How to Change, When Change is Hard

Posted by Kaitlin Knott on November 29, 2019

Imagine you wake up 7 am ready to change your life. You get ready and are about to head out the door to the gym in a bid to build the life you know you deserve. But, then for some reason or another you never actually make it to the gym that morning. You give yourself multiple reasons why it just won’t work today and tell yourself “I’ll do it later”.


Many of us are guilty of an inner dialog such as this. We tend to gravitate toward what we find comfort in or are familiar with. Change brings with it new choices that create uncertainty. When the road ahead is uncertain, we subconsciously insist on taking the default path, the most familiar path.

This is like how, in an unfamiliar place, people naturally gravitate toward a familiar face. Why? Because uncertainty makes us anxious. So, the question to ask ourselves is; what can we do to overcome this natural tendency to avoid change?

For many individuals the largest road block is in knowing where to start. Today the internet can be a great source of information and also our worst enemy. Everyone has their own idea of what is the “best way”, but when they share their idea you often only get the overview.

The message may be something like “To look like me, go to the gym and workout” or “To get the dream body you’ve always wanted, drink this shake”. What is lacking from the information they provide are the steps to get there. To make a change you need to script the critical moves to reach your goal.

The great thing about fitness and exercise is that there are 100 ways to do it right. Although it is easy to get sucked into the notion of “If I want to be fit like him, I need to be doing his exercise routine” in truth we all have our own niche for how we actually like to incorporate fitness into our lives and that is important. What works with someone else, wont necessary work with you if you don’t like it.

Here are some important steps to help make your efforts at fitness change be more effective:

Step One: Create your goals.

Goals are so important but we tend to overlook them. Goals give you focus. Imagine trying to shoot a basketball without a hoop. Where would you shoot it? How high? Goals give us our direction and purpose in our lives.

Goals also allow us to measure our progress and give us motivation to stick with it for that end result. SMART goals are the key to creating good goals. Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. By creating goals that stick with SMART goals you will find it easier to create a goal that will benefit yourself.

There are both short term and long-term goals. Our short-term goals are ones that we can easily achieve anywhere from a few days to weeks. Our long-term goals are goals we need to have patience for. It may be to lose 20 pounds in 5 months, but this goal will not happen overnight. A key to intertwine these goals is by setting a few long term goals in your calendar and then go through and set smaller short term goals that will help you meet your long term. Cross off your goals as you meet them.

Step Two: Push past mental barriers.

Our mind is often our largest barrier, stopping us from reaching our end results. To be able to push through this barrier we need to be mentally strong. We will feel uncomfortable, but that is only our mind trying to push us back to where we started. To push past barriers you need to be able to address them and work to change your habits.

There will always be set backs when it comes to overcoming any type of obstacle. The best way to cope with these setbacks are to learn from them. What happened that you did not break through that barrier? What is a different way you could go about change? These questions will help you decipher and cope with mental barrier set backs by pointing you in the right direction.

If you’re looking to achieve anything, regardless if it’s in the gym or not, your mind must first BELIEVE it is possible. Mental barriers will only hold you back from life’s successes. Choose 3 barriers you want to crush this week, write them down and describe how you plan to break through these barriers. Once you break through these barriers, consistency is key. Bad habits or barriers need to be worked on repeatedly.

Step Three: Find the training that fits you.

In order to see results with your training goals, you need to be consistent. This is often where individuals struggle the most. Many will say they don’t have time, they are tired, or something just came up. All these excuses will go out the window when you find a training style that fits you and makes you excited.

When it comes to finding a training style that is right for you the best way is to try anything and everything. Many individuals will find that something they once thought was not for them, they actually really enjoy. By allowing yourself to experience something new it will also allow for more exciting training sessions.

Exercise doesn’t have to be miserable, there are many options out there. Focus on what makes you feel good and gets you active. Avoid making it any more complicated than it needs to be.

Step Four: Keep yourself accountable.

Accountability may be one of hardest parts to master. Ways to stay accountable are get a workout buddy, schedule your training into your day, and even telling others of your goals. By using these techniques, you won’t be alone, and the support you will receive will allow you to succeed in all areas not just fitness.

For example, when you and your friend have a gym training session together you will be 85% more likely to show up and put forth your best effort than when you are by yourself. We as a society like to give ourselves excuses of being too busy, tired, etc. The truth is training takes up a very small amount of your day and its up to you if you want to prioritize this.


We as individuals do not grow because we are forced to, we grow because we dig within ourselves and find the power to make a change, even when it’s hard. Work to be the individual you want to be, don’t wait for tomorrow. Success in exercise, as with most things in life, comes from the grit and determination to make it happen. Hopefully, the ideas presented here will help you overcome some of the common roadblocks that can limit us and even stop us in our journey towards change.

“Dead last finisher is greater than did not finish, which trumps did not start.” - Unknown

Kaitlin Knott

Kaitlin Knott

Kaitlin grew up in Kenyon MN. She has a passion for sports including; volleyball, basketball, and softball. Before coming to the RAC she taught fitness classes at the YMCA. When not at the RAC she enjoys going on hikes, fishing at the cabin, and staying active with her family.

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