How To Overcome the Shame of Fitness Failure

On October 10, 2018 while my wife, Ava, was having surgery for breast cancer I was walking around a parking garage. Intentionally. And, not because I was nervous. Truthfully, I did feel some anxiety, but I was walking for a different reason.

The week before my wife discovered the lump I began a 20k One Year Step Challenge. I need to reach 20,000 steps every day for a year without a break. I considered the cost before I started. I knew there would be difficult days. I did not, however, plan on cancer. Who does?

Ava’s surgery was early on a Wednesday morning. It was an outpatient procedure so she would recover at home for the remainder of the day and I was going to take care of her.

Getting 20,000 steps takes about three and a half hours of walking. While I expected to get some of those caring for Ava’s needs I didn’t anticipate a lot. She’s pretty low maintenance. Still, I didn’t want to leave the house to go for a long walk after we returned home. Just in case.

So…how was I going to reach 20,000 steps and, more importantly, be fully available for Ava all day long? I wasn’t sure, but I knew one thing for certain.

I would reach 20,000 that day and it would not be at Ava’s expense.

The biggest challenge in this journey to Win at Fitness is not physical. It’s mental. Fitness is hard…especially when you’re starting and NOT fit. That’s why so many people give up. We generally don’t like doing hard things so it becomes a bigger mental challenge.

And, if you’ve tried and failed at fitness more than once you are likely battling an inner voice of doubt and shame every time you try again. You might even start with a huge burst of motivation…thinking this time will be different. But, what happens when the emotions fade (as they always do) and the workouts feel difficult and the circumstances of life throw roadblocks in your way? What is that inner voice saying? It’s not good.

But, flip that script for a moment. What if, instead of a chain of failure, you had a long chain of success? Easy days, hard days…it didn’t matter…you never gave up. Every day you always found a way to win. What is that voice saying now when you face a fitness obstacle?

I didn’t know exactly how I was going to get 20,000 steps that day, but I knew I would. There was no doubt because I’ve already done it. I’ve already faced hard days and won.

I woke up extra early that morning and got a bunch of steps before we left. I also knew there would be chunks of time while Ava was getting prepped for surgery and during surgery itself that I couldn’t be with her. I just didn’t know where I would walk. But, guess what?  Just outside the entrance to the hospital’s Cancer Center there was a big parking garage. Around and around I went. Got most of the remainder of what I needed. That allowed me to be fully available for Ava once we got home.

That’s what happens when you build a new chain of fitness wins. Every day you reach your target it’s a link that gets added. Soon, that negative inner voice begins to quiet and eventually is replaced by a different and far more powerful voice.

“Yes, I will. Because that’s what I do.”

Which brings us to Part Three in this plan to help you Win at Fitness by walking. If this is the first time you’re reading this blog I would suggest getting caught up with the first two parts.

Part One – Start Small (You can read it HERE)

Part Two – Think Long (You can read it HERE)

Years ago, Brad Issac told Lifehacker a story of a conversation he had with Jerry Seinfeld. Brad was a young comedian who had a chance encounter with Jerry. He asked for advice. Jerry told him to write a joke every day. He said at the beginning of each year, he hangs a big calendar on the wall. Every day he writes a joke he puts a big red X in the box for that day.

Jerry said his job is not to break the chain. Keep it going…day after day…week after week…month after month…year after year.

There’s something life changing about making a daily commitment and then seeing the visual evidence of your growing chain.

Start Small. Think Long. Add Links.

That’s how you end the shame of fitness failures and start to Win at Fitness.

Are you ready to do this? To help you start a new chain, I’ve created a fun and easy way for you to track your daily wins as you add links. This Win Tracker also has a component that allows you to watch your inner voice change from “I can’t” to “I will”.


If you struggle with making fitness stick you can change that today. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge will help you begin building a fitness habit that creates fitness momentum which eventually leads to fitness transformation.

Walking is fitness hiding in plain sight. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge will help you set the perfect Fitbit goal for you. The Challenge includes a contract you can make with yourself. That might sound cheesy, but having a signed piece of paper is a powerful motivator on those days when you just don’t feel like it.

Every day you reach your Fitbit goal is a win. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge includes a Win Tracker to celebrate your progress every day!

Best of all…The 30 Day Fitness Challenge is free!!

If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the Fitbit Inspire HR. This is the Fitbit I use to track my 20,000 steps a day. The Inspire HR also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress.


(By the way…if you use the link above to but a Fitbit Inspire HR this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)

Lastly, this blog is designed to help you embrace walking as a fitness activity. It’s sustainable, flexible, effective, and fun. Every week I post new articles with stories and helpful suggestions to Win at Fitness.

If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone…to the right and above on your computer) you’ll receive an email with a link to each new blog post.



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