Embarking on a wellness journey alone can be an incredibly empowering and transformative experience. While the support of friends and family can be uplifting, there's a unique strength in taking those first steps on your own. It's a journey where you're the hero, the architect of your goals, and the director of your destiny.
Navigating the fitness journey solo comes with potential obstacles, but each is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. You learn to rely on your inner strength, motivation, and determination. You also get to set the pace, celebrate milestones, and overcome hurdles to build resilience. Embrace that opportunity, and you'll emerge mentally and physically stronger than ever.
Over the years, I've worked with numerous clients who reached their health and wellness goals alone. Some even had detractors who tried to pull them away from their goals. But they stayed the course and persisted. Here's how they did it, and how you can do it, too.
Know Your “Why”
Take a moment to reflect on what truly ignites and sustains your passion, even in the face of obstacles. I call this your “why,” or the deeply personal reason behind your goals.
Be specific about your why. Say you want to lose 30 pounds to fit into the perfect black dress for an upcoming high-school reunion. Really dig deep here. What does that look and feel like? What is the underlying desire here? Is it actually confidence you're looking for? What will the weight loss bring you?
A well-defined purpose keeps you on track.
Visualize Your Success
Visualization is a powerful tool for creating your future self and making your goals a reality. A vision board can be an effective tool for success. Gather images, quotes, and visual representations of your goals and aspirations. Arrange them on a board or poster and put it somewhere you’ll see every day, creating a regular reminder of your objectives and motivating you to work towards them.
You might also keep a journal to write out all that you’re working towards, visualizing the new you through the words on the page.
However you do it, visualization reinforces your commitment, especially when external support seems lacking.
Set Small, Sustainable Goals
I applaud lofty ambitions! But little hinges swing big doors. Break those big goals into small, attainable steps.
With a 30-pound weight loss goal, for example, your manageable objectives might be losing two pounds of body fat and gaining a pound of muscle every week. As you hit those weekly goals, consider building on them. That might mean maintaining your weight-loss goals and increasing the number of reps you do at the gym.
Ready to focus on fitness goals? My Resistance Training Cheat Sheet provides everything you need for your fitness journey, including home gym essentials, an eight-week workout plan, and a progress tracker to track your sets, reps, and weights with each workout. It’s FREE, so grab yours here.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Keep the enemy out of the kitchen… and the glove compartment or anywhere else you might stash foods that derail your progress. Stock up on low-sugar-impact foods, clean out your cabinets, and organize your kitchen with the tools and ingredients for efficient meal prep.
Setting yourself up for success goes beyond the kitchen. Keep resistance bands at your desk at work. Strap your TRX Suspension Trainer on a closet door for a quick, effective workout. Add inspirational sayings throughout your home. Having reminders and encouragement keeps you on course and prevents distractions.
Stack Your Habits
Healthy habits keep you on track when you don’t have a support system to motivate you toward your goals. Once something becomes second nature, like reaching for pre-prepped meals rather than ordering takeout, it becomes easier to maintain.
Habit stacking is a potent technique for establishing new routines and behaviors. It involves connecting a new habit you want to adopt with an existing one already integrated into your daily life. This mental linkage eases the incorporation of the new habit into your routine.
Let's say you want to do more meal prep to support your weight-loss goals. Link it to an existing habit, such as cleaning the kitchen after dinner. After finishing the kitchen cleanup, dedicate 15 minutes to preparing ingredients or meals for the next day. Over time, this habit-stacking approach streamlines your process and supports your health journey.
Track Your Results
What you monitor and measure, you can improve. Tracking tools and devices let you know what you're doing right and where to improve. You can pinpoint trends and connections, like seeing the results of increasing your protein intake for fat loss or gauging your progress in strength training.
Say you want to lose two pounds of fat and gain one pound of muscle weekly. A traditional bathroom scale won't tell if you're losing fat or muscle. A body-composition scale reveals those and other metrics. Tracking your results keeps you motivated, lets you troubleshoot obstacles, and helps you know whether you're reaching your goals.
Celebrate Small Wins
Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, regardless of how small they might seem. Reward yourself with simple pleasures, such as enjoying tea and a novel at a café or treating yourself to a massage or mani-pedi.
Avoid using food as a reward—this can end up backfiring and set you back on the diet rollercoaster.
Setbacks happen to the best of us. Slipping into self-criticism and feeling discouraged can kill your motivation, especially when you do it alone. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, however, view them as valuable opportunities for learning and personal growth.
If you didn't reach your goals for one week, revisit your tracking metrics to identify the obstacles. What got in the way of those goals? How can you avoid those roadblocks next week?
Learn from your setbacks, don’t let them get you down.
Find a Supportive Community
Virtual support can be as effective as in-person support. Find online communities, forums, and social media groups with members who have similar goals and support yours. You can share experiences, gain insights, and find motivation. My Facebook Lifestyle Community is the perfect place to find like-minded women who are kind, supportive, and health-focused.
Hire a Coach
Almost every successful person I know has mentors who helped them get there. They often tell me they wouldn't be where they were without that professional support. A nutritionist, life coach, or personal trainer can provide personalized support, advice, and accountability tailored to your needs and goals.
We're Here to Support You
Ultimately, you're never alone in your health journey. My team and I are here to support, encourage, and occasionally dole out tough love. We have many resources to help you reach your health and fitness goals, including this free guide on beginning your own strength-training program:
The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.