Milford Personal Trainer: How to restart your fitness journey when you’ve been pulled off track

It’s a myth that people won’t fall off when it comes to their fitness goals. 

There’s a lot of reasons why people fall off, and falling off is all a part of your journey. The reality is at some point life is going to happen — be it a career change, extra stress, the death of a loved one, or even a global pandemic– and if your habits aren’t locked in well enough to hold tight during life’s ups and downs then it’s inevitable to fall off.

If you’re reading this you’ve probably tried multiple programs and things in the past and failed at them because life happened. Nothings more frustrating than when you’re finally at that point where you’re ready to make a change and lose the weight than having to restart. There’s something almost overwhelming when it comes to restarting your fitness journey, and it truly can be challenging if you don’t have a few things in place.

One thing that makes the restarting journey easier is knowing what to expect. Well, to put it simply: the first day is the hardest. Often, we spend a lot of time thinking about doing something and building it up in our head as this giant monster to slay that we never end up actually taking the first step.  When it comes to restarting your fitness journey, most people actually go through a few predictable transitions. We always tell our clients that the first 30 days is the most challenging, but let’s break it down into segments: 

Days 1-10: It’s unbearable. You don’t want to eat well, or exercise. You dread it. You think ‘I’m never going to be able to keep this up.’

Days 11-20: It becomes bearable. You start to think ‘oh, this isn’t that bad…I actually feel GOOD after working out or cooking a good meal.’

Days 21-30: The winner’s zone. You see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you can do something for 30 days, you can do it until you reach your goal.

Now that we’ve got expectations set, let’s talk about mindset. As people restart a fitness journey they usually look in the wrong direction: they compare themselves to a former self that represents where they want to be. The issue with that is that they often look back at where they used to be without acknowledging where they currently are. That point in time you’ve been comparing yourself to is irrelevant to where you currently are. This creates a high level of defeat because you are always going after what doesn’t exist anymore. Who you are today is a compilation of everything you’ve experienced, you have to appreciate everything you’ve gone through and understand that you have the ability to develop the habits necessary to reach your goals. 

There’s a reason our windshield is bigger than rear view mirror. If we don’t address who we are right now and are only focused on who we used to be, we will never become who we can be. The person you can be is a person who used to be something, who is overcoming who you are now in order to get to where you want to be. 

If we keep this mindset looking in the present and then to the future (instead of to the past) we can establish a clear vision on the necessary steps it will take to get us to our goal. Once you’ve got your expectations and mindset right, it’s time to focus on some strategies to help you when it comes to restarting your fitness journey.

1. Establish a routine- Willpower is the worst way to try to reach your goals. What you need is a predictable routine that takes the choice out of when you don’t feel like working out or eating for your goals. Routines keep us grounded and guided toward our outcomes, instead of unfocused and wishy-washy when it comes to consistency. Routines are the building blocks to a consistent habit that will ultimately get you to where you want to be.

2. Use mental contrasting- Mental contrasting is a coaching technique that looks at where you are now and where you want to be, and accounts for the gap between the two. Focusing on the gap allows you to understand the challenges that will occur during your journey and gives you steps to get there. That gap is uncomfortable to look at and can often feel scary and discouraging, but it gives you a baseline to use when it comes to the skills you need to develop to become the best version of yourself. Mental contrasting can also serve as motivation: if your current state isn’t painful enough, you won’t make the change necessary to reach your goals. Focusing on the gap causes you to feel where you currently are, and gain some motivation to take that first step.

3. Start small- Start with one thing, one change in your habits, you want to focus on. Building that foundation is essential in ensuring that once you reach your goal, you actually stay there sustainably. Once you master that one small thing, then you can add another small thing, and before you know it you will have a whole book of habits that will get you toward your goal. One thing we’ve learned is that if you try to overhaul everything at once it can be overwhelming and cause you to get off track. 

4. Get an accountability partner- Where people often go wrong is choosing their spouse as an accountability partner. Usually it’s the first person you think of, but it can often cause conflict in the marriage which is no fun. When it comes to picking an accountability partner, don’t use someone who is struggling with the same things you are. Choose someone who has the knowledge and disciplines put in place so that you will feel obligated to follow them, but also so they can check you. Make sure you establish a baseline where your goals are clear and that you give them permission to hold you accountable. 

5. Figure out what motivates you: Are you positively or negatively motivated? If you’re positively motivated, setting a celebration of sorts when you reach a goal can motivate you. If you’re negatively motivated, you have to pick something different. One thing we’ve heard of is someone writing a check that they would hate to send to an organization they didn’t support. They gave the check to their accountability partner and told them to send it no matter what if they didn’t hit their goal by the due date. You best believe he hit that goal! Understanding what motivates you is essential to restarting your fitness journey!

We hope this helps with you restarting your journey, and if you do need someone to help you restart and to be that accountability partner, give us a call at 302-689-3489!




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