We are our own worst enemies…

While there are many obstacles on the road to fitness success, the biggest one is often the hardest to see. Sometimes we get so caught up chasing a goal that we miss the obvious.

The only person holding you back is you.

If you want to make big progress in the gym, with nutrition, or anywhere else, here are 3 things you need to stop doing right now:

1. Stop doing things that cause physical pain

Ever hear the phrase “no pain, no gain”? Sounds cool and tough, but it’s bad advice. Don’t take it literally!

Activities that push you outside your comfort zone are hard, there’s no doubt about that. But forcing your way through exercises and activities that cause physical pain or injury won’t bring you to your goals any faster. You’ll probably get hurt, have to take a break to recover, and lose lots of hard earned progress!

If an exercise or activity you enjoy causes pain, STOP.

What to do instead:

If your pain is caused by an injury, get yourself healthy. The great thing about resistance training is if one exercise hurts, there’s probably another version that doesn’t. Find exercises that don’t cause pain, and do those until you’re healthy again.

Once you’re healthy and ready to return to normal exercise, don’t try to pick up where you left off. Be patient and gradually work your way back to your previous fitness level to ensure that you don’t wind up injured again.

2. Stop expecting to “mess things up”

During a recent 30 day challenge, I asked a client how he was doing with his workouts and nutrition. His response was “I’m having a great week so far, but I know I’m going to mess up somewhere”.

I cut him off mid-sentence. I said he should leave it at “It’s been a great week”, focus on what’s going right, and keep doing that.

How can you expect to get anywhere if you spend all your time thinking about what will go wrong and when? This is like trying to walk forward with your arm tied to something behind you. It ain’t gonna happen!

While it may not always feel like it, you are in charge of your situation. You have the ability to move in whatever direction you want to go.

Don’t passively sit around waiting for things to go wrong and use that as justification that you can’t do something. Make things happen, and make them go the way you want! This takes time and you’ll make mistakes along the way, but that is normal. Keep trying, keep learning from your mistakes, and keep moving forward!

What to do instead:

Focus your time and energy on building the new habits that are going to bring what you want. Once  you find something that works or when things start to come together, find ways to keep that going.

Even with the best trainer and nutrition plan, you still have to make it work within your life and daily routine. Planning ahead is the best solution.  And while you can’t plan for everything, you’ll still have an idea of what to expect and what to watch out for.

Whether it is planning your day in advance, preparing meals to take to work, or leaving an extra set of clothes in the car, plan ahead to set yourself up for success and make it easier to keep moving in the right direction.

3. Most important, stop putting yourself down and telling yourself that you can’t!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years that I try to get every client to understand when they start, it is this:

You’re not supposed to be good at anything when you first start.

Mistakes come with the territory and it is supposed to be hard. This is normal with learning anything new, not just fitness.

But just because you’re not good at it now doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

Things won’t be hard forever. It gets easier, you’ll get better and make fewer mistakes, but only after you’ve tried and gain some experience.

Don’t put yourself down when you make mistakes, and don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. You absolutely can! Being overly negative in situations like this doesn’t do much good, so it is better to be objective and see the situation for what it is instead of what you want it to be.

You can do almost anything once you learn how and you’re able to see the situation for what it is. This involves learning and understanding the process, and then putting in the work to make it happen.

What to do instead:

Keep a positive outlook. Changing old habits is hard enough, so don’t make it harder by beating yourself up. Ask yourself what went right, what went wrong, and where you can do better.

Keep doing what you did right, learn from what went wrong, and do better tomorrow. Most important, learn to get out of your way so you can be successful!