Aim low – why high fitness goals can damage your progress

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“That’s it! Tomorrow. I’m getting my act together. I’m gonna start working out 5 times a week and eat only lettuce and carrots, I’ll be back in shape in no time!”. Well, sounds like a great plan, but let’s face it – when we tell this to ourselves, we all know it’s not going to happen. It’s because no matter how devoted you think you may be, and no matter how hard you’re going to try and stick to these promises you make to yourself – when you set yourself such unrealistic goals you’re leaving yourself with little to no chance of fulfilling them.

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It may sound like we’re telling you to simply settle for less, but take our word for it – it’s not. Killing yourself in training and dieting might work for a few days. Eventually, there will be that moment when your brain is going to catch up with what you’re trying to convince him to do – which is INSANE. You’re attempting to do something that your body hates (come on marathon lovers, who do you think you’re kidding? Not one can actually enjoy that torture), and the idea of eating less and less food really just means going against some of your most basic instincts. Changing these habits and adopting a new lifestyle is hard enough, so trying to make many big changes all at once is a million times harder and your ‘break-down-moment’ is going to arrive very soon.

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Let’s say you aim to become more fit, or maybe lose a few pounds. You want to see changes happening fast (big event coming up?) and say you want to train 4 or 5 times a week. Naturally, the first day is always easy. You’re still full of energy, you’re motivated, you just want to go out there and rock. You finish your first workout and you just feel A-mazing, and you swear that tomorrow’s not going be any different. Sadly, as things always are in life, other things pop up, you’re busy with more urgent things you have to attend to, and you miss a day or two of working out. Now you feel guilty. Maybe even a bit angry at yourself for failing your mission after just one day! You give up on the whole idea as you sob into a bucket of ice-cream.

Why does this happen? Because you’re weak? Because you do not want to change? Obviously NOT! The reason is that you just weren’t being totally honest with yourself to begin with. Juggling between your job, social life and family is guaranteed to leave you with a busy schedule that is constantly subject to changes. Your life cannot be put on hold all of a sudden when you want to work on yourself and your image. Setting a goal that deep down you know is too high for you is just setting yourself to fail. The intentions are always good, but we all know where that road’s gonna lead to…

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So aim low. Make a decision you know you could stick by, even if it means that the change will be more graduate and the results will come a bit later. Set short term goals and see how they fit your schedule. This way it’ll be easier to hold your word for yourself and also allow your body and mind to adapt to these changes. Staying in a good, rewarding mood is what will keep you going, while experiencing constant feelings of self-disappointment will only make you fail.

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