Have Trouble Sticking to the Program?
The most challenging part of trying to initiate any kind of lasting positive change is almost always finding the ability to follow through. We all seem to have the same problems, don’t we? We start out all excited and pumped up, enthralled and enthused by the idea of creating something new in our lives; whether it’s bringing ourselves or our income to a higher level, improving our bodies, our health and our nutrition, growing our business, expanding our skills, widening our social circles or sharpening our minds. Then, slowly, as the days pass, our energy wanes and our enthusiasm begins to drain...and before you know it, those once lofty goals of ours somehow slip into the nothingness that becomes a distant and faded memory from the past.
We all see the pattern, we all face the same frustration and we all experience the same anxiety that comes with the plethora of self deprecation which inevitably follows our latest failure. But why does it have to be this way? Why can’t we just do what we said we were going to do and follow through with the goals we set out for ourselves? After all, it is what we really want, isn’t it?
Take heart, my fellow achievers, for the good news is that a solution may not be as complicated or as far out of reach as one might typically expect! I’ve done an awful lot of research on this topic over the past few years and I’ve worked with a lot of clients who suffer from these same types of challenges. With that in mind, I would like to offer you the following suggestions:
Self Sabotage: We all have a tendency to let things go, particularly when it comes to doing anything that we perceive as work. If we add some kind of story to it or use some particular language which makes it appear even more monotonous or less enjoyable, then the result is a recipe for disaster!
Any time we find ourselves struggling to maintain our direction or our momentum, we have to consider how we have been framing what it is that we need to do. We have to think in terms of the language that we put around it, how we think about it and how we talk to ourselves about it. For instance, if you want to develop a new lifestyle habit of going to the gym for exercise, and you think about the fact that it’s going to take a lot of time and energy, chances are you’re not going to feel very enthused about doing it for long. If instead, you think about the way that it is going to make you feel and the results that you’re going to get from doing it, then you are more likely to succeed with your plan. True?
Making Bad Choices: On the same token, if you find yourself having trouble trying to make good decisions that will keep you in alignment with your goals, think about the things that you are choosing instead. Every time you say “yes” to one thing, it actually means that you’re saying “no” to something else! One of the ways to deal with this kind of decision making, is to begin making some conscious decisions around what it is that you are actually choosing in the moment. Even though the short term pleasure may seem attractive in that one moment, the long term benefits of making better choices will ultimately have a much greater impact on you in the future. Stay focused on the outcome that you are working towards!
Think about how your choices are meeting your needs. Is there something that you’ve been choosing mindlessly because of a need that you have that is not being met? Lots of people eat for example, not because they are hungry but because they are craving connection. Even though the food may help us meet that need in the moment, the long term effect is actually very destructive. Think of other ways that you could meet these same needs without having to suffer from the long term effects of making poor choices.
Lack of Energy/Drive/Motivation: These problems are very typical of anybody who is trying to install better habits into their lives, and there are actually a couple of different ways that you may be able to tackle them. First, you may want to think about your emotional state. If you find yourself having trouble following through because you feel tired, bored or disengaged, you can often change your emotional state very quickly by doing something physical with your body. You could dance, run, stretch or maybe even practise some yoga in order to get your blood flowing and your energy increasing. The moment you begin moving your body, your emotional state will begin to change.
Another way to increase your energy, drive and motivation would be to revisit your purpose or your “why”. Go back to that original plan and consider all of the reasons why you wanted to achieve that goal in the first place. If you haven’t considered that part of your plan, this is the most important thing you could do to get yourself energized about doing what you need to do. Having a clear understanding of why it is that you want to accomplish anything is what keeps you on track and helps keep you focused as you work towards your goals!
Check out your nutrition and your sleep. Any time you feel yourself lacking energy or motivation, chances are you haven’t been feeding yourself properly or getting an appropriate amount of sleep. No, we can’t burn the candle at both ends - at least not for a long period of time. Your body needs fuel and rest to keep going and there’s no point in trying to fight it. This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how often we allow it to derail our plans. Make sure you are getting plenty of Vitamin C and that you are not low on Iron, B12 or Magnesium. Oh, and if exercise isn’t one of the goals you’re currently working on, make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount of it.
The Victim Mentality: All of us are guilty at one point or another of seeing ourselves as the victim. When it comes to trying to achieve anything in life, it is the fastest and most direct route to failure there is. The moment we make ourselves a victim, we lose any and all power to have any control over the outcomes that we achieve. Being a victim means that we don’t have to take any responsibility. It allows us to sit back and blame our lack of progress on everything - from our jobs, to the government, to our kids, to our parents and even to our partners - someone or something must be responsible for where we are, but it certainly isn’t us!
The victim mentality is sneaky too. It comes in the form of an innocent question, such as, “Well why can’t I eat this piece of chocolate cake? I’ve worked hard to get this far!” or “Why shouldn’t I be able to stay up late and relax for a while? I ought to be able to do what I want!” The problem with these questions is that the answers that they give you don’t necessarily align with where you really want to go. A better question might be, “How does this option support me in my goals and my purpose?”
Your Sad Story: Let’s face it, we’ve all had it rough at one time or another, but that doesn’t mean that we can use that story to keep holding us back from having the life that we want. Believing that because we haven’t succeeded with everything that we set out to do in the past and therefore will probably fail at this too is a poor excuse for not taking action on our dreams. Deep down, I think we all know that we are capable and worthy. I have yet to hear a person actually say, “No, I don’t think I’m worth it.” We all know we are worth it, don’t we?
Your story is anything you choose it should be. If the one you’ve been carrying isn’t working for you, if it is disempowering you or keeping you from doing what you need to do or feeling the way that you need to feel - get rid of it! Let it go! Your story was developed from crap that happened in the past, and therefore, the past is where you need to leave it. Create a new story for yourself today. Design your life based on the things that are important to you and the things that you have control over. Spending any time focused on anything else is a complete and utter waste of your time. Focus on what it is that you want and how you can go about achieving it. The sky is the limit as long as you believe it is!
Impatience: One of the biggest challenges facing women today is the desire to want to control everything. It is our basic need for Certainty that gets us into trouble here, because to some degree, we all really do need a certain level of it. But watching a pot of water doesn’t make it boil any faster, and trying to control how quickly things transform into the picture you have in your mind is nothing but futile and silly.
I remember back when I was trying to find a house for myself and my children and I created all this stress and pressure for myself because it wasn’t happening as quickly as I thought it should. In other words, it didn’t happen the second I felt I was ready. What a maroon! The very moment I recognized what I was doing and that I was creating all this pressure MYSELF, I instantly felt the tension drain from my body and I got totally relaxed and calm about it. I knew, deep down, that when the timing was right, the perfect house would appear on the horizon and all would work out just as it should. It wasn’t long after that that my perfect little house came back on the market, and I quickly snapped it up and made it my home!
We don’t get to have that kind of control, and realistically, I think that’s actually a good thing. There are forces at work in the universe that are far wiser and know much more than we do about things, and they have our back in a much greater way than we could ever imagine. Learn to trust that the thing you are after will come to you when the universe thinks that the timing is right - not necessarily when you do. Keep calm and carry on - do what you need to do and let the universe and all of it’s allies worry about the rest. Divine timing doesn’t run according to our perfectly designed, skillfully crafted, silly human clocks!
Lack of Action: We all have plenty of thoughts, ideas and opportunities that come our way in the course of our days. Make sure you get them on paper as quickly as possible and try to learn to capture everything in one place. Don’t leave the sight of a good idea without taking some form of action on it before you go. Opportunity can come in the strangest of forms and unless we have our eyes and ears open, it can pass by as swiftly and easily as it came. Stay focused on what it is that you want to achieve and make sure that you have a crystal clear understanding of why you want it and what you believe it will give you when you get it.
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by a giant list of meaningless action items. If you’re going to develop a plan, make sure you have a well thought out process in which to follow to achieve it. Get all of your ideas down on paper and then decide which ones are going to have the greatest amount of impact. Set yourself some realistic time frames and tackle those most important action items first. Lastly, learn to chunk all of your ideas and action items into categories so that you can make your life more manageable and a lot less stressful. Make sure you stay well balanced and in alignment with your ultimate purpose at all times. Getting to basque in the glow of your accomplishments is a lot more enjoyable when you are healthy, happy and strong!
If you need help staying on track with your goals, need someone who can help you create a powerful and impactful plan or even if you could use to have someone who can hold you accountable to yourself and your goals, contact me to find out how I can help! I offer a complimentary, one-on-one, 2 hour Coaching Consultation Session which can give you a tonne of valuable feedback and introduce you to the tools and strategies of Strategic Intervention.
About the author
Tamara Dodgson is a Certified Strategic Intervention Coach and Life Strategist, trained by Robbins Madanes. She has spent the better part of a half century studying, researching and learning about personal growth and development, self-help, spirituality, leadership, success, achievement and philosophy. She is a writer, philosopher, life coach, mother, fitness enthusiast, nature lover, book fanatic and divine being of infinite possibilities. She is also the proud author of "Designing Your Life - A Guide to Help You Consciously Create Your Future" and has recently released a new educational program called "2017 - Your Year of Transformation." You can connect with her on Facebook at Forward Coaching & Consulting Services, on her website at www.tamaradodgson.com, or via email at email@example.com.