Quick Summary Points
- Achieving your training, weight loss or any other health related goals can be hard.
- However, we often make it harder for ourselves by committing 5 very common mistakes, often without even realising.
- These mistakes are easily fixed though, and knowing what they are will help.
Achieving your best body ever is hard work. And for every genetically gifted individual with a perfect physique, there’s 1000 other trainers who try just as hard and still come up short. Unlike those genetically gifted individuals though, the other 1000 can’t just work at 80% and expect the same results. Instead, they need to be more diligent, more focused and strive harder for those last few percentages which will help them cross the line between moderate success and actually smashing your goals.
A lot of mistakes and mishaps happen when trainers try to achieve their goals, which is natural. After all, making mistakes is how we learn. Correcting those mistakes though is the key to meeting that last 20% of effort needed to own your goals. If you’ve been training for awhile and still feel like you’re not quite there, this article is for you. We take a look at 5 of the biggest issues holding you back from achieving your goals.
1. Being Clear
One of the biggest issues with trainers, both novice and more experienced is not being clear with their goals. I see and hear about this all the time. These trainers want it all; strength, power, endurance, abs, a ripped physique, bulk, etc. What happens though is their training, nutrition and supplementation ends up floundering. They get minimal results in all of these areas, but not what they truly desire.
Solution – Know What You Want
What is the goal you really want? Is it to be strong and lift more? Is it to gain 5kgs? Is it to lose 5kgs? Is it to get abs? Whatever your goals may be, whittle it down to ONE goal and then plan around that goal. You may have to make certain sacrifices along the way; for example you might have to sacrifice a bit of strength in the short term and how much you can lift if you want to lose a bit of weight. It’s important to know that these sacrifices are only short term, but they help you to stay focused and make it easier to achieve your goals.
Comparing yourself against others can be both a good and bad thing. It can be a great motivator, but it can also end up in demoralising self talk and often unrealistic expectations. For example, you see somebody your size squatting much more than you and you start to compare. Here are some common thought processes:
- If they can do it, I can do it. I’m going to focus more on squatting and aim to squat just as much.
- I’m never going to be able to squat that much
- They must be genetically gifted or taking something
Solution – Stop Comparing, Start Learning
Making comparisons between yourself and others is a double edged sword. While it can push and drive you to be better and perform better, it can also make you lose focus and motivation. Regardless of how you react when comparing yourself against others, the most productive way is to simply learn more. If there is someone who lifts more or has your ideal physique, strike up a conversation with them and learn how they did it. This information can help you in the long run and make it easier to reach your own goals. The only person you should constantly be comparing yourself to is yourself. Learn more, measure your progress and reward yourself when you do better.
3. Have a Plan
Knowing what you want is great, but unless you’re able to formulate a plan on how to get what you want; that goal is just a pipe dream. Few people can just wing it and expect results. What’s just as bad is half baked plans; those that focus on certain areas and completely forget about other aspects that could help you achieve your goals. Weight loss is one big example. People know how much they want to lose but will often only resort to either exercise or diet, and not both at the same time.
Solution – Break it Down
The best laid plans are made by considering all the factors and ensuring all the major ones are addressed. Before you forge ahead with your efforts, know where you want to be focusing your attention. If you want to lose weight for example, diet and exercise are obvious factors, but then you have to become more specific. What will the diet look like? Will you be counting calories? What foods do you want to cut out? Having a more specific plan make it easier to follow and takes out the guesswork. So sit down, grab a notebook, break it down and spend some time planning.
4. Diet & Nutrition is Key
Have you ever heard that diet should make up 70-80% of your effort when it comes to accomplishing your goals? Well it’s true; however, most people seem to be more focused on their training, which takes up a mere 4-8% of our day. Meanwhile, we eat multiple times a day and make over 200 food related decisions a day, many of which we aren’t even aware of.
Solution – Watch What You Eat
Regardless of what kind of nutrition and diet plan you have, you need to be vigilant and watch what you’re putting in your mouth and when. You also need to put together a plan, which should take more time than your training plan. Don’t be afraid to switch things up and try various approaches, especially if old ones haven’t previously worked. For example, play around with carb and fat intakes or try intermittent fasting. Make sure the approach is safe, well researched and not a fad though. Make use of apps such as My Fitness Pal to help keep track of what and how much you eat. All this data is going to help you to really make changes in your diet which will make achieving your goals that much easier.
5. Motivate Yourself
As corny as it sounds, believing in yourself and your abilities is what is going to propel you to success. If you doubt what you do and if you doubt your results, you’re basically tipping yourself to fail. This is another one of the biggest problems that you see that limits the goal progression for many trainers. Previous lack of results, injuries and comparisons with other trainers can often compound these feelings. Working out and trying to achieve your goals because you’re envious or angry at someone else’s success can fuel you for awhile, but is unsustainable long term. Unless the drive to workout and change comes from yourself and not external motivators, you’re not going to sustain your progress.
Solution – Find Ways to Fire Yourself Up
On days where it’s cold and miserable and you’re tired and sore, motivating yourself can be hard, but you just need to find things that fire you up. Whether it’s listening to some motivating music or watching a short motivating clip, use whatever you need to get you to the gym or help you prepare your meals of the week. Learn to self talk positively. That is, encourage and motivate yourself by telling yourself things like ‘you can do it’ or ‘you’ve got this’ or ‘you’re doing an awesome job’. It may sound lame, but research has shown that positive self talk and self motivation can help improve performance.
Achieving Your Goals
No one is perfect. But we all have what it takes in ourselves to strive and get close to it. Trying to reach goals is hard enough as it is, but we often do things, often unconsciously that impact our ability to reach those achievements. Whether it’s wanting too much, failing to plan, comparing ourselves unfairly with others, not paying attention to diet or not being able to motivate ourselves enough, all these factors are changeable. Now that you know some of the common issues that might be setting you back, you can do something about it and instead of just meeting your goals, you can smash through them.