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Getting Fit: Dealing With Setbacks, Doubt, and Criticism

Somewhere along your path to being a fit person you will experience setbacks that will slow you down and keep you from reaching goals as quickly as you would like. You will deal with doubt, both from yourself and from those whose support you value. Also, you may experience direct criticism from people you admire, respect, and even love.

What do you do when you are confronted with any or all of these things?

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Dealing With Physical and Mental Barriers

All of us at one time or another are presented with a setback on our path to fitness. A look at some of the things that can set us back include:

  • A pulled muscle
  • A broken bone
  • An illness
  • Pregnancy
  • A busy work schedule
  • Friend or family issues

Broken bones, pulled muscles, and illness don’t have to sideline you entirely. Many people will use these instances not to work out at all. Usually there is something you can do to work out around your condition. For instance if you have a pulled muscle in your left arm, you could still do curls with your right arm. Be smart, work around your injury, and don’t let it become an excuse not to work on your fitness. A healthy diet, regular exercise, sleep and social support can relieve or manage the symptoms of illness or injury and help improve recovery.

Don’t let pregnancy become an excuse not to take care of your body. Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as back aches and fatigue.

Don’t let a heavy workload be an excuse to keep you from working out. I get it, you’re busy, but so is everyone! In fact, making time to stay physically active will lead to increased energy and less stress, which will allow you to be more productive at work!

Also, there are times in life when other matters are just more important than fitness. Perhaps a friend or family member really needs your help with something, or you’re struggling with a major problem or issue in your life. Sometimes you might feel like life is spiraling out of control. One of the best ways to grasp the wheel firmly and steer back on track is to exercise. No matter how many things you feel are out of your control, the change that you can affect happens one decision at a time!

Dealing With Doubt

Everyone, at some point in life, has doubts about who they are, where they are going, and what they are capable of.

I remember that at one point in my life, when I was finishing college, I was in poor physical condition from not eating very well. My diet consisted of microwave dinners and pizza. I didn’t have much money, so I tried to eat as little as possible, I drank a lot of alcohol, and I was going through an unpleasant break up. I felt bad, and when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see the person I expected to see looking back at me. Instead, what I saw was a malnourished, self-doubting person with no clear plan to get back on track.

I knew I needed some major change, but when you’re stuck in a rut, climbing out can seem unbearable. Thoughts about giving up entirely or just accepting a lessor version of myself entered my mind.

Thankfully, I started working out and getting my fitness on track. I felt that this was one aspect of myself that I had real control over, and I was determined to do something about it. One day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time, my fitness improved. I became happier with the person I saw in the mirror. He reflected the image of self that I wanted to see and not the scrawny, hungry, and hungover individual I used to see.

My self-confidence increased. My professional life improved. I developed goals, plans, and hobbies that satisfied and fulfilled me. I spent the time and the effort to make myself the best version of me that I could be, and then I met the best possible partner for me. Needless to say, I feel fantastic these days, enjoy who I am, who I’m with, and where I’m going.

How does my story relate to you?

I know that we’re all dealing with things in life in different ways. My point in telling you this is that despite whatever is going on in your life that is preventing you from being the best you that you can be, just know that if you don’t give up on yourself, then others won’t either! Know that climbing out of a rut in life is not easy, and for some it’s more difficult than for others, but don’t doubt your ability to change. Stick with it, and do your best every day to be the very best you. Be honest, be kind, focus on the changes you can affect and one day YOU WILL look around and see yourself in a better place!

Dealing With Criticism

Sometimes when we decide to make healthy changes in our lives we receive criticism and hostility from those we love and whose support we wish for. You may be derided for making healthy food choices, you may be intentionally and disrespectfully tempted to forgo your diet and nutritional needs, and you may be encouraged to break your promises to yourself.

This is unfortunate and is something that most of us have experienced when we have made the decision to be healthier people. I think that often other people are dissatisfied with their own lives and project the negativity that they feel toward you and your decisions.

It’s only natural for you to feel hurt and angry for the lack of support. Your first reaction may be to lash out at these people or remove them from your life altogether. Keep in mind that the best way for you to deal with other people in these instances is to do it by example.

5 Ways to Deal With Criticism

  • Look at those who criticize or tease you for your choices, and firmly inform them that you know what’s best for your body and ask them to respect your decision. Seriously here, anyone will think twice about tempting you again when you address them forcibly, but respectfully.
  • Don’t apologize ever for making healthy choices! Don’t be arrogant or preach to others if they criticize you, but DO BE FIRM when you tell them that you don’t eat those things. BE HELPFUL if they show interest and provide useful information. If you can inspire those around you to make healthier choices, it will make it easier on you to fight your own temptations.
  • You encourage criticism when you are not consistent. However, if you consistently refuse, then you will discover that as time passes, your friends and coworkers will eventually get it. Be prepared for the situation. When you are not prepared you are vulnerable. If coworkers bring cake and cookies into the office and you don’t want to partake – but you didn’t bring your lunch or healthy snacks – then you will likely make a poor choice.
  • There is strength in numbers. You’ve heard that old saying “misery loves company”? Well, positivity, health, and enthusiasm love company too! Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and outlooks on life and you will have an easier time finding support, rejecting criticism, and being the you that you want to be.
  • Learn from it! Sometimes there are truth and lessons to be learned from others’ criticism. Consider if what they’re saying is true and then think about ways that you can address those criticisms to yourself and improve.

The bottom line. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Always work on ways to make yourself better! Visualize the person you want to be and work at it everyday!

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