You might think your inability to stick with a strategy comes down to an absence of inspiration, or perhaps even a fundamental absence of self-discipline.

However, self-control isn’t what is holding you back. After years of coaching people as a personal fitness instructor, I have actually found that many people have a hard time to preserve their momentum because they neglect one easy guideline.

It’s called The Goldilocks Guideline.

goldilocks drinking soup

It’s a riff off the old tale of Goldilocks and The 3 Bears. And, while it might seem ludicrous, finding what’s just right for you is the secret to better health.

The Goldilocks Rule mentions that we experience peak motivation when working on tasks that provide the best level of resistance, obstacle, and problem.

To put it simply: if you take on brand-new jobs that are too easy or too hard, that’s when motivation, focus, and consistency fall apart.

Let’s state you have not exercised in years and want to get back into the gym this year. You’re inspired and delighted. Nothing can stop you. So, you choose to attempt a 5-day, bodybuilder-style workout program created for 12 weeks. On paper, it looks fantastic. The weekly volume and total volume is enough to transform anybody. It has all the best exercises and it’s backed by all the latest exercise science research study.

Here’s the issue: If you’re going from zero exercises to 5 days per week, the possibility of success is low. It’s too huge of a get on every level. From the discipline to go 5 days a week, to the overall amount of work (and stress) you’ll place on your body, it’s not useful or sensible.

Remember, with Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, the focus was on finding a great fit. Selecting the right program is the exact same. When you take on too much too soon, it’s simple to predict when you’ll miss out on a day or more. The missed days could irritate you to quit the plan prematurely. Or, the dramatic dive from no exercises to lots of weekly volume increases the likelihood of injury, which can lessen your confidence.

And, that’s before we think about the squeeze this puts on your calendar. Let’s presume each workout is 60 minutes long. The relocation from 0 minutes of exercise to 300 minutes of workout each week is enthusiastic and monumental.

bar graph 0 to 300 minutes

You’re informed you need to train a specific way to see changes. In truth, little jumps will still deliver changes, and– as you improve– you increase what you do. It’s cliche to inform people to take pleasure in the journey, however there’s a really genuine lesson because wisdom. If you expect excessive too soon, then you’ll rarely see the outcomes you desire.

How to Choose A Better Course

When motivation is high, you want to think you can do anything (and you can). However, achieving your goals implies creating a path that makes it most likely for you to succeed, not simply diving head-first into a strategy without considering your starting point.

When you do not think about the course, the outcomes generally don’t follow.

Here’s what normally happens: You may hit all of your sessions throughout the first week (or 2) while motivation is high (presuming the soreness doesn’t crush you), once reality catches up with you, that’s when consistency and determination start to fade and you lose momentum and drive.

You know what’s too common with “fantastic” physical fitness programs? Overuse injury.

You understand what’s annoying with many workouts? Unrealistic timelines and expectations.

You know what’s not needed to see results? Residing in the fitness center or slaving over every meal.

Time and time again, the very best results come from little modifications that you can repeat over-and-over once again with as little tension as possible.

If you’re trying to return into the game — and win– consistency is your competitive benefit. Even if your start might appear slow, it’s not.

To chart a much better path, create a baseline of where you’re beginning and where you wish to finish. The baseline can include things like your physical fitness level, how many times you exercise each week, and which meals are simple (and difficult).

You do not require an individual fitness instructor to tell you what will work within your schedule. You understand what’s doable to begin. You require to create some friction and change, but it can’t be disruptive. In reality, the best personal trainers understand that helping you modification is less about workout science and more about producing a strategy that works for your life.

Here’s a professional idea that’s worth keeping in mind whenever you’re having a hard time: It is very important to separate and determine what’s “just enough” instead of what’s suitable. “Simply enough” meets you where you’re at and is doable. And when something is workable, you do it consistently, self-confidence grows, routines form, habits change, and you get better.

To ensure this year is different, let your action develop into outcomes. Discover a strategy that sounds tough but also that you’re 95% confident you can do without a doubt for the next 4 to 6 months.

Illustration: The Almanack Of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

The Almanac of Naval Ravinkat

Much better to accomplish mastery and progress than to struggle, fail, and need to select yourself up from ground no. And if you’re crushing the strategy, you can always increase the difficulty later.

This method will assist you accomplish little wins early and typically, so you can keep pushing forward with self-confidence for the approaching year.

adam bornstein founder of born fitness

Adam Bornstein is a New York Times bestselling author and, according to The Huffington Post, “one of the most inspiring sources in all of health and fitness.” An award-winning writer and editor, Bornstein was the Physical fitness and Nutrition editor for Guy’s Health, Editorial Director at, and a columnist for SHAPE, Guys’s Physical fitness, and Muscle & Fitness. He’s also a nutrition and fitness consultant for LeBron James, Cindy Crawford, Lindsey Vonn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. His work has actually been included in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Fast Company, ESPN, and GQ, and he’s appeared on Good Early morning America, The Today Program, E! News, and The Cheddar.