We've all been there, right?
When you decide to your best life. Eat well, get fit, start adding to your savings. Only to do the things you promised yourself you wouldn't do less than 24 hours later...
It's Infuriating. So why do you do it to yourself?
It's because of one of these things:
What you're doing DOESN'T SUIT who you really are (even though it's a good goal)
YOU are not the one who wants it (you're doing it for someone else)
Your PLAN isn't right for you (and needs some adjustments)
Your METHODS aren't right for you (so you should try a new approach)
So let's take a look at each of these reasons and find out what you will do to stop being your own barrier...
Think about who you are. Who you want to be. Your ethics. Your deeply held beliefs. How you want to live your life.
These are the underlying principles that guide you. And you've developed them your whole life. Some things you've had since you were very young and others are a consequence of the life you've led and things you've learned and experienced.
These things don't change regularly. So whenever you're setting yourself a goal that isn't aligned to these things makes in infinitely less likely that you will succeed.
And here's why. Imagine that the thing you're trying to change is your physical health and fitness. Right now, imagine that you're not as fit and healthy as you could be. But you never really have been. You're not dangerously unhealthy or unfit. But overall, you've always been happy with who you are, how you look and how you feel.
Ask yourself - I could be fitter and healthier. But does this align to who I am and who I want to be? For example. If you were only a little unfit, or a little unhealthy you might actually be happy with how things are already.
If this is your situation, the lack of any deep-rooted need for this change means your unconscious mind is less likely to drive this change with you. So you have that constant mental battle with yourself. And success is more difficult.
Now let's say that throughout your life you've always been fit and healthy - you love exercise and always managed your overall health. But over the last year or two you've hit a lull and you need to be fitter and healthier. So you've decided to make a change.
In this situation it's much easier. Because your current situation is the one that's not aligned to who you are. So you're getting the 'You' back.
When you consider these two examples, quite simply - the first one is fighting against who you really are - so it's not a suitable goal. In the second one it's fighting to reclaim who you are. So it's a perfect goal for you.
Often, it's difficult to challenge your own thinking on your goals so can help for someone else to pose the questions that help you identify whether the goal is suitable for you. It's something I do with Clients regularly. Work with them to identify the right goals, that are achievable and will bring meaningful change.
Doing it for YOU!
Even if a goal is suitable - and aligns with who you are and who you want to be - you need to be sure that the goal itself is something you actually want! and not just something you think you should be doing.
The world is full of people trying to achieve things because they think they should. And they usually think this way because of a combination of Social Conditioning (At your age you should be owning your own house, blah, blah, blah) or because someone who they respect and care for (like a parent, spouse or friend) thinks they should.
So when you're trying to change something to live your life, your way you need to be sure it is what you want. This is why...
When the driver for what you're doing isn't yours and you've just been swept along in the reality of someone else's desire for you (and it's most likely coming from a good place) then where's the motivation? Where's the drive? Where's the desire to succeed?
You can feel it there somewhere. And it's pushing you on to a point. But when things get challenging, you might find the motivation isn't very strong anymore. Or you really can't be bothered trying. This is because deep down, it's not something you want.
This is true regardless of the behaviour you're trying to change (like healthy eating, fitness, time management). In most cases people have trouble with these things because it's not something they believe in and they're not doing it because they want to.
But what if it is something you believe in? Maybe you've always wanted to be a more confident and outgoing person? And you actually want to make the change. For a million different reasons this is something you truly want.
So why is it so hard to do?
Your personal master plan
Imagine that in your plan, you've decided that next time you're meeting someone new - say at work? Or out with your friends, you're going to be more confident when you introduce yourself. And that next time is going to be today.
But when it comes to it, you take your usual approach. Because it's nerve-wracking. It's a bit too soon. And actually. You're not ready.
So what's going on? Why didn't your plan work?
It's probably because your plan was expecting too-much, too-soon. With a quick tweak here and there, you'll be on to a winner. For example:
Instead of choosing 'the next time', choose a specific date in the future that you know gives you a manageable timeline.
And before deciding that you're going to be more confident, use the first part of your plan to focus on what confident looks like. Is it the way you act around others? Or is it the way you feel in these situations. And take it step-by-step.
By fine-tuning your master-plan you'll discover that it's actually easier than you expected. And long before your target date, you felt confident in these situations.
Now what if you've nailed all of this? You know the goal is suitable. You know it's something you want and you've got the world's best master-plan? Why isn't it happening?
Choosing the right method
It's probably the methods you've used to make the change. The easiest example to use here is what people tend to refer to as weight-loss (Or more accurately, changing body composition). Let's imagine your goal is to love the way you look when you look in the mirror. You want to be happy with your body.
And you've realised that it's not actually about losing weight, it's about changing the balance of muscle vs fat in your body to a level that gives you what you want.
So step one of your master-plan is to eat better and move more. And and you'll do this by starting to go running and to create a diet-plan.
And you follow this for about a week. But the weekend comes and you've thrown down some spirits, a few cocktails and a couple of takeaway meals too! And by Sunday night you've though 'f*ck it, I'll start again Monday' and finished a pack of biscuits too! You're worse off then when you started. Because not only have you probably undone the work you did during the week, you've also got some guilt and disappointment thrown in too.
So take a look at your methods. Yes eating better and moving more is going to change your body composition. But do you need to be rigid? Maybe for the first two weeks of your plan you decide to simply manage your calorie intake so that you hit a set level each day/week. And as long as you track your food and hit that target you can eat as much or as little 'junk' as you want.
And instead of signing up to the gym or starting running you decide that you'll just walk more for the first week. And start doing some simple body-weight exercises in week 2. To ease you in.
And after a couple of days into your plan you realise that it doesn't really feel like it's difficult. Then at the weekend, because you've planned to go out with your friends, you've realised that you should eat a little better during the day so your booze and food on the night is still in your calorie allowance.
So by Sunday and the start of week two you've realised that actually you can life the life you want, the way you want it, with very little effort at all?
Now you can see here, the goal was right, the plan was okay too. But the methods weren't right for you. It was not aligned to how you best succeed. And with a little tweak to your method everything else fell into place. It was even easier than you thought it would be.