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Obstacles and setbacks: how to keep going 

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There are many things that can get between us and our goals, from self-limiting beliefs to lack of support or time. Sometimes challenges can feel insurmountable. So, what can we do to overcome them? 

The path to change often isn’t linear, this goes for work, home and lifestyle changes. It can be littered with unexpected challenges as well as ongoing issues. Here’s some common obstacles we can encounter and some ideas to overcome them. 


Eating well on a budget can be a challenge. Seasonal fruit and veg, wholegrains and proteins like tinned oily fish are all purse-friendly options. Using store cupboard staples can also be a cost effective way of making tasty, nutritious food. For a free source of inspiration, try following budget cooks on social media channels. In terms of fitness, there’s no need to spend anything at all if you don’t want to. Here’s a few ideas. 

  • Walking is a great exercise that costs absolutely nothing and varying terrains and speed will challenge and strengthen different muscles. 
  • Running, open water swimming, cycling — if you don’t have a bike, borrow one from a friend. 
  • Home workouts, try our free online gym gloji gym, yoga, HIIT and resistance sessions using your own body weight. YouTube has thousands of free workouts to choose from. 
  • Embrace your inner child and visit the park, work your arms on the monkey bars and legs and core on the swing. 


Ah, the precious commodity that no one seems to have enough of. Lifestyle change does require a time commitment, but here are some great time-saving tips. 

  • Instead of focusing on large chunks of time that you don’t have, find 5/10/15 minutes in your day. If you can find 10 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunchtime and another 10 minutes in the evening, that’s 35 minutes — you can dedicate to exercise/journaling/food prep — you’ve factored into your day. 
  • Use your time off wisely. When socialising, encourage activity with friends. Try meeting up for a power walk or cycle. 
  • Practising portion control doesn’t require any time at all and ensures you’re not accidentally taking in more than you intended. 


Heard the expression, ‘old habits die hard’? It’s true, it’s hard to stop doing things we’ve been doing for a long time. When we’re changing our lifestyles, old habits pop to the surface, potentially blocking or slowing our progress. Try to remember that lifestyle change isn’t ‘all or nothing’. Perfection isn’t our goal, but rather steady, consistent progress. Focusing on small, sustainable changes and setting yourself short-term goals can keep motivation up. 


Parenting is challenging and sometimes headspace away from our precious little ones is greatly needed. Often, we need to use our childcare to cover work time and find ourselves left with tired children who don’t feel like being active at the end of the day. Here’s a few ideas to overcome this. 

  • Buddy up with another parent and take turns looking after the children so each parent gets time to exercise or focus on their goals in another way. 
  • Get kids involved, they make great sous chefs and can learn valuable life skills learning to cook with you. Children love to play, and this is how you’ll engage them in physical activity, make it a game not a chore. 


Our physical surroundings can derail us. Clutter leaves us feeling stressed and drains our time, so eliminating it can help. Ask those you spend time with to help you, for example, ask them to leave tempting foods out of your sight. Household objects can lead to inactivity — the big squishy sofa in front of the TV, the ergonomic office chair, the robotic vacuum cleaner that does it for you. Try limiting labour saving devices and be aware of how much time you spend sitting still. 


When we’ve decided to make improvements to our health and wellbeing, it’s tempting to do everything at once. Prioritise these cornerstones of health and wellbeing. 

  • Nutrition. If weight loss is a goal, this entails eating less calories than we expend. Focus on whole foods, fruit and veg, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains. Limit added sugars and highly processed foods. 
  • Exercise. Ensure you’re taking the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise. Aim for a mix of strength, cardio and flexibility training. 
  • Sleep and stress. Lack of sleep and too much stress can hinder weight loss and make us feel low. Prioritising sleep is vital for our bodies to rest and recover. 

Journaling can help us identify obstacles and triggers for unwanted actions and feelings. We can learn to recognise patterns of behaviour that may undermine our intentions. We can analyse if what we eat changes based on who we’re eating with, what situations make us feel uncomfortable about exercising or eating well and more. When we’re able to identify these things, we can take action to help avoid the same pitfalls in the future. 

Would you talk to your partner or friend the way you talk to yourself? Probably not! The way we speak to ourselves really matters. Try to practice positive self-talk to dispel self-limiting beliefs. Instead of ‘I always fail at dieting’ and ‘I’m such a sweaty unfit mess,’ try ‘I’m learning to fuel my body well, for life,’ and ‘I’m moving my body more and I get fitter and stronger each time.’ When you do something well, say it aloud to yourself. 

We don’t need to deem each day as a success or a failure. Instead, consider each decision we make as a chance to improve our health and wellbeing, regardless of what’s gone before. By taking things one step at a time, we can keep the momentum going towards our goals. 

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