3 REASONS you’re not Reaching your Fitness GoalS

What to do Instead

By Dr. Julia, Health Psychologist + Behavioral Medicine Specialist drjuliakogan.com

reaching your fitness goals

You’re a go-getter. You know how important fitness and health is to reaching your ultimate potential in your life, stepping into your best self. But, there’s something getting in the way of you reaching your goals. It’s not because you don’t want it, because you’re lazy, or because it’s not important. Quite the opposite in fact. So, what’s getting in the way then? 

Here are the top 3 reasons you’re not reaching your goals-and what to do instead so you can step into your best self:

Vague or Poorly Defined Goals

When goals are vague or poorly defined, it can be very difficult to achieve them. If you have not defined your goal in a tangible way, how do you know when you have accomplished it? Short answer-you don’t. And that’s, well, frustrating. Trying to accomplish vague or poorly defined goals is like climbing a mountain with no peak-you keep climbing and climbing, but you can’t get to the top, because there is no top. Exhausting, right? 

  • What to do instead: Watch out for vague goal words like “better, “more,” and “enough.” This might look like, “I want to start eating better.” “I should exercise more.” Replace vague expectation words with specifics. Think: how, what, when, etc.

  • Specific Goal: “I want to exercise more, so I’m going to take an additional class at Form50 on Wednesdays.” Specific and tangible. Now you can get after it.

Unrealistic Goals

You’re reading this because you know how important your health is, and you’re ready to get after your health goals. However, sometimes we can become overly ambitious and set goals that are unrealistic. What happens when we set goals that we can’t reach? We feel disappointed, discouraged, and blah. Not quite the winning formula for feeling accomplished. 

This might sound something like…”Every day, I am going to drink 8 glasses of water, exercise for 60 minutes, meditate, journal, cook a healthy meal, and start my day with a green smoothie.” We can all agree that sounds awesome, right? Awesome, but unrealistic. 


  • What do to instead: Be realistic and set yourself up for success by choosing goals that make you feel accomplished and successful. When we feel accomplished and good about reaching our goals, we continue to work towards them.  

  • Realistic goal: “I’m going to fill up my 64oz water bottle in the morning to make sure I get my water in daily. I’m also going to take class at form50 on Monday/Wednesday since I know I can reliably make those classes. Anything I do beyond that is a bonus.”  

Using Guilt and Negative Self-Talk as Motivation

Imagine a scenario in which you set the overly ambition goal mentioned above and have trouble accomplishing it consistently (I mean, who can really do all those things every day?)  

You then proceed to berate yourself with statements like “You’ll never reach your goals,” “You’re such a failure,” “You never accomplish anything.” Sound familiar? Although these statements are used to enhance *motivation,*, let’s be real-how do we really feel after berating ourselves? Yep, pretty low. And that doesn’t take us anywhere. 

Alternatively, guilt expectation phrases also take us in the opposite direction. Key words to look out for here include, should, must, need, etc. These statements might sound something like, “I really should exercise.” “I really need to start eating healthier.” Although these statements are used for *motivation* again, they actually do the opposite-make us feel guilty and disappointed in ourselves.  


  • What to instead: Start being a little nicer to yourself and focus on your motivation for doing these things. Put that frenemy voice away and talk to yourself like you would talk to your BFF. Focus on the *why* your goals are important to you.  

  • Motivating goal: My fitness is important to me because I know that when I’m consistent with my Form50 classes, I’m feeling strong, confident, I’m way less stressed, and I sleep like a baby. I’m going to make a plan to go to my favorite class every Monday at 5pm after work and pack my gym clothes in my work bag in the morning.  

That goal sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it. Why? Because it’s the opposite of the top mistakes mentioned above: Specific. Realistic. Motivating. 

Now you have the formula to be the Rockstar I know you are. Choose 1 goal for this upcoming week and get after it. 



Sign up for our Newsletter!