What stops you from achieving your goals?
To reach a goal, a goal of any kind, one should have a plan that reflects the circumstances of life and gives an outline how to reach this goal. A desired goal requires action to be taken. Even with such a simple goal as how to learn to kick a soccer ball correctly, it is good to have support from someone who knows how to do it, and perhaps the best one can expect is if you will be coached by a professional coach. Most often, though, your first soccer coach could be your father, older brother or, perhaps, a Phys.Ed. teacher.
When a goal is difficult to attain it can create a hurdle that is hard to overcome and can be what stops you from achieving your goals. If you set the goal too high there are many reasons why one can fail to reach the goal. Let’s create a very common goal to “eat healthy”. When one says these days “I decided to eat healthy”, people have mixed reactions. “Eating healthy” has become a misnomer and this term is overused. Also, with hundreds of new products on the market, aggressive media marketing of new diets and new products, confusing information in the media and on the Internet, one can easily fall into the trap of eating expensive food lacking good nutrition. Thus, research and time is needed to avoid mistakes.
What about correctly setting out a goal to make a healthy change in one’s eating pattern. Depending on a review of eating habits and foods consumed, one may decide to develop a three small goals, assume: Goal 1: to eat less fast foods, Goal 2: to drink more water, and Goal 3: to limit added sugar to one’s foods and beverages. The above goals need tweaking to be correctly set as required by the SMART goal acronym (S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Relevant and T – Time-based).
With a thought in mind that to reach any goal, one aims to use a series of small steps (baby steps) rather than one huge leap; each of the above goals reviewed in the appropriate settings and for appropriate requirements, can be simply rewritten as:
Goal 1 – I will not eat any fast food on Tuesdays and Thursdays AND I will prepare my own breakfasts, lunches and suppers on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next month,
Goal 2 – with correction as to a proper volume of water per day, can be rewritten as “I will drink 8 glasses of water EVERY DAY for the next three months.
Goal 3 can be rewritten as “I will not add any sugar (in any form) to my food, nor drink any sweetened drink or beverage and will refrain from cookies, candies, cakes and other sweets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the next three months. I will also have two apples and one orange (to not feel that I may be deprived of a sweet taste) every day on these three days of the week for the next three months”.
The above goals help you avoid what stops you from achieving your goals. They also have a good chance of being reached and with time become a basis for making more extended lifestyle changes towards a healthier lifestyle.
The above samples of goals will face the scrutiny of time as the self-discipline and motivation to work on developing new healthier healthy eating habits will be tested in real life. The family support or lack of the support, work environment, habits from the past and conditioning of someone for emotional eating all will affect how will a person who decided to pursue the above three sample goals will fare.
When setting the goals, one should envisage circumstances that will potentially hamper achieving these goals. In general, the goals, no matter how accurately set, can be readily blocked by four types of obstacles: (1) time-related, (2) other people, (3) travel, and (4) lack of resources or knowledge. The above barriers to successfully reaching a goal arise from “not having enough time” to focus and to execute the actions needed for scoring the goal. Therefore not having enough time is a big reason in what stops you from achieving your goals.
Often, a sudden shift in schedule, imposed additional duties or just being too tired to work effectively within the available time frame, sets one off from a success path to reaching the goal. The chronic complaint of not having enough time to focus on work towards a healthy goal is perhaps the most common of complaints. Its occurrence arises from the fact that a person with no time makes no effort to RE-PRIORITIZE activities of the day. With the day always having only 24 hours, there is a need to plan activities ahead of time, and, in many occasions, to re-prioritize them. Something has to go, to let another activity emerge as a new habit in the making. Sometimes one can reach a “happy compromise” by introducing a new activity (like running on a treadmill, elliptical machine or riding a stationary bike) still not abolishing the old habit (watching TV or movies). The new activity of watching movies (TV) only during exercising is rewarding in every aspect both health-wise and preventing feeling deprived from the old habit or hobby (or addiction?). Indeed, you are rewarded with your favorite movie BECAUSE you are exercising. And by doing so, you exercise your body and get the benefit of loss weight, better cardio-pulmonary conditioning, improved insulin sensitivity, better sleep to name just a few.
Other people, including family members, can show resistance to one’s goal. Imagine, a nice lady with some weight problem is finally cutting “free” by shedding her unwanted “extra” pounds and starts to emerge beautiful, attractive and loved by other people. The partner, who was controlling her with her acceptance, is suddenly afraid of losing the control over her as she is likely to break free from a mediocre (at best) relationship and start to live to her full potential. What will such a partner do? Sabotage her progress in any way possible. The list of possible scenarios is long and exhaustive as seen in my 20+ years of work experience. Some examples of intentional sabotage are given below. For example, with her partner starting arguments after each successful day so far in her quest for smaller body, the stressed woman starts to eat more (carbohydrates and sweets) from emotional anguish after arguments. Or the lady will become “spoiled” by elaborate (and unhealthy) take out dinners coming to her table, as gifts from her partner who is very unhappy at the prospect of losing control over her. Or just by receiving a shower of sweets, cookies, and all the other foods, she cannot stop eating as a first bite caused cravings for more. Do you know anyone who missed a goal that was in reach due to some one else’s sabotage? Or, … because of self-sabotaging, as a fear of change and fear of seeing the outcome was stronger than the hunger for seeing the all new person! Perhaps the most daring cases of sabotage comes from within self. With growing concerns as to maintaining peace in a relationship with a controlling partner, a person doing initially so well in the weight loss program starts to lose motivation and falls off wagon in order to preserve the relationship. The value of status quo, the price for NOT leaving one’s own comfort zone and fear of repercussions from a controlling partner appear to mean more than a value of improved health, improved self esteem and having more energy to go with life.
Travel sets a lot of constraints on delivery of goals and often reduces the effectiveness of work on them. This is so relevant to one’s work on the goals for improved fitness and nutrition. Holiday travel or travel out of home for job, staying in hotels, hotels with no restaurants serving nutritious meals and with no gyms (not so much important in Covid Pandemic time!), very frequently rocks a boat!
When one can predict AND COUNTER-ACT many (if not all) adverse circumstances by which a stay in a hotel for a business trip (or holiday travel) jeopardizes new habits of eating healthy meals every day and exercising every day a desired 30-45 minutes 5 or more days a week, there is no problem with travel! Taking exercise equipment to a hotel room, or going for a walk or a jog could never be easier. Planning meals ahead, grocery shopping for healthy meals and preparing healthy meals at hotel room (!) or researching menu in restaurants in the vicinity of a hotel to get the best choices are examples of travel-proofing and preventing one’s health goals from being jeopardized. Yet the most common pitfall for holiday travel is the attitude for self-granting permission to indulge in a HOLIDAY FIESTA because “holidays are so rare and you deserve best foods and drinks … and quantity does not matter…”.
The resource-related barriers to reaching the goals are a lack of money and lack of know how. Even being on a budget most goals can be set on a string budget and still be much better than continuing the old habits and making no changes. The happy “compromise case” presented above of watching a movie only when exercising on a treadmill has an obvious prerequisite to its success that one needs to have such piece(s) of equipment. If you are on a budget, or have a very limited space to exercise, then you need to either get a second-hand piece of equipment or select it according to your available space.
Based on a wealth body of research, one can start successfully working on making a change only when one is ready to do so. Those people who are in pre-contemplation or contemplation stage are set for a failure as they simply are NOT READY, and starting active pursuit of a new healthy habit would be premature. With support from a Health Coach, these persons can reach the next phase of readiness, PREPARATION, much earlier than on their own, and be set onto their transformation journey. When lacking know-how to make a change, a sustainable one, this is the time to think about using professional support.
With a Health and Holistic Wellness Coach, a professional that holds three certifications under one designation (Fitness, Behavior Modification and Nutrition), one can accomplish the desired destinations. With a Holistic Coach giving you a safe space, offering a non-judgemental environment and providing support for you, you are guided in your transformational journey towards a healthy lifestyle, and a more fulfilled and happier life. Perhaps most important is that all the goals will be designed by you with the Coach guiding you. You are the expert about your life and the Coach will tap to your wisdom, knowledge and help you to start your trek and to finish your trek happy and excited about your own success. By partnering with a Health Coach you will still hold a compass and set your goals. However, your chance of reaching your goals and successfully completing your transformation are undoubtedly best when working with a coach. As this is you who will do all the needed work in acquiring new healthy lifestyle habits (and dropping on your way some, or many, bad habits), your level of self-satisfaction from work done well will be very high, self-efficacy high and self-esteem as high as your success.
Now that you are aware of what stops you from achieving your goals, its time to take it the next level. If you are interested to checking if one of our Coaches can assist you in your transformation journey, please contact us today to schedule your Complimentary Discovery Session.
Not all trails are simple and easy. Some time you need to bend down to go through, sometimes your path needs to be cut-through.
If you enjoyed this blog post about what stops you from achieving your goals, you might find something else on our Blog that you enjoy.