Our intentions are always pure. We mean to train hard and eat healthy. But a mindset that’s either too aggressive or unrealistic can railroad your progress. Here are three of the most common mental mistakes I see, along with the best solution for each.

 

Mistake No. 1 - “The diet and exercise start Monday.”

Really? Why Monday? Why not today? One reason people put it off is to have one last hurrah with bad food and drink, which makes the transition only harder. For most, the new routine entails grueling cardio sessions and restrictive dieting that’s not in any way enjoyable. And if it’s not enjoyable, you’re not going to stick with it.

Solution: “My new lifestyle starts today.” Scale down the overblown commitments, and start with something simple. Instead of 45 minutes of cardio, just promise yourself 10 minutes of any light activity. This can be as simple as marching in place while watching TV. Your commitments will grow, but only once you’ve proved to yourself that you can stick to the smaller ones.

NEXT: Pursuing perfection is a good thing, right? >>

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Muscular Body

Mistake No. 2 - “I’m going to be perfect this time.”

This mindset simply breeds failure. When real life happens and things aren’t so perfect, people who think this way throw in the towel fast.

Solution: Set realistic expectations. We are all perfectly imperfect. We will fall on our faces hundreds of times throughout our lives. This doesn’t signal failure. If you fall off your diet or miss the gym, share the news with a friend who doesn’t judge—absolve yourself of the guilt and move on.

NEXT: Have you ever used this excuse? >>

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Gym Bag

Mistake No. 3 “I forgot my_____. I guess I just won’t train today.”

Whatever the answer, I’ve heard it a million times. It’s easy to rationalize not training because of a lack of sneakers or other gear, but it has a high cost.

Solution: Success doesn’t just happen. You have to plan for it, but it’s easy. Just pack a gym bag with the bare necessities. Keep it in your car or work bag. If you’re always armed, you’re always ready.