For more than 10 years, I have worked with different clients with different goals and personalities, either in a one-on-one setting or in a group.
With my background in psychology, combined with research and experience in fitness and weight management, I have come up with the following success strategies that you can apply, depending on your personality, to help you achieve your exercise goals.
All or nothing
You might be an achiever, a well-organized person, and can really focus well. You may be open to explore other exercise or diet options as long as you can manage to control the situation.
However, when things are not working that way you expected, you get easily discouraged, and you have the tendency to abandon what you have started. You want everything to be perfect and all-or-nothing thinking—either you complete the whole program while following the perfect diet, or you just quit the whole thing.
Your goal should not be about perfectionism, but about achieving moderation in exercise, diet and your overall lifestyle.
When failure comes your way, learn how to forgive yourself and move on. No one is perfect. It is absolutely fine to be organized and focused, but make extra effort to learn how not to get easily affected by problems.
When you write a lifestyle journal, do not focus too much on numbers, but more on how you feel and how you have improved in terms of achieving a balanced lifestyle.
You want quick results, so you will do whatever it takes to drop the pounds as quickly as possible. You get easily discouraged when things get slower and might quit the exercise or weight-loss program.
Think forward. Focus on the consequences of quick-fix strategies, like quick weight regain, mood disturbances and injuries to discourage you from embracing unsafe and short-term programs.
You love challenges, but you choose your battles—where you can excel and feel good about yourself. Your primary motivation to exercise might be proving to others that you can do better than them; you can lose weight or run faster. So whenever there are in weight-loss competitions or road races, you grab the opportunity, and prepare well for it. However, when there’s no competition, you get relaxed and unmotivated.
Consider competition an extra bonus to get yourself moving, but it should not be your focus. Modify your thinking; this time is all about competing against yourself and no one else.
Learn to focus your energy and attention on your own unique strengths and capabilities, and stop comparing yourself with others.
You can purchase a personal training package or a one-year gym membership because you get easily excited to reach your exercise goals (like losing 10 pounds for a beach wedding), without really thinking much about the current situation.
You don’t even think about the expenses or your schedule, because you are in the mode of getting everything started. But when some unexpected, unfavorable things happen, you might get easily affected and may just abandon your program.
If you are impulsive, then your goals should focus more on learning how to prioritize things.
Take time to evaluate your current condition, goals, lifestyle and finances, and then devise a plan so you can assess if your decision is what you really need right now.
Do not set unrealistic plans for yourself, like working out 10 hours a week, just because you are overflowing with excitement. Start with doable exercise plans for the next six months, gradually progressing.
You might not make extra effort to take it to the next level, and usually depend on follow-ups before you get encouraged to exert extra sweat. If you do not actively watch your progress, you might take a longer time achieving your goals.
Focus more on self-responsibility. Do not always rely on your trainer’s reminders for you to get moving.
You can always exercise with other people to get more encouragement and support, but learn how to do everything on your own.
Monitor your progress and give yourself non-food rewards for your accomplishments.