It’s not always easy to achieve our goals, especially when we have things holding us back or standing in our way. Fear, lack of desire or will power, excuses of no time/money/energy, or simple procrastination. The good news is, these things are COMPLETELY in your control! Let’s tackle them today and clear the way for a new and improved you!
We all have fears that hold us back from our own success. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown. Sometimes the fear is simply that we’ve tried in the past and didn’t accomplish the goal and we’re afraid to try again. Whatever your fear, it’s time to let it go. The past is over and today is a new day! Let’s try it again!
It sounds simple, but I know it isn’t. When fears pop into your mind, the best thing to do is to simply acknowledge it, “I seem to be feeling a fear of failure right now.” And then thank your brain for trying to keep you safe, “I appreciate that you’re trying to keep me safe, but I’ve got this!” And move on. Fear is our brain’s way of reminding us of something that happened that we didn’t like. It’s trying to keep us safe. But so many of our fears are of past mistakes. Did you learn from that mistake? Did you make the change necessary in your life to avoid it in future? If so, let the fear go. That was then, this is now. You’re a different person.
The other thing I like to do is ask myself, if I knew then what I know now, would I have made the same decision? Usually, the answer is no. So I forgive myself because I made the best decision I could at the time with the information I had available. If I had had more information, different information, I would have made a different decision. I try to give myself a break because we can’t know everything. If we did our absolute best but didn’t have all of the information, then we can ask nothing more of ourselves. Forgive yourself for being young, or uninformed, or for not seeing what someone was hiding, and move on!
Wallowing in our fears is the Number 1 way we hold ourselves back from being our absolute best self. It’s time to stop standing in our own way and get moving!
Lack of Desire, Will-Power, Determination
Many times we aren’t successful in a goal attempt because we simply lack the desire to achieve it, or the will-power, or the determination. How many times have we promised ourselves that we were going to get healthy and then chose a doughnut for breakfast at the office because they were there and available? At those times, we might beat ourselves up for choosing poorly when we’re trying to get healthy, but the real question to ask yourself is “Why?”. Why did I choose that? Why did I not walk away?
Generally, the answer is pretty simple. It’s habit. It’s exhausting trying to be “good” all the time. I’m tired of denying myself what I want. Or, I’m not achieving my goal anyway, so I might as well go all-in and accept that this is my life. We’ve all had these thoughts and these moments. I call them my “moments of self-pity”. Achieving a goal is NOT easy. It requires dedication, determination, and will-power. It requires the ability to force yourself to do it anyway, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’re tired or sick or depressed.
The awesome thing about this, is that by forcing yourself to do one thing to get one step closer to your goals, you feel better and more motivated. Don’t believe me? Try it! I made a goal to make my bed every single day. It sounds silly, but the bedroom is the first place you see in the morning and the last place you see at night. Shouldn’t it be awesome? Even those mornings when I’m feeling terribly lazy, or sick, or just exhausted, I MAKE myself make the bed. It only takes a minute, but afterwards, I feel so much better! I feel like I accomplished something and am able to check it off my list. It helps me get motivated to tackle one more thing on my list.
Another area where I must sometimes force myself to do it, is exercise. Some days, I just don’t feel like doing it, but I force myself to do it anyway. Once I begin, I forget that I didn’t want to do it at all and by the end of my workout, I feel amazing and accomplished. It’s the little tasks that we don’t feel like doing, but we force ourselves to do anyway, that really help keep our momentum going.
I also make a list of things to do every day which includes all the little things like making the bed and exercising, as well as the daily tasks I’ve laid out to achieve my goals. I cross them off the list as I do them. On those days where I feel like I “didn’t get anything done,” or it was just a really challenging day, I am able to look over my list at the end of the day and see all of the things I actually accomplished. It helps to keep things in perspective. One big challenge does not mean that the day was a waste. And remember, tomorrow is a new day!
We all have them. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the support. I don’t have the energy.
I’m extremely busy. I do WAY too much every day and I know that. I used to tell myself that I didn’t have the time for something. But the reality was, I didn’t want to make the time. If it’s important to you, make the time. Where in your day can you cut something out to make time for that important goal task? I cut out Netflix. I only watch one movie per week and I don’t have cable. I never turn on the TV unless my grandson is visiting or it’s my movie night. TV takes SO MUCH of our time!
I also watch a TON of YouTube videos! I watch the videos that give me the information I’m looking for, or are motivating or inspirational to me. I limit this to my morning coffee time and my end of day before bed time.
Social media is also a place where time can be cut back. I reserve Sunday mornings for Facebook. I catch up with what is going on with my family and friends then. I do not count the work-related social media posts I do, but then, I’m not scrolling through watching videos on recipes and DIY projects, I’m just posting and moving on. If I happen to see a video that I want to watch while I’m working, I simply save it for later. I love this feature!
Lastly, we have games. These are designed to keep us playing and to become addictive. I love my games, but I have also cut back on those, keeping only the ones that I really love and removing the rest from my devices. I have dedicated “game time” every day, time to unwind and veg-out. That is at the end of my day as well.
So look at how you spend your time and ask yourself…where can you cut back to make room for your goals? If you find that watching TV or playing games is more important than your goals, then perhaps you’re focusing on the wrong goals.
All of these same questions can be applied to the “no-money” excuse. Are you spending money on things that really add no value to your life? Can you cut back on that morning latte and treat yourself once a week instead of every day? Can you make your lunch rather than buy lunch every day? How often do you really need to eat out? There are areas of our lives where we habitually spend money that don’t add value to them. Find those areas and try cutting back to once a week and see what happens.
I don’t have the support is an excuse I hear a lot. I want to eat healthier, but my spouse refuses to do it with me. How can I eat a healthy diet when my partner is always bringing junk-food into the house? The real question is, why are your partner’s choices affecting your behavior?
I have Crohn’s Disease and was recently diagnosed with SIBO. I was already on a special diet for Crohn’s, but when the doctor told me about the SIBO, it meant an even more restrictive diet plus more medication. I wanted to feel better. My goal for a “healthy and active” lifestyle meant that I needed to address ALL areas of my health and lifestyle. If the key to getting rid of the SIBO was changing my diet drastically, then that was what I was going to do. The SIBO Diet, isn’t fun: no sugar, no carbs, no grains and fruits and vegetables are extremely limited. I was supposed to do it for at least 30 days while I was taking the antibiotics. My boyfriend understood that this was my diet, but was uninterested in doing the diet with me.
What I found was that, in choosing to be healthy and get healthy, it didn’t matter what he chose for himself. I didn’t have a problem with him eating that candy bar in front of me, because I knew it would make me sick and I was finally feeling great! I wasn’t sick all the time, wasn’t in pain all the time. I had more energy and felt better than I had in years. I was also working on my goal to live that healthy and active lifestyle every single day and I felt great about that!
So the support you think you need, you don’t really need it, you want it. And if you’re honest with yourself, I think you’ll find that you can still find a way to achieve your goals without it. It might not be as easy or fun, but it’s still possible! So, what are you going to choose?
Lastly, no energy is a real issue. We are all so busy that it’s not easy to do it all. Like time-wasters, look at what is taking up most of your energy throughout the day. I have the most energy first thing in the morning and for about two hours in the evening. I choose those times to work on my goals. Look at your energy levels throughout the day and find a way to rearrange your schedule to accommodate that. If you’re goal is important to you and you really want to achieve it, do it when you have the most energy!
This one is HUGE. Most of us do it. There is a task we really don’t enjoy and we put it off and put it off until we HAVE to do it. The problem is, when we do this, we are looking forward to something that we really don’t want to do. It makes things that much harder. Whatever the task is, do it first. Sounds crazy, I know, but try it. Every day there is at least one thing on my to-do list that I really don’t want to do. I do it first and cross it off. I also do it as quickly as possible! I don’t want to think about it anymore, I don’t want to dread it anymore. I just want it done and gone. When I do this, I feel so much better and it usually takes me less time than I think it will. Additionally, I feel lighter and happier about the rest of my day! For this reason, I always schedule the dentist for the first appointment of the day.
Other Tips for Overcoming Obstacles
~Schedule time for maintenance tasks. These are the tasks that you need to do regularly, i.e. laundry, dishes, take out the trash, etc. Basic things that we all need to do, but generally put off until “necessary.” If you put them on a regular schedule, you avoid the piles of laundry on laundry day, or hand-washing the dishes that don’t fit in the dishwasher.
~”Lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on mine.” This is one of my favorite things! Just because a friend or family member calls you with an “emergency,” does not mean you need to drop everything to help them. I’m talking about those fake emergencies. Oh, I forgot to do X and I need it done by tomorrow…can you help me? You know the ones I’m talking about. Learn to say no when these fake emergencies come up. Don’t lecture them about time management or procrastination, but unless you really WANT to help, really have the time available, you can say something like, “Wow, that really sucks, but I’m sorry. I am all booked up today. I bet if you just sit down and start now, you’ll be able to get it done really quickly!”
If you bail them out, they will continue to come to you with these fake emergencies. Let them feel the pressure of their own procrastination. It won’t damage the relationship if you’re kind about your refusal, but it will let them know that they need to dig themselves out of this situation.
~Along those same lines…Learn to say No. If you’re reliable and dependable, chances are people are always asking for your help with this thing or that. When someone asks you if you can help them with something, learn to pause. Say something like, “Oh, that sounds great, but I need to check my schedule to see if I can make it work. Can I let you know tomorrow?” Take this time to think about their request and whether or not you really want to do it. If it is something that will bring you joy, that you’re looking forward to, or that will bring you closer to your goals, then of course, say yes! But if you sigh when thinking about it, aren’t excited about doing it, feel that you have to say yes simply because you’re feeling obligated, try saying no. A simple, “Hey, I looked at my schedule and as fun as that sounds, I can’t make it work right now. Maybe I can help the next time around.” It’s a refusal that is kind, but firm. Don’t get dragged into the “what is more important than my garage sale” discussion, and don’t defend your answer, simply let them know, “that’s not going to work for me.”
~And finally, Boundaries! Know your boundaries and hold the line. I require at least three days notice for events, but I would like a week. So if my daughter asks me to watch my grandson the day before her event, I won’t always say yes. I do love spending time with him, but if I’m already busy, already have plans, I say no and I don’t feel bad about it. She has learned to ask me well in advance so I can plan.
The same thing goes with friends. As I work from home, they used to contact me and say, let’s go to lunch today. I kindly let them know that today isn’t good. Can we schedule it for next week? I used to say yes to everyone for fear of hurting their feelings, but I quickly realized that if I’m feeling resentful about my day being interrupted with an unplanned event, the only person I could blame for that was me. It’s much better to say no and reschedule for a time when you can be joyful and present with your friends and family.
The phone, text, email is another place where boundaries are VERY important, otherwise they can suck up your entire day! As almost everyone has a phone these days, it’s easy to get in touch. But sometimes, it’s too easy. When we’re working, trying to get things done and we are getting texts and emails, it’s easy to get distracted. I finally created a “work-day” schedule. I answer business emails twice a day, personal emails about once a week. I check my text messages about four to five times a day and respond only to those that are urgent at that time, otherwise I will answer text messages once a day. As for phone calls…I don’t have my phone on me when I’m working. I have a voicemail. If it’s important, they can leave a message. I call people back when I can. If it’s a friend to catch up, I call back when I have a free moment. If it’s business related, I return calls twice a day. If it’s my daughter or my boyfriend, they know to text me if they’re calling for a “reason” that isn’t just to check in. Without these distractions and interruptions, I’m able to get much more done.
How can you start overcoming the obstacles that are standing between you and your goals?
Tackle them today!