Since we’re in the middle of the holiday frenzy, and about to head into New Year's resolution time, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to talk about some things that can prevent us from achieving fitness and health goals. The good news is that awareness can help us to realize that these obstacles are occurring, and take the steps and mental shifts to easily remedy them.

Here are some of the things I’ve experienced myself, and commonly see in new training clients.

The “all or nothing mentality.” This is significant personal one that I had to overcome. When I first got started in the fitness world, it was easy to get caught up striving for “perfection.” Once I did slip, it was a quick slide off the wagon and all that was left was a smashed, empty box of Oreos (ok, and me, rummaging around for dental floss). The first thing that really helped me was to ditch the “forbidden foods” and let myself enjoy everything I wanted in moderation. Now I focus on whole, unprocessed foods for the most part, with the good stuff sprinkled in for fun and when I’m craving it. When you allow yourself to enjoy the foods you’re craving, they seem less intriguing and it’s easier to enjoy them in moderation. The same thing goes for fitness. If you skip a few days at the gym, it’s easy to think “oh, I screwed up” and let that turn into weeks missed from the gym. Focus on TODAY. Don’t let what happened yesterday or last week affect your health and fitness decisions today. Remember that so much of life is happily lived in the happy grey area.

Doing too much at once. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by setting too many goals at once. Instead, focus on one solid goal for each week and build on from there. Some example weekly goals:

-I’m going to do cardio 3 times this week

-I’m going to avoid refined flours and sugars

-I’m going to drink water instead of soda

-I’m going go for grilled, baked, and roasted foods instead of fried

-I’m going to strength train two days this week

Not having a plan. It’s so much easier to achieve results when you have a set plan in place. Even if you need to make changes and adjust, you’ll have a goal and action steps towards that goal for the week. Take a little time each week (I like doing this on Sundays) to write out a fitness schedule and meal plan for the week. Make or prepare anything you can in advance. For example, I’ll like to wash and chop veggies for salads and stir fries, make a couple of snack options, and grill protein for the week.

Inconsistency. Since small steps add up over time, strive to be consistent with your fitness and healthy eating (with little dips here and there). I like to envision a grand scheme of things approach and maintain the confidence that every little bit will help me inch closer to my goals. Even if you just do a small amount each day (like a short walk around the block when you get home from work), your efforts will magnify over time.

Going at it alone. Find a support group to help you along the way! There are fantastic local and online resources, and when you enlist the help of a buddy, you’ll be even more likely to achieve your goals. I would love to have you stop by the blog any time, too!


Gina Harney is the award-winning creator of the healthy living, diet, and fitness blog,, which receives more than 1.1 million page views per month and has been featured as a top blog in Fitness and Shape. She is an AFAA certified fitness instructor, NASM certified personal trainer and weight-loss specialist, yoga enthusiast, military wife, and new mom. Harney graduated from the prestigious 105degrees Academy as a Level One Raw Foods Chef with a strong passion for developing delicious and nutrient-dense meals. As part of Sage Dance Fitness, she released her first full-length DVD, Soli Beat. She lives in San Diego, California.