If you’re trying to get fit and healthy, simply going to the gym more often isn’t going to cut it. You need to make lifestyle changes beyond how much you exercise if you really want to see results and maintain them over time.

Unfortunately, there are numerous ways that you can undo your hard work or stop yourself from seeing the results you’re aiming for. Understanding how you can fail to achieve your fitness goals is the first step to avoiding mistakes that can hold you back.

Not only do you need to set fitness goals, you need to understand how many decisions you make on a day to day basis can affect them in a negative way. Here are five ways that you might be failing the goals you’ve set without even knowing it:

Not being realistic

Any goal you set has to be realistic or it could mean that you get frustrated when you don’t see fast results. There is no quick way to improve your health, get fit or lose weight, so you shouldn’t start out expecting things to change overnight.

Spread your goals out and start small, as this will mean there is a better chance of you achieving them, which will keep you motivated. If you want to lose weight, set a goal that is healthy and practical, such as losing one or two pounds a week. Similarly, if you want to work out more, focus on endurance by building up your time gradually each week.

This way you’ll probably find that you start to hit your target before you planned to, which means you can gradually set more difficult but still realistic goals.

No support

Getting fit on your own is hard work, which is why support is key. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go to the gym with someone else every day, as this isn’t what works for everyone. However, you do need a support system in place to keep you motivated and to celebrate your wins with.

If you’re following a diet, make sure that those at home understand this and don’t leave tempting treats in the house to derail you. Better yet, get them on board too so sharing meals is much easier.

You can also use the Well One app to challenge friends and keep track of your progress, allowing you to motivate each other and compare results.

You’re not adapting

Sticking with a rigid routine that you don’t allow yourself to change won’t be doing you any favours when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. You need to be adaptable in order to react to challenges that might come your way and to stop yourself from getting bored and slowly giving up.

Start off with an easy routine that allows you to adopt healthy new habits and change this up slightly over the week by creating a plan. If something goes wrong – such as bad weather meaning you can’t cycle or walk to work – have a back-up option that ensures you’re still getting exercise in.

It is also a good idea to have some simple at-home exercise options at the ready for when life seems determined to get in the way of you going to the gym. This way, you’re staying active and motivated.

Too many 'cheat days’

You can’t be expected to avoid treats altogether. Not only can this get boring fast, it also means your diet is likely unsustainable and can result in bad habits returning. However, you still need to be smart about your treats and ensure you are maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

Avoid the habit of working out to work off those extra calories, as this will stop you seeing results and will mean you end up justifying all your unhealthy choices. Instead, allow yourself a weekly treat so you can still enjoy the things you love without feeling guilty.

It’s also a good idea to find healthy alternatives to foods you can’t resist as this can allow you to indulge regularly but with much fewer calories. Just be sure you’re looking out for hidden calories that could undo your hard work.

Lack of effort

If you want changes to happen, you need to put the effort in. Not only this, you also need to put constant effort in. Eating healthy a couple of times a week and going to the gym sporadically aren’t going to help you achieve improved fitness, you need to change your habits and be mindful of your targets and how you’re going to reach them.

This means making sustainable, long-term changes in order to help you improve your fitness but also maintain it down the line. If you aren’t motivated to do this, you aren’t going to see results and will find it far too easy to slip back into old ways of thinking.

While we all have slip-ups every now and then, being prepared to put the effort in every day and correct any backsliding is the best way to achieve your fitness goals, improve your health and see results that you weren’t expecting.

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