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Overcoming the fear of failing in your health goals.

There’s no way around it—big goals entail big risks, and first among them is the risk of failure. 


For those of us who have struggled with our weight, the process of getting in shape often involves plenty of perceived failures along the way. And, if we’ve tried different methods and diets and haven’t gotten the results we wanted, we might be scared to try again. 


In order to overcome that fear, it’s important to understand what it really consists of. When it comes to your health journey, what does failure mean to you? Does it mean that you don’t lose the weight fast enough? That you “cheat” on your diet? That you gain weight back?


If this is your case, it might be time to re-define what failure is for you and how you react to it. 


Transforming our eating habits and bodies is a marathon not a sprint, one that requires discipline, but also patience with both the process and ourselves. If we beat ourselves up each time we fall short on our diet plans, or miss a workout, that journey can soon become torture. 


In fact, beating ourselves up for eating what we shouldn’t can set us in a vicious cycle of eating more because we feel badly, or even giving up on our goals altogether. But what happens when we take a different approach? Instead of beating ourselves up, we talk to ourselves like we would to a friend?


While some might think that a self-compassionate attitude would only lead to eating just bread and sugar, it turns out the opposite is true. Research shows that the nicer we are to ourselves—especially during the times we feel we’ve fallen short—the more likely we are to practice good self-care, which includes healthy eating habits. This approach is also more effective at keeping us from binging as a way of coping with our emotions. 


Being kind to ourselves also helps us set achievable goals and come up with smart strategies to reach them. In my own journey, I tried to make things as easy as possible for myself. For me, this meant making keto as simple as possible by focusing on the macro nutrients, paying attention to the strategies that worked, and replicating them over and over. I also meal prepped the night before, which made it easy to have the right food at hand when it was time to eat. 

And while I decided to join a gym myself, that might not be the wisest strategy for everyone. If you don’t have the time or willingness to join a gym, signing up for one might just lead you to beat yourself up for “failing” to go enough. 

The fact is that exercise doesn’t have to happen at the gym. DVDs, YouTube videos, at home workout equipment or apps can work. But it’s good to remember that everyone’s fitness routines—just like their eating habits—are subject to ups and downs. Be prepared to think big picture and, if you miss a day, take it as a natural part of the process. 

If you notice fear stopping you in your tracks, it’s time to pause and start noticing everything you’ve done right so far. After all, we don’t overcome fear of failure by dwelling on past mistakes, we do it by celebrating each and every one of our successes. 



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