The #1 Reason People Fail to Get Fit (And How to Finally Get the Results You Want)

Too often people focus on the specifics of a fitness program and do not realize that there are some fundamentals that are much more important. 

Things like consistency, enjoyment, and sustainability are far more important than how many days per week you should work out or which diet you should try.

And so, if you really want to get at the root cause of why so many people fail to get fit, we have to look at one of the fundamentals of success in fitness: Expectations!

Your expectations will set you up for success or failure before you even start a program. To better understand how this works, let’s look at the difference between what I call the Failure Loop vs. the Success Loop.

Which Loop are You On?

If you have tried to “get fit” before but have struggled to stick with it, you have probably experienced some version the Failure Loop: 

As you can see, the Failure Loop actually starts with “excitement”. This is where you get yourself revved up to tackle your fitness once and for all!

Unfortunately, this often leads to overcommitting to your plan and then becoming overwhelmed when you start to fall off track. It’s the “all or nothing” mentality. 

Once you fall off track, then you go through a combination of self-shaming (beating yourself up for not sticking to it) and blame (feeling angry at the world/others for getting in the way).

Inevitably, you rationalize your current situation and move to a place of tolerance. Thinking about how things “could be worse” and “at least I’m not like _______”.

The problem with the Failure Loop is that it robs you of actually creating the life you want. You do care about your health and fitness – you just need a better approach.

How to Get On the Success Loop

If you are sick of being stuck in the Failure Loop, it’s time to learn how to change course and start utilizing the power of the Success Loop. 

As you can see in the Success Loop, the first two stages are the same. We all get excited and excitement is a good thing! But we also inevitably hit a wall and get overwhelmed. Work, children, parents, life. Things happen.

But this is where the difference between success and failure happens. And this is where your expectations can either hurt you or help you.

If you expect that you will hit a wall, that things will come up that force you to adjust your approach, then you will be able to take a step back and gain perspective on the situation.

That is what the “awareness” stage is about. When things feel overwhelming, step back and recognize what is going on. That you are hitting a very natural and normal stage in the Success Loop.

However, if you had expected to get results faster, or that things were going to “be better” this time, then you end up turning inward and see this as another example of why you cannot succeed (self-shame). 

But fear not! We all set unrealistic goals and are terrible at creating realistic expectations. The point is less about how to better set expectations, but rather, being good at adjusting expectations as you go.

This is exactly what the “release” stage is about. It’s about letting go of your previous expectations and creating new ones. It’s not about giving up on your goals, but rather, adjusting your behaviors to match your capacity in the current moment.

By letting go of unrealistic expectations, it frees you to focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can’t do. This takes us to the “action” stage.

Success is a moving target, so it is critical to know that there will be things that come up that make it hard to stick with your current plan.

The key is to adapt and keep moving forward.

The Power of a Coach


This may be the greatest reason to get a have someone there to: 

1. Bring awareness to when you are heading into the “overwhelm” stage.

2. Help provide options for what you can do regardless of your life situation.

3. Support you and keep you accountable to yourself and your health.

You know how important your health is, but are you really making it a priority? If not, I want to challenge you to consider what will happen if you do NOT take action now.

We all would like to think that we will have more time, money, and motivation later, but the truth is, if you wait too long to focus on your health and fitness, it can be a real uphill battle.

So don’t wait. Start making your health a priority today. And if you need the help of a coach as you work through the challenges that are bound to arrive, we are here to step in!

Let's Review...

Most people are stuck on the Failure Loop for two reasons:

1. They set unrealistic expectations.

2. They don’t adjust those expectations (and their actions) when obstacles arise.

To break free of the Failure Loop, you must first gain awareness of when you are in the “overwhelm” stage, and then work to let go of the expectations that are holding you back, and refocus on the actions that you can take now.

This will lead to more excitement, and help you keep moving toward your goals.

This process, while straight forward, is not always easy. That is why a coach is so important. Just as you would hire a financial advisor to help keep you on track and set the right expectations for your finances, a fitness coach will help keep you on track to hit your health goals.

Mint Condition Fitness is the leading personal training studio in Los Gatos for purpose-driven men and women to lose weight, get out of pain, and do more of the things that make life meaningful.