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3 Psychological Reasons Why you Are Not Reaching Your Goals!

20th Commonwealth Games - Day 3: Weightlifting

Do you have a sense of passion, purpose and meaning when you come into the gym?  That is a question that seems obvious, but do we do it? Before you even start training, do you have goals, a plan, and know how you are going to execute it?  If not, you need to figure that out.  If you do not have a purpose or a goal, then you are going to have trouble obtaining your ultimate goal. Too many times I ask people “what are your goals”.  Most people say that they want to lose weight and tone up.  Then I ask “ok how much weight and what is your definition of tone up”? Most of the time they give me a blank stare.  That is ok, that is why a personal trainer is there to help you figure out your goals, create a plan and execute it!  Goals do not always have to be weight loss or body fat loss.  These goals can be activity related, helping you return to a specific activity or sport.

Having success is knowing what you want!  A study on the psychological benefits showed that people who are certain about what they want to achieve are six times more likely to be successful in making life changes than those who are not sure (Heatherton 1994). The meaning of this study is that if you are someone who has a goal and has a plan, you will have a much greater chance of succeeding compared to someone who does not know what they want.

Here are 3 psychological reasons why you are not reaching their goals:

3 Psychological Reasons Why you Are Not Reaching Your Goals!

1. Mental

Have you tried every weight loss diet and/or workout program that a celebrity has done?  Did you put your 100% effort in while doing this?  I will be the first to admit that in the past I did not! I would try this crazy program that was hardcore dieting and it involved way too much exercising at one time.  

The problems that I see people struggle with is that they go too hard too fast.  Starting too fast  knocks us off the wagon really fast.  Instead of doing this crash diet, why don’t we take baby steps to create good healthy habits?  What has worked best for myself and for others is writing down what you eat.  When you write down the things you are eating, you will notice the bad choices of food that you may not realize if you did not.  

When we look at these crazy hard workouts in the magazines that these super fit people, do you really think they started out working out to this program?  No, they started out slow and worked their way up to it.  Half of the time, these magazine workouts aren’t even done by the celebrity endorser!  Find a program or having a personal trainer create a foundational program that gradually progresses and individualizes towards your needs.

2. Not willing to stick to a plan and not progressing

If you are like how I used to be, being patient about the results was frustrating.  In today’s society, we are all about quick results.  Unfortunately, our bodies do not always work as fast as we want them.  Sure, some people can get results really fast because of their genetics. Not fair, right?  Most of us have to bust our butts to get the results that we want.  A problem that I had was finding this great program, doing if for a week or so and then changing it to something different.  Your body needs time to adapt to a program.  Give the [program a month and then progress those same exercises into more challenging exercises.  Have you ever been to the gym and seen the same people doing the same exercises for years and they look the same.  If you have more specific goals such as increasing your lean body mass,  your program can consist of higher sets, reps and intensities to place force and tension on the muscles.  This will help them increase in size. We never want our bodies to get used to something, mix-up your program along with a solid nutrition plan, and changes will happen!

3. Procrastination

This is a problem that most of us have had in our lives and in the weight room.  We need to realize that if you want the results, you need to put in the work.  There is nothing more satisfying than putting in all this hard work and seeing the fruits of your labor.  If you are not going to be 100% committed to the plan, do not be disappointed if it takes a while to see results.  When things do not go our way, that is way procrastination happens.  I used to procrastinate all the time when it came to working out.  People who know me well think I have always loved to workout.  Up until my senior year of high school, I used to hate to workout!  I would try to find every excuse known to man to try to skip working out.  It is going to be challenging, it is going to test your willpower and may even drive you crazy. If you stick to the plan and be committed to your fitness, great things can happen!


Before you even think about starting a program, sit down and create long and short-term goals.  Try to avoid saying you want to tone up and lose weight.  How much weight and how much body fat do you want to lose?  Create a program or sit with a trainer and create a plan and how you are going to execute it.  At COR, we have a wall dedicated to working out.  Each person can create a goal card that involves goals that are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time based.  The purpose behind this is to create long term or short term goals that the person can come into the gym, look at the goal and be motivated into achieving that goal. Work hard and be committed and you will not be disappointed!



  1. Heatherton TF, Nichols PA. Personal accounts of successful versus failed attempts at life change.  Pers Soc Psychol Bull 1994;20:664-675.

Written by Chris Barber, CPT