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Why 99% Of All People Give Up On Their Fitness Plans Before Reach Their Goals (And How You Can Beat The Odds!)

How many times have you started a fitness program … only to stop before you reached your goals?

Once? Twice? Three times? Yikes!

Even if it just happened to you once, it feels awful, right?

Nobody starts an exercise program and EXPECTS to fail! But according to study by a whopping 73% of people who set a fitness goal as a New Year’s resolution give up before they reach their goal (okay, not quite 99% like I used in the title, but I think you get the point).

“Nearly half of those who gave up before reaching their fitness resolution goal did so within six weeks or less.”

Why do people give up on their fitness goals so quickly?

The study talks about New Year’s resolutions. But I’m sure the numbers apply to people who start fitness programs at just about any time of year:

Winter – when people feel like doing something besides sitting around the house
Spring – when people start getting ready to show off their bodies at the beach
Summer – when its fun to workout outside
Fall – when the kids go back to school and you have more time

I don’t think people give up because their goals change. And I don’t think they give up because they are natural “quitters”, if there even is such a thing.

I think human nature wants us to succeed. But for many of us, something just gets in the way. Here are some statistics from the article:

new yea -resolutions numbers
       Infographic courtesy of

What makes it SOOOO hard for people to reach their fitness goals …
and causes them to give up?

I’m sure the reasons in the infographic above are all valid reasons. I don’t think anyone lied. They all make good sense, right? Sure. But I think there is more to it than that. I think the problem starts the day people set their goals.

Let me explain …

How did you feel on the day you set your most recent fitness goal? You probably felt pretty emotional right?

Like, on New Year’s day. Or maybe your birthday. Or on the day you stepped on the scale and don’t like the number that showed up. Or worse yet, on the day you looked in the mirror and didn’t like what you see!

Or maybe on the day you signed up for a race, maybe even your very first race.

I’m definitely NOT saying you shouldn’t set a fitness goal when the time is right.

It’s just that you need to set up a plan that works for you! Otherwise … there’s a good chance you’ll be one of the 73% who give up BEFORE you reach your goal!

After all, you can’t just buy your way to a goal. Aimee from has a great perspective, from an article named 4 Things To Keep In Mind When Trying To Reach Your Fitness Goals

“… remember that the journey of reaching any goal requires dedication and commitment. Unfortunately, you can’t just go out and buy them from a store. Imagine if dedication came in bottles and you could just pick some up on your next grocery run. Well, we’re not that advanced yet, so the only way is to find motivation within yourself.”

Got that right!

So, why are most fitness plans doomed to fail – and what can you do about it?

Here Are 5 obstacles that make it nearly Impossible To Stick With Your Fitness Plan (and what you can do to overcome them!)

 1) Your fitness plan doesn’t match your goals

Have you ever planned a trip? Let’s say you want to go to a tropical island for a vacation. The first thing you do is look at the cost of the trip. Then you plan on how to pay for it. If you don’t have enough money, you set up a savings plan, and make a projection for when you’ll have enough saved up. You’ll set a date for when you want to travel. Then you’ll book the trip.

That’s a lot of planning before you ever step on a plane or boat and head off to your destination!

How many people do this much planning when it comes to exercise? NOT MANY (that’s why 73% of people give up within 6 weeks!)

TIP #1: If you want your fitness plan to be successful, do the same type of planning as you would do for a big trip:

1) Write down what it is you want to accomplish (run your first 5k race, lose 20 pounds, gain 20 pounds of muscle, complete a marathon).

2) Then write down the steps you need to take to reach it. Be specific. And be realistic.

3) Then get started!

Now you’ll have a fighting chance to accomplish that goal!

2) You use someone else’s plan

There are a LOT of workout plans on the web. For every type of workout you can imagine. It’s easy to use someone else’s plan. But it’s always the right thing to do.

Also keep in mind the following fact – NOT EVERYONE WHO POSTS A WORKOUT PLAN ONLINE IS AN EXPERT! And even if they are … it doesn’t mean you have to do EXACTLY what they say.

Hey, if you find a plan that works for you without making any changes, great – go ahead and use it! But there’s no reason to stick with it, especially if doesn’t meet your needs.

TIP #2: Don’t be afraid to customize a popular workout plan for your own needs. Most of the plans you find online are good examples, but they are just that – examples. So don’t be afraid to take pieces of a few different plans – mix & match, add & subtract – and make one of your own!

3) You don’t make a firm commitment

Making a commitment to your end goal is easy. After all, who doesn’t want to lose 20 pounds, run a marathon, or get stronger?

But the key is making a commitment to the PROCESS of achieving your goal. And if that process isn’t “do-able” … well then you’ll never reach your goal.

How can you help yourself make this important commitment? Krista from  has a great idea in How to Start (and Keep) a Consistent Workout Schedule:

“Another way to make sure your workouts are ingrained in your schedule is to simply put them on the calendar—just as you would any other appointment.

So, for example, if you want to commit to working out three days a week, choose the days—let’s say Monday, Wednesday and Friday—and put them in your calendar or phone for a scheduled time. Treat them just as you would any other appointment.”

TIP #3: What better way to keep your commitment to reaching your fitness goal than by making it so important you put it on your daily schedule!

Now about that schedule …

4) Your workout schedule is not realistic

Going from couch potato to hitting the gym 6 days a week sounds awesome. Hey, who wouldn’t get in good shape working out 6 days a week?

But this kind of thinking is a HUGE mistake!

Sure, it will work for a week … or two … or three …

But what happens when you have to work late a few days in a row? Or the kids get sick? Or your body gets sore?

You just take a day off. No big deal. Everyone needs rest. And if you’ve worked hard for a few weeks you deserve a day off. Right?


Don’t get me wrong, its critical to build rest into your workout schedule.

But scheduled rest is one thing. And skipping out on your plan is another.

TIP #4: That’s exactly why you need to start with a realistic plan!

Here’s a great tip from Erin at, in an article titled How to Develop a Fitness Plan You’ll Actually Stick With:

“Trying to exercise for an hour each day when you’ve never exercised before may be a bit too much. Instead, try to exercise for ten or fifteen minutes a day. Or if you’ve signed up for a class, then fit that class into your schedule once or twice a week. The other days, exercise for ten or fifteen minutes. Making exercise a daily habit makes it much easier to embrace permanently.”

Maybe you won’t make progress as quickly, at least at the beginning. But if you really want to reach your goal, make a plan that you can stick with until you reach it!

5) You take this fitness stuff way too seriously

Hold on. I’m not suggesting that getting into shape and setting goals should be all fun, like playing a game of ladder ball in the backyard (well, for some of this ladder ball is SERIOUS stuff, but that’s another story).

But if you go from couch potato to fitness “bad-ass” in one big step, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Here’s a tip that might help a lot – when you set up your fitness plan, give yourself some extra motivation by actually planning some small rewards. Now, I don’t recommend food as a reward. At least not at the beginning.

If you want to reward yourself with an ice cream sundae,  make sure you accomplish some long-term success.  Better to use something fun like 3 days off, or a shopping spree to buy some nice clothes or accessories.

TIP #5: Pick something meaningful to you that will  make you excited to continue making progress!

Here’s a little inspiration to get you in the mood:

It’s also good for your spirit to build in some “play time” here & there so you can really enjoy the journey. Here are some ways to have fun & still get in a workout?

  • Go for a long hike in the woods
  • Swim in a lake
  • Run an obstacle race
  • Take a martial arts class (most places offer a free workout)
  • Play on a playground
  • Take a fitness class, like yoga or combat fitness
  • Go to a adventure course (ropes courses & zip lines are real popular these days!)

So now you know why 99% of all fitness plans fail (that’s right, I forgot, only 73% of them fail).

And more importantly – you have some real tips for setting yourself up to be one of the 27% who stick with it!

Do you have any other tips or suggestions that helped you stick with your fitness plan? Let me know in the comments below:


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2 Comments on "Why 99% Of All People Give Up On Their Fitness Plans Before Reach Their Goals (And How You Can Beat The Odds!)"

uthman saheed

Commitment is one of the major things that cause people to loose hope on fitness. They are often not committed enough but in search of magic or miracle. Thanks

Felipe Tognarelli

Amazing advice! thanks for sharing 🙂