When we work towards improving our health and fitness, we tend to focus on the physical components of exercise and nutrition, but we often forget the importance of your mind when it comes to being focused and committed. Many times our battles are mental and psychological and, at times, we can be our worst enemy, as we are guilty of sabotaging our own efforts.
Since it takes effort to change, you should stack the cards in your favor and avoid doing the things which will sabotage your efforts and slow down or reverse your progress. Here are a few things to consider.
Do you have conflicting goals? Some people want to run a marathon but also want to bulk up and gain a lot of muscle mass. It is not very likely that you can do both at the same time.
Do you surround yourself and hang out with people who are not supportive of your fitness goals and who encourage you to participate in unhealthy activities? That's like an alcoholic looking for support at a bar.
When you go shopping, do you find yourself buying junk food because it's on sale even though you don't really intend to eat it? Do you keep unhealthy food around you during the day at home or work which makes it harder for you to eat clean? I'm not pointing fingers at anyone here. On February 15th I was at Rite-Aid and they were discounting their Valentines candy for pennies on the dollar. I didn't want or need it, but it was such a good deal I had to buy a bunch! Doy to me.
If you are going to indulge in occasional junk food, then make it inconvenient. We all know it is cheaper and easier to keep a 5 gallon container of Rocky Road ice cream in your freezer at home, but if instead, you drove to Baskin Robbins and pay $9.00, or whatever they charge these days for an ice cream cone, you would probably indulge a lot less often. Remove the temptations.
Are you afraid of reaching your goals and actually succeeding? I don't want to get into psychology mumbo jumbo, or make anyone feel like they have a split personality like Norman Bates, but that is an important question to ask.
What is your self image? Do you see yourself as a healthy, fit person, or an out of shape person who is just pretending to live a healthy lifestyle? I have an acquaintance who was a heavy smoker for years. One day he had an epiphany when he realized he was a neat freak and very clean and his filthy habit was not congruent with his self image. He was able to quit smoking when he realized this and focused the image he had of himself instead of the habit he had been addicted to. It's never too late to change your self-concept.
The changes we make in our lives can be difficult. It requires effort to overcome old habits and negative thought patterns. This applies to all aspects of our lives, not just weight loss and developing healthy habits. When you mess up, don't think "all is lost". Nothing good ever comes from an attitude of defeat. Don't beat yourself up either, just move on. If the number of days you do well working towards your goals exceed the number of days you goof up, then you will make progress.