by Will Grumke June 01, 2022 8 min read
For many of us, whether it be a fitness journey or a new job, Day 1 goes amazing.
Day 2, 3, 4 and so forth continue to be good, but eventually things get hard...
We are faced with challenges...
We lose that excitement.
What was once new and exciting is now inconvenient...
"Not worth it"...
Maybe even dull and boring.
We had all of these goals and ambitions that we wanted to accomplish. Then like a candle, they burn out.
That's when most people give up and make the decision to stop pushing forward towards their goals.
And to dial this in even more … it typically happens 1 to 3 weeks into “going after a goal” … “dieting” … or whatever changes we’ve made in our life to reach our goals.
Look, I have been there before and speaking from experience, quitting is usually not the right answer.
You lose something … some belief in yourself … some confidence … discipline … when you don’t follow through on the promises you made to yourself.
So, I want to help you by covering some common reasons why people quit, how to work around these things, and why you shouldn’t quit.
The more complicated the plan, the easier it is to quit when things get tough.
So ... if things seem too complicated, or you are stressed about how to make it all work ... breathe and get back to the basics.
When it comes to fitness and weight loss, it always comes back to two basic principles:
1. What are you eating and drinking?
2. How are you exercising and moving your body?
Don’t over-complicate this process by feeling like the only way to succeed is through a complex meal plan or complicated workouts.
There’s nothing wrong with following advanced training protocols … or a more specific and detailed nutrition and supplement routine. But you need to be sure that you have the basics in place first and foremost.
You’re likely setting yourself up for failure if you are trying to build consistency in a system that is difficult to implement.
If you don’t have a proven history of following a nutrition plan and consistent exercise, then the most beneficial thing you can do is to build a foundation on the baseline principles of focusing on eating the right number of calories, get enough protein in to support your goals, drink 100 oz or more of water a day, and move your body.
Do those basics and stay consistent with your efforts, and I am very confident you will see results!
Over time, you can tweak your meal planning and workout intensity as needed.
But consistency has to come first—it is the key to long-term success, because it builds systems and habits that can last a lifetime.
The thought of waking up early to hit that workout can seem rather daunting. Let’s be real, who doesn’t love that extra hour of sleep?
However, after a long day at work, hitting the gym doesn’t seem too appealing either. With the possibility of being physically or mentally exhausted, with a million other things on our to-do lists to accomplish.
The gym can easily be pushed aside and turned into an aspiration for tomorrow.
We only have so many hours in the day, between work, family, and personal time. I know it can be easy to run out of hours in the day, but using lack of time or a busy schedule as an excuse to quit or give up is exactly that, an excuse.
WE are the makers of our destiny, it’s up to us to determine how we spend our time. If your mindset is that there’s no time for exercise, well, of course there won’t be.
So remember ... YOU are in control of your life, not the other way around.
Don’t quit on your goals just because you feel you don’t have time. You do.
We all do.
Many people quit because they didn’t set good goals to begin with.
Wanting to lose weight is not a good goal. How often do you hear someone say that their goal is to lose weight or get a six-pack this year?
While these are good aspirations, and potentially even wishes, they aren’t measurable. A good goal is something that is specific and measurable. "I am going to lose 15 pounds in 8 weeks."
Not only do you need to have specifics that help you know when the goal has been met, but you also need to know your starting point.
Then, track the actions that are being taken every step of the way to get you from Point A to Point B.
Tracking data can be empowering because it gives you real-time feedback to see what is working. The data will tell you if you are doing the right things.
If the numbers aren’t lining up to match your overall plan, then it doesn’t mean that you are a failure.
Instead, it is a cue that you need to make a few changes.
Measuring your progress can be done in a variety of ways. I would recommend using multiple ways to measure your progress.
One thing that many people fall victim to, is JUST tracking their progress by the scale.
Trust me, I know personally, that’s a recipe for disaster. Too many variables influence your weight on a day to day basis ... even at an hour to hour level.
If you choose to track by the scale, weigh yourself once a week. Then support that measurement with photos, body metrics, habits, etc.
You can count macros, track workout sessions, or write down everything you eat each day.
The easiest solution to simplify your fitness tracking is to choose the right app, with features that keep you on track through notifications and accountability.
The thought that you will be perfect can quickly lead to quitting, because of the perception that you failed the first time you have a challenge in your journey.
So, understand that you won't be perfect, it won't be easy, you will have setbacks, and it won't happen overnight. Essentially, the line to your goals won’t be straight. This is true for ALL of us.
The sooner you accept this and learn to deal with it, the better.
Your diet or nutrition plan will not always be clean or perfect.
The workouts that you will be doing will not always be super fun or amazing.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Understand it is all part of the journey and keep moving! If you do have a setback, accept it and move on!
Your results may be prolonged and slower than you want, which can cause us to lose motivation and purpose.
As humans we tend to want instant gratification, and it can be irritating when we don’t get that.
But staying on track, not quitting, and reaching our goals is going to come down to winning everyday, starting with one meal at a time, and one workout at a time.
Compounding these wins into the results and the progress that we are working for.
It is easier to justify to yourself why you CAN’T do something than it is to a close friend.
It is easier to make the excuses to ourselves as to why something doesn’t work out than it is to a family member.
This means that it's easier to quit when we've only made a promise or pact with ourselves, and thus have nobody else to disappoint.
When you are the only person who truly knows what promises you made, it’s easier to make up lies to the person looking back at you in the mirror. Lies that give you a break from keeping those promises and sticking to the tasks that will push you towards your goals.
So, while we should all be working to improve our lives, and our health, for ourselves … having an accountability partner is a great way to help make sure you don’t quit. Especially in the first few weeks!
Just like how a couple of good decisions can start to build positive momentum, the opposite is true. A couple of decisions that do not align with our goals can lead to falling off or quitting.
I have seen one decision cascade into people falling off in two ways:
1) They have a "bad" meal and they do not see a huge negative response, because let's be real, one bad meal does not undo all of your hard work.
But ... then the compromising starts to happen a little more often, then a little more often. Then a month of two down the road, you have gone backwards in your goals or fallen off completely.
2) One "bad" meal or day makes us think like this ... "Well, I already messed up, so today is a wash" or the INFAMOUS "It's Friday and I had some drinks, I will start again Monday" knowing that Monday may not be the next Monday, but months away from restarting.
I have fallen in both of these traps before. The key is to be as a consistent as possible by taking it one meal, one workout, and one day at a time.
If you slip up, no worries .. learn from it and get right back to the things that will allow you to be successful!
People quit simply because they aren’t willing to try something again or something new.
All too often, people complain about particular machine exercises or the monotonous nature of the treadmill … because those exercises can be quite boring. I get it.
But if you never take the time to try something new ... something different ... that is 100% on you for feeling stuck in the same boring routine.
There are almost countless ways to work out in today's world.
So while you might never love working out and take it on with a huge smile each and every workout ... if you dread your workout, or hate it, try something new.
You have to invest the effort and sometimes that is trying something out of your “norm."
Don’t allow yourself to burn out or quit due to the fact that you don’t enjoy your workouts.
You may be reading this and thinking “this is me.”
Believe me, I have been there too ... and no, I don’t know your specific situation, but I can understand your desire to get better … and also the challenges that you will face that make you want to quit.
And while this isn’t a complete list, these are all some of the major reasons why people quit. I’ve found this to be true in my own journey, in helping clients over the last 7 years, and as a company helping hundreds of thousands of people.
These common road blocks can be someone’s downfall … the reason they don’t follow through ... and the reason they continue the cycle of starting and stopping.
But they can also be the obstacles someone overcomes that makes reaching their goals even sweeter!
So, while they are common reasons people quit, these can all be worked around, and that’s why you shouldn’t quit.
YOU CAN DO THIS...
You can be the person who made the promise, followed through, and did the work. That person who changed their life and reached their goals.
And we are always here to help you … with anything you need.
Just don’t give up and don’t quit.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, NASM VCS Virtual Coaching Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer