The Top 2 Reasons Your Health + Fitness Goals Fail and How to Fix Them

Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Health and fitness goals abound at the start of the year, and then again when spring and/or summer start to show their sunny faces. And with good reason: it's the start of a new year (especially after 2020... sheesh) and a perfect time to hit 'reset'.

The problem is that a whopping 92% of people never achieve those goals. Is it because the goals are too difficult, too challenging? Did 92% of people run into constraints they couldn't break free of? Or is it a matter of human behavior and beliefs that must be addressed from the start--like before you even think of setting goals?

It's definitely the latter. And here are the top 2 reasons that 92% can't seem to make movement on the goals they've set for themselves every year.

Reason #1 that Health and Fitness Goals Fail: You're Not Assessing Your Past Before Planning Your Future

I know this sounds very 'Yoda', but when you rely on building a future around beliefs and baggage from your past, you're not able to break through the things that stop you in your tracks when trying to achieve your goals.

Think about the reasons that you've quit or just let your goals fall to the wayside in the past. Either you've come across an obstacle that you feel you simply can't get around, or you've been confronted by a fear rooted in past beliefs.

Both of these are very dangerous things because fear and hopelessness can easily outweigh hope.

The way to get around this is to really assess your past in regards to health and fitness from your past.

Ask yourself some questions and get really deep and detailed into the answers to gain a better understanding of your beliefs and subsequent behaviors in sabotaging your health:

1. What did my parents teach me about healthy eating, being active, and a healthy body image (intentionally or unintentionally?)

2. How did that affect me as a teenager/young adult/now?

3. What fears did it instill in me?

4. Are there any other things that have contributed to this fear or belief? (Media, friends/family, a specific 'thing' that happened years ago)

5. Now list every reason why this belief or fear is completely ridiculous. (List them ALL!)

6. What SHOULD I believe instead, and what WILL I believe instead?

7. Now list a Plan A to get around it if that fear or obstacle arises again, then list a Plan B.

8. Post your new belief + Plan A and B where you can see it every day.

Reason #2 that Health and Fitness Goals Fail: You're Not Doing the Work to Reprogram Your Brain

It sounds a bit of a conspiratorial statement to say that our brains have been hijacked, but... seriously. They have. When you dive into human behavior and what causes action, it's very simple. Our brains simply can't contain the amount of information we encounter every day.

So to compensate, it creates 'programs' that run on auto-pilot. These programs are created by what's called the habit-reward system, or sometimes 'the habit loop'. The habit loop continues when it's found a reward it likes best.

In this day and age of convenience foods and media that sucks us in for hours unknowingly, it's become big money for companies to figure out how to do that best to hijack your brain. This applies, whether it's for foods they want you to continue to purchase and consume, or time they'd rather you spend scrolling their platform instead of getting in your daily movement.

Reprogramming the brain requires you to first decide you can and will do it. Then you have to hack the habit loop to reprogram your brain for your healthy goal.

Here are the steps to do that:

1. Identify the behavior or bad habit you want to change (ex: snacking on chips while cooking dinner)

2. Identify the trigger for that (ex: being hungry before dinner)

3. Identify the reward for doing the behavior (ex: it tastes good and is really crunchy, which I like)

4. Now figure out what healthy thing you can sub in for the bad behavior that will give you a reward BETTER than the initial reward (ex: snacking on carrots with ranch dip-- it tastes great and is also crunchy, and will give me yet another vegetable for the day)

It can be really difficult to address these two things when it comes to your goals because you've likely been set in your beliefs and ways with the same behavior for years. But using these two techniques can do work you've never delved into before to help you achieve goals that just weeks before seemed impossible.

{Photo source: SOCIAL.CUT via}

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My mission is to always find the magic middle where healthy + efficient merge. As a nutrition specialist and certified health coach with a master of science in nutrition, I firmly believe in nourishing the body, mind, and spirit with proper food, rest, movement, and stress management. My mission is to teach people how those CORE 4 things work together, how to do them on the daily, then put them on autopilot.

Montgomery, TX

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