Why is commitment crucial to success? How does the lack of commitment effect your lifestyle and exercise goals? Read on for personal tips that you can utilize to help you stay committed to your fitness objectives.

There’s an old saying in the fitness world, “the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.” It’s a small quote yet it carries a huge significance because it expresses the challenge that many athletes and exercise enthusiasts face nowadays, which is commitment. From managing their diet, finding the right resources, to adhering to a certain workout, commitment dictates how successful an exercise enthusiast is in his pursuits. It allows athletes to reflect on their progress and take great pride in their journey. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of commitment, what true commitment looks like in fitness, the consequences of falling off course, and how you can develop a routine to keep yourself on track.

What is commitment?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines commitment as a form of agreement to do something in the future. It’s a form of dedication towards an activity or cause that reflects the desire of an individual. For exercise enthusiasts and athletes, commitment is an innate desire to pursue a fitness or workout objective in the face of obstacles.
However, ask any fitness instructor, and they’ll tell you that commitment remains a vital obstacle among some who attempt to stick to a fitness and or workout lifestyle. According to a research journal, adults and youth face issues when it comes to sticking to a physical activity.

  • One third of youth participants drop out of organized sports
  • 50% of adults drop out of an exercise program within 3-6 months
  • There’s a decrease in overall participation among popular sports

These numbers reflect a current trend among those who express an interest in pursuing an active lifestyle yet fail to live up to their own expectations. If anything, exercise enthusiasts who struggle with commitment have difficulty reaching their goals.

Commitment is a form of dedication towards an activity or cause that reflects the desire of an individual

Commitment issues in fitness

When it comes to the world of fitness, it’s no secret that commitment is central to long-term success. From an aspiring college football athlete to a world-renowned Olympic swimmer, commitment produces long-term results that increase satisfaction and allows athletes to understand the significance of their dedication towards an objective.

Yet, as rewarding as the long-term results may be, some athletes struggle to stay on track. They are several factors that contribute to an athlete’s’ inability to stick to a routine. The list below represents some common reasons.

  • Not enough time during the day
  • Boring workout routines
  • Being self-conscious
  • General laziness

Athletes and exercise enthusiasts deals with obstacles, what matters in these circumstances how you address these issues in the first place.

Social exercises hold you accountable because you don't want to let others down and you'll have more fun"
Deborah Feltz, Kinesiology Professor, Michigan State University

True commitment

What exactly does “true commitment” look like in the fitness world? True commitment resembles an individual who is unfazed by the obstacles that come his or her way. It represents someone who understands their obstacles yet continues to make progress because of their self-discipline and because they are motivated towards an innate objective.

It’s no secret that athletes who commit to a specified routine see better physical and mental results that stand out from those who have no clear direction in their fitness goals. A truly committed athlete focuses on results instead of fixating on obstacles.

What matters is that you develop a plan that makes sense for your objectives
Falling off course

So what exactly are the consequences of drifting off course during a fitness journey? Depending on the goal as well as the activity, a small slip can easily deter you from any form of physical activity all together. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than 80% of adults in the U.S. don’t get adequate amounts of physical activity either through aerobics or muscle strengthen exercises. With regards to nutrition, most Americans don’t get the recommend levels of vegetables and whole grains in their diet.

In short, these statistics showcase what the results can be from a lack of commitment. Furthermore, those who refrain from any form of fitness increase their risk of:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Mental Health issues
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lack of energy
  • Shorter Life Span

Developing a course of action

Given the risks associated with failing to adhere to fitness, it’s important to establish guidelines so you can stay on track. Over time, you’ll find that you may need to adjust your weekly goals to establish higher expectations and see valuable results. For example, a weight lifter might start with a goal of 3 sets of 10 reps and increase that to 4 sets of 20 reps, another example is a swimmer who makes it a goal to complete 20 laps in one session and increase that to 30 laps for the next week. The point is that you give yourself something to work towards as opposed to sticking to the same practice. In order to ensure you stay committed, focus on the following tips:

  • Sets goals (progression)
  • Make it enjoyable
  • Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine
  • Document your progress
  • Ensure flexibility
  • Make it a social activity

The last one cannot be underestimated. “Social exercises hold you accountable because you don’t want to let others down and you’ll have more fun” says Deborah Feltz a Kinesiology professor at Michigan State University. A weight trainer needs a spotter for benching while a jogger relies on a buddy for companionship. What matters is that you develop a plan that makes sense for your objectives. Furthermore, you should also consider whether or not your fitness goals are specific, measurable, and enjoyable.

Above anything else, the one psychological aspect that stands out when it comes to commitment is the motivational aspect. A systematic review of various studies found that intrinsic motivation was a great predictor of adherence to long-term physical activity. In other words, internal satisfaction drives individuals to commit to an established fitness routine without relying on an external benefit. This is important because it explains how athletes’ commitment is shaped by their enjoyment of the experience rather than some reward. This is something to consider when developing your own goals.

In the end what matters is that you develop a detailed and well-coordinated plan towards a fitness objective. By doing so, you’ll be able to practice self-discipline, find ways to overcome obstacles, and commit yourself mentally to ensure success in the long-run.


Take Home Points
  • Commitment is dedication to a cause or an activity
  • Commitment is vital to long-term success in fitness.
  • Factors such as time management can hinder your progress and commitment.
  • Truly committed athletes see better results in their workout
  • Lack of dedication can lead to future health problems such as a shorter life span.
  • Athletes must specify, measure, and enjoy their fitness goals

Articles References

Williams L. (2013). Commitment to sport and exercise: re-examining the literature for a practical and parsimonious model. Journal of preventive medicine and public health = Yebang Uihakhoe chi, 46 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S35–S42. doi:10.3961/jpmph.2013.46.S.S35
Barriers to Fitness: Overcoming common challenges (2019, Oct 16th). Retrieved from
Facts and Statics: Physical Activity (2017, January 26). Retrieved from
Fitness: Tips for staying motivated (2018, October 6th). Retrieved from
Teixeira, P.J., Carraça, E.V., Markland, D. et al. Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: A systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 9, 78 (2012) doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-78