It all seems so wonderful. We get a vision. We get contemplate it. We may even start moving toward it. Then suddenly the whole concept gets trashed or we just have to keep shifting dates so much that we just put it off.
As recently as 2020, several research studies have shown that over 90% of Americans unsuccessfully reach their long-term goals. These include goals that most people set that could appear to be impossible, such as save more money, transform their body, relocate, purchase a home, start a family or business, or get higher education. Obstacles are no stranger to anyone but there are ways to stare them in the face and not invite them to stay.
Here are four things to consider about why you may be struggling to implement an important change:
1) The Goal Is Not Yours
Goals have to be personally motivated in order to work. Oftentimes in fitness, at work, in parenting, or in relationships, our goals are often set by other people. There is a difference between objective goals and subjective goals. A leader should be setting objective goals that set the outcome that needs to happen. The person pushing for the goal needs to set the actions that motivate them to get there. In order to reach a goal that has been set for you, you need to ensure that you have input on how you get there and understand why you want to be there in the first place.
2) You Focus on Outcome Rather Than Processes and Performance
"Get faster." "Make more." "Stop doing this". "Buy this". "Win this". Is this how you are setting your goals? It's ineffective. These are outcomes. Simply stating the outcome that you wish my create an affirmation but it doesn't keep you motivated to achieve, particularly during the setbacks and delays.
Instead try "get faster by 1 hour in 2 weeks", "make $300 more per month", "stop eating chips 4 out of 7 days", etc. However you can't just stop there. Those are only performance goals. You need processes to build up to the performance. "Set 15 min alarms and no cell phone use during tasks", "make food deliveries 3 days per week for 4 hours", "only buy mini-bags and write down which 4 days a bag can be eaten" are some examples of what a process goal can look like.
By setting goals like this, you have a better chance of creating repetitive behavior that eventually leads to your outcome and you stay motivated more consistently.
3) You View Adjustments As Failure
If you are working with a professional, such as a coach, therapist, trainer, or educator, they should be letting you know up front that part of effective goal-setting is making adjustments. If you are setting your own goal on a personal level, today I am your professional. "You will sometimes need to adjust your goal if it is a strong enough goal."
If you skipped a workout day, over-drafted your account again, didn't get the job or into the class you wanted, it simply means you adjust your timeline and restart on your processes. It doesn't mean that you "double-up" on where you messed up. It creates unneeded stress that could make you unhealthy or unproductive. If you find yourself constantly having to reset, revisit your process and performance goals or reach out to a professional in that field to help you brainstorm. Don't just give up on the goal. It may be more than a one wo(man) job!
4) You Haven't Established a Healthy Obsession
In order to get better and stay motivated to meet an important or long-term goal, you need good reasons to compete with yourself. While it is great to have a coach or trainer, they won't be with you 24/7 and you will need to develop ways to be self-sufficient when you are faced with barriers to your plans.
One way to create a healthy obsession is to use imagery. When you take a few minutes to visualize what you will look like or feel like when you hit your outcome, it can help pull you out of laziness or despair and get you to get up and try. It helps to tie it to things you love to do. When I don't feel like working out, I envision Janet Jackson in the '90s or a martial-artist's body build and then I get up and do the workouts for that. If I want something that it isn't the best time to buy, I envision having buyer's remorse and returning the product, which makes me pass.
Another way to create a healthy obsession is to be vocal to the right people. Most times when I want to accomplish something, I rarely post it online until I have built up to it or right after I do it. However, the people I am closest to hear about it at the inception of the planning. Not only does their follow up and support help me stay motivated to push forward each day, but it holds me accountable to my own word. You need people that won't humiliate you when you need to adjust your timeline or your strategy.
One of my outcome goals when my daughter started kindergarten was to turn this blog into practice that offers preventative care in mental and physical health. It took me six months but I implemented my processes of getting the proper training, being strategic with my resources, gathering support, and sticking to the vision despite all the inconveniences that came up. Mission accomplished!
If you are struggling to create a transition and need professional support on your team, claim your free consultation with me and a conversation can help point you in the right direction. In the meantime, continue following me on Instagram and sign up for my personal newsletters to help you create the right path for you.