Exercise and fitness are essential for maintaining good health and improving quality of life. Yet, despite awareness of these benefits, it is often difficult to maintain a regular exercise routine. In fact, according to statistics, only 20% of people who start an exercise program maintain it over the long term, while 80% give up along the way. But why do people give up on their goals?

Why is the initial enthusiasm followed by the sad realization of failure?

Why people give up on their goals: 4 reasons and solutions.

1- Life's hectic

Between work, family and leisure, it’s easy to run out of hours in the day. Using a lack of time or a busy schedule as an excuse is nothing more than an excuse. We are the architects of our own destiny. It’s up to us to determine how we spend our time. If you think there’s no time to exercise, you’re obviously not going to get any. That’s the major reason why people give up on their goals!

The solution:

Forget all potential excuses immediately. Think about how you spent the last week or month. How many times did you do something you didn’t want to do? How much time did you spend on activities you consider more important than fitness, such as spending time with your family or catching up with an old friend?

Analyzing the hours in your day is a great way to highlight your fitness opportunities.

For example, let’s say you have one hour a day for dinner. Reduce that hour to 20 or 30 minutes and use the other 30 minutes to go for a walk or do a short workout. The rest of your schedule will remain unchanged, and you’ll enjoy a mid-day adrenaline rush to get back to work.

If you want to exercise before you leave the house in the morning, while the kids are napping or late in the evening, consider purchasing home fitness resources. A simple dance DVD, yoga mat and YouTube videos or Peloton exercise bikes, which allow fitness enthusiasts to meet other Peloton riders in live or recorded instructor-led classes, should do the trick.

Why people give up on their goals

2-No responsibility or consequences for abandonment

A study conducted by Stanford University in 2010 aimed to determine the importance of social support – even in small doses – for people trying to develop new physical activity habits.

In this study, 218 people were divided into three groups: those who would receive a call from a Stanford health educator every three weeks for a year, those who would receive a similar call but from a computer asking human-like questions and, finally, those who would not receive a call to track their fitness progress.

At the end of 12 months, participants in the first group were exercising 178 minutes a week, more than the 150 minutes recommended by the government. Participants in the second group were also ahead of the pack, with 157 minutes per week. The third group, while maintaining their exercise habits, exercised 118 minutes a week.

It’s easier to give up when you’ve only made a pact with yourself and have no one else to disappoint.

The solution

If you find that you let yourself go too easily, it may be time to take on some private training sessions. When you pay a trainer, you owe them! Your coach is waiting for you at the gym for your workout! He’s waiting for you, you’ve paid….So you’re going to show up, whether you’re tired or not, whether he’s wet or not!

Accountability = consistency

Consistency = results

3- Unrealistic expectations / Starting too fast and too hard

If you make a commitment to exercise five times a week with little or no experience, you’re likely to fail.

The solution

Start small and work your way up. Instead of committing yourself to going to the gyn five times a week, start with twice. For the first few sessions, don’t stay too long.

The immediate goal is to leave while you still feel like doing more. That way, you can motivate yourself for your next visit and keep building the habit until you can’t wait for your next workout.

Even short-term fitness goals require comprehensive lifestyle changes, otherwise they’re pointless. While it can be helpful to have a specific goal behind your efforts, motivation should be linked to who you are and what you really want, not something you’re trying to avoid (for example, working out to avoid looking fat at the beach rather than working out to feel healthier as summer approaches and all the outdoor activities it entails).

4- Unpleasant workouts

All too often, people complain about working out on certain machines or the monotonous nature of the treadmill, and rightly so, these exercises can be pretty boring. But if you never take the time to ask yourself if you’d like to work out, you can’t really blame your lack of motivation on the type of workout you’re doing.

The solution

Listen to yourself and your desires. The treadmill (for many people) is not a good solution, so find an outdoor athletics track or play sports, such as basketball or swimming.

The body is a complex system and there isn’t just one way to train. Running, swimming, cycling, weightlifting, aerobics, dance, yoga and even walking can all have great effects over a period of time.

Find out what you like and adapt your workouts accordingly.

There’s no magic bullet to staying in shape, it’s all about understanding your excuses and preconceived obstacles to getting fit. Of course, if it were easy, everyone would be the fittest version of themselves, but the key to staying committed to your fitness goals is to find your weakness and find solutions!