6 Ways to Stay on Track With Your Fitness Goals

Let’s face it. We’re all pretty busy these days and it seems like life can always find a way to disrupt the best laid fitness goals if we’re not careful. Staying on track can be a difficult task with everything that comes our way, but I’m going to lay out a few simple strategies that can make doing so much easier.

The things that derail us come at us fast and hard it seems.  Anything from travel, sickness, holidays, social events, lack of motivation, family emergencies, boredom, frustrating plateaus, and seemingly devastating injuries all have the potential to knock us off track if we let them. Some of the things on the list should be taken very seriously so I’m not advocating ignoring these events, but there are steps you can take to get back in the swing of things once the important stuff gets taken care of. These inconveniences only become excuses if you allow them to.

1. Remember Your “WHY”

You have goals, right? Examine those goals and remind yourself of why you set them. Is that “why” strong enough to keep your focus? Sometimes when it comes to health and fitness wanting it bad enough is half the battle.  Having that fire and desire makes putting in the difficult work much easier.  For some it takes a health scare or the realization that they can’t even play with their kids for five minutes without being exhausted to truly make that shift. Your “why” must be strong enough to make your health a priority and it must be strong enough keep it a priority when the going gets tough.

Once you have your “why” and your goals clearly defined post them somewhere you can see them periodically. On the bathroom mirror is a good spot, or the refrigerator door. Personally, I have notecards with my short term and long term goals that I review weekly. I also recite my “why” during my morning affirmations and have a sign posted on my front door that says, “Are you closer to your goals today?” It’s a daily reminder to keep progressing forward.

2. Get Social

Social support is becoming more and more useful in helping to keep you accountable.  Join a gym and workout with a group. They’ll be sure to let you know when you miss a workout. Diet with a buddy or spouse. With someone else watching your back it will be more difficult down that entire jar of ice cream. Kill two birds with one stone and sign up for a transformation challenge. You’d be surprised how a little monetary incentive can make things easier. I took 2nd place in a 50 day challenge and scored some free supplements last year. And I lost 15 pounds. Win-win!

If you can’t find these options where you live the internet is your friend.  There are a ton of online coaching communities, challenges, and Facebook groups that you can join. I am part of an online coaching group so while I workout alone in my garage I have to check in with the group at least weekly for that added accountability. Often times we’re posing up more frequent updates and motivating each other daily. Getting support from strangers takes a little getting used to but you’d be surprised at how many high quality, like minded people are out there with goals similar to your own.

3. Mix it up

Are you having motivation issues? Bored with your workouts? Or worse, stuck on a dreaded plateau? Changing up what you are doing for a workout can be helpful in this case. Are you married to the iron? Maybe it’s time to go for a run, take a hike, or play a little basketball. Just do something physical you don’t normally do. I’ve added running back into my weekly habits after a 5 month hiatus and it’s been fantastic (albeit a little painful) to hit the road again.

You can also mix up your lifting routine without abandoning your plan completely. I do this by adding in a variety of finishers at the end of my workouts. It adds just enough spice of variety while maintaining the benefits of following a well structured, periodized plan. Chaos is good in small amounts. Check out my Friday Funisher series for a bunch of finishers you can add in.

4. A little is better than nothing

One of the biggest excuses in the history of exercising and eating well has got to be, “I don’t have time.” I call a big, giant load of B.S. Yeah, you may not have time for a full fledged 30-60 minute workout, but you have time to do a set of 10 pushups. There, that’s better than grabbing another soda and continuing your binge watching of House of Cards on Netflix.

Being well doesn’t necessarily involve killing yourself in the gym for hours on end. Fit in some movement throughout the day in addition to what you normally do. There’s the classic, do pushups, burpees, or kettlebell swings during commercials (if you’re still living without DVR). Or the park your car further from the entrance to your office or the grocery store. Get up from you desk at work and do a loop around the office every half hour. My home office has a kettlebell, pullup bar, and some yoga tuneup balls for mobility work. Every 15 minutes I’m cranking out a short set of something in addition to the mandatory 5 pullup “fee” I pay every time I walk under the pullup bar.

5. Forget about it

So you skipped a workout (or week). Ate a meal off your diet (or three). Forget about it. Move on. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not worth the negativity that you’d surround yourself with. That can only spiral yourself deeper and cause more less than desirable behavior. It happens to all of us and one indiscretion will not impact long term results and goals if you slip back into good routines and habits.

It comes back to goals.  What are you striving for and what can you do today to bring yourself closer to those goals. It doesn’t matter if you spent the last day or decade gorging on wings and beer, you can’t go back and change that. You can only change the decisions you make in the present and in the future. Figure out what steps you can start taking today to improve your health and well being.

6. Take time to reflect

Now this may seem at odds with #5, but hear me out.  Being healthy and fit is not a destination, but too often we treat it like one. You don’t just one day arrive and say, “Okay, I made it,” and stop what you’re doing. It’s a lifelong process that requires work day in and day out. Sometimes you see the fruits of that labor quickly, other times it takes a lot longer to see any progress, and that perceived lack of progress can be frustrating. So frustrating that some people simply give up and claim it’s “too hard.”

So maybe you haven’t reached your goals yet, but instead of letting that frustration take over it can be beneficial to reflect back on where you started. Realize that you’ve put in a lot of hard work and you’ve made great strides in your overall health and fitness. You may not be at your “end” goal, but you’re a heck of a lot closer to it than you were just days, weeks, or months ago. Remember why you started this and who you were when you began the journey. It’s likely not a place you want to return to. Use the past to strengthen your resolve and commitment to improving your life.

Hopefully these tips are helpful if you are struggling to stay on track or have fallen off the wagon. I know I have to employ each and every one of them from time to time to stay focused and push forward, and even then it’s still difficult. Do you have any methods you employ to stay on track? If so, drop a comment below. I’d love to hear them.

Pullup Match Workout
RKC Training Log: Week 9

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