Life is busy, work is exhausting, equipment is expensive. I’ll do it later, when I have more money, more time and more space. It’s too cold, too hot, too far, too crowded. I’m not coordinated, fast or strong enough. My gym shirt is dirty, my elbow hurts, my playlist isn’t ready. I don’t know where to start. I did start, but the new season of Stranger Things came out and I need to watch that immediately.
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? If they do, you’re not the only one. We all have these thoughts, whether it is about exercise or other goals we want to achieve. Even when we want something very deeply, our brains have a way of creating road blocks that stop us in our tracks. Obstacles are a valid part of a fitness journey, and I want to share some ideas on how we can overcome them.
IDENTIFY THE OBSTACLES
First, we must identify what our obstacles are. I highly recommend sitting down with a piece of paper and writing down what is in the way of you reaching your goals. Take your time and list each factor on its own line. Obstacles come in many forms including scheduling, financial, safety, equipment access and internal factors, such as confidence, motivation or knowledge. No matter how small, write down every obstacle you can think of that applies to you. If I wanted to start playing tennis, obstacles I would encounter are accessing a tennis court, learning the rules, finding someone to play with, and feeling uncoordinated and awkward.
Let’s take a look over that list. If you’ve been honest with yourself you likely have multiple points. Do not fret, this is part of the process! Choose one item on the list, and see if you can come up with solutions to over come this obstacle. For example, to learn the rules of tennis I could take a lesson, watch some YouTube videos or ask my friend that plays to teach me. When I stop and think about it, it should only take me a short amount of time and effort to learn the rules of the game, and this is not such a big obstacle anymore.
Now look at the next item on your list, is there a reasonable solution for that? See how many obstacles you can find actionable solutions to. You may be surprised at how many things that were stopping you from reaching your goal have simple solutions.
You are now armed with your list of solutions. Choose an actionable item and…take action! Tennis YouTube videos, here I come! This can take some time, but use your list to check off your tasks and watch as that mountain of obstacles becomes a speed bump. Now that I know the rules of tennis, I feel more confident asking a friend to go play at the community court.
CHANGE THE NARRATIVE
Everyone encounters some form of obstacle on their journey towards a goal. Some of the obstacles have to do with starting to work toward what we want, while others crop up once the process has begun. By taking the time to identify obstacles, brainstorm solutions and take action we can change our perspective, take control and continue to work towards our goals.
How have you overcome exercise obstacles?
Simply leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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