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5 Motivation Mistakes That Could be Keeping You from Your Fitness Goals

Christina Schroeder


You’ve decided to start a fitness routine. You’ve got your gym membership, your workouts planned and some sweet looking new outfits that make you look like a real gym rat. There’s only one problem…

The motivation you had when you set that big health goal, signed the paperwork and walked out of Lululemon with a bag of gear…yeah, it sort of disappeared.

Trust me: I’ve been there.

I totally feel you in those moments when there’s anything – ANYTHING – you’d rather do than work out. Clean the house, grocery shop, give the kids a bath, tackle that honey-do list you’ve been avoiding – ANYTHING – except go get sweaty, lift weights and end up out of breath.

It’s totally okay for that feeling to crop up every now and again; it makes you normal. But, if you’re finding that you’re always avoiding your workout and no amount of tough love, supportive love, rewards or consequence will get you there – well, that might be something to take a closer look at.

Don't fall into the "lack of motivation" trap – sign up for the #thrivetoday Fitness Challenge!

As I think about my experience with my own fitness routine and the experience of all the clients I’ve coached through CrossFit, spin and nutrition goals, there are some common motivation mistakes that pop up and derail our results – even for someone with the best of intentions.

Here’s my Top 5:

1. You’ve fallen into the “punishment mindset” trap.

Ever eat a donut or miss a trip to the gym? It can be easy to think you need to “make up” for that behavior and punish yourself with a grueling workout. It’s not your fault for thinking this way! After all, we often see candy bar calories compared to what it would take to burn them off, etching into our minds the story that we were bad for enjoying that treat – and if you do the crime, you have to do the time. But here’s the thing: our mindset makes a huge difference in our approach to nutrition and fitness and in our success reaching our goals. How motivated are you by punishment? Does that really feel sustainable or inspiring? Not for me, and I’m guessing not for a lot of you.

2. I HAVE to go five days a week…

If you can’t commit to working out five days a week, you might as well not commit at all…right? Wrong. While exercising five days is a way to meet the CDC’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and two total-body strength-training sessions per week – it’s not the only way. You can also accomplish this target in fewer, longer sessions. The point is, it’s more important to start moving than to put it off until what feels like an ideal schedule presents itself.

3. Instagram says…

We can agree that Instagram and other social media platforms are great ways to connect and find inspiration, but it’s really important to recognize that some people giving advice on nutrition and fitness may not actually have any certifications or credentials. Before giving these “gurus” your money or your mental real estate, be sure to know the difference between “This worked for me, so it’s the only way,” and “I’ve been trained to work with individuals on what works best for them.”

4. Your goal is to just to “lose weight and get fitter.”

Being at a healthier weight or having more energy isn’t a bad thing – but you have to get grounded in your why! Following a nebulous goal only gets you so far. Do you want to have more energy to play with your kids? Think more clearly, so you can do better work? Run the 5K for a charity you really care about? A study in the Journal of Health Psychology surveyed 104 adults and found those who lived with a greater sense of purpose also engaged in more physical activity. If you’re not motivated, take a look at the mirror and ask yourself: why am I doing this?

5. You go by weight and ignore body fat.

“If I just lose 15 lbs., I’ll feel better.” Ever heard that? Ever thought that? We’re a weight-obsessed culture, so it makes sense that the simplest go-to health goal is to want to lose some weight. Usually, though, the X lbs. you want to lose are fat, which is tied to aesthetics and how we fit in our clothes. What does that mean? It means your body composition can change positively without the scale moving. Leaning out while maintaining or increasing muscle mass – aka going to work on lowering your body fat percentage – can help your overall health, self-confidence, and performance in and out of the gym.

A temporary dip in motivation is completely normal. But if you’re falling into one of these motivation traps, it may be time to go to work on shifting your mindset around your fitness routine and/or changing up your approach. Either way, it starts with being more aware of your thoughts and actions.

Want more support in reaching your health goals?

Join us in the #thrivetoday 90-Day Fitness Challenge, kicking off on July 1! Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, want some nutrition tips and tricks, or are looking for workouts you can do at home or on the road – this program will have something for you. Jump over here to learn more!

In addition to her work as an MJST Success Coach, Christina Schroeder has been actively coaching in the fitness and wellness community for 7 years. Her certifications include: CrossFit Level 1, CrossFit Level 2, Stages Cycling, and Precision Nutrition Level 1. She'll also be beginning her Precision Level 2 certification training in the near future. She is based out of Omaha working for Mark Jewell Speaking & Training and Nerve Health and Fitness.

Note: Please work with your physician or other qualified health professional when addressing your unique fitness, nutritional and health needs. Have questions? Check out the fine print here. 

Photo by John Arano on Unsplash

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