell you they don’t think you can do it or say they know someone who tried to do what you are doing and failed. Some people may even say how few people ever achieve what you are trying to achieve. They will warn you of all the potential roadblocks that you may encounter throughout your journey.
While some of these people may feel like they are simply trying to protect you from disappointment if you fail, others may have ulterior motives because they don’t want to see you succeed and be a threat to their egos. Unfortunately, some people will never clap when you win. You must be aware of who they are.
Solution: You must learn to recognize the difference between constructive criticism, helpful advice and malicious negativity.
Constructive criticism would typically come from someone who truly wants to help you. The best example is when a coach you trust tells you that you need to improve your running form to run faster so you can qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Genuinely helpful advice typically comes from someone who has done what you are doing and wants to help. These people want to help because they don’t need to see others fail to make themselves feel better. Malicious negativity is when friends, or family members, act like they mean well, but they really want to see you fail. It’s highly likely they have given up on their own goals and want to drag you into their vortex of negativity. They are secretly afraid that if you look good, then they will look bad.
The best way to deal with malicious negativity is to block it out (yes, this is very hard). It’s important not to show the negative person they had an impact on your emotional state. You must recognize that their negativity reflects their own life experience and has nothing to do with you. To protect your dreams, you should limit the amount of time you spend with people who bring you down. This may also mean getting a new circle of friends who have similar goals as you and will support you.
In closing, as you can see, there are a number of reasons why you may not be seeing results from your hard work. To succeed, you must shift your perception of yourself, the work you need to put in and the environment in which you exist.
About the Author: Yana Hempler is an internationally published fitness writer, online running coach, corporate wellness consultant and certified personal trainer. Her work has previously been seen in Canadian Running Magazine, IMPACT Magazine, Oxygen Magazine, as well as many other print and online publications. Yana went from not being able to run one block to running 30 Marathons in 30 days. She has completed the Boston Marathon, New York Marathon, Berlin Marathon, as well as many local running events. She helps beginner runners by using the right combination of strength training and running in her program design. You can follow Yana on Instagram for running tips, inspiration and motivation.