The hard knock truth
Are you ready for the truth?
The real reason why you’re not achieving your goals is because, well, you suck. You’re a failure. You can never finish anything. What’s wrong with you!
If you’re anything like me, that’s what you tell your self when you don’t follow through with things; including your goals.
Today I’m going to talk about how to drop the negative self-talk. Because you know what? It doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve done it for years. The only thing that it accomplishes is digging us deeper down the hole that we’re so desperately trying to escape from. A place where nothing gets done and goals go to die.
The primary reason for your lack of goal achievement is CONSISTENCY.
The good news is it’s not you, it’s him. You’re not the problem, consistency is. That sneaky little bastard.
Before I dive deeper into how to set goals and be consistent with your actions, let’s go over some things that get in the way.
Self-judgment kills consistency
Here are a few examples:
We’re going along, training three times a week for two weeks, then you miss a session, and then two, and pretty soon it’s a whole week. Then we jump on the bandwagon again, only to resume with less motivation and enthusiasm than when we started.
Or you eat *enter extreme diet that only works for limited amounts of time* for a month and then revert back to your old less-than-optimal eating habits.
After each of those “failures” you beat yourself up about it. You tell yourself that you’re stupid or lazy or *insert negative comment here*…..
Even though we think that judging ourselves will help us be better; it’s creating more distance between us and our coveted goals. It’s a vicious cycle of trying harder, failing sooner, and getting increasingly fed up with our lack of ability to follow through.
So, how do we brake this vicious cycle?
FOR-freaking-GIVE yourself! I want you to say it out loud, right this instance, “I forgive myself!”
Ahhh, how good does that feel? I’d say it feels pretty damn good.
As Brene’ Brown (a world-renown researcher on shame, vulnerability, compassion, and joy) says: “the opposite of judgment is compassion.” And that is the key behind rising strong after we have fallen. Now we that we’ve practiced some compassion, we can move on to the more technical stuff.
Reframing our “why”
The first thing I’m going to ask you to do is think of WHY you set this goal. What is the deepest reason you can find behind it? Here is a good example:
If your goal is to lose X amount of weight, why do you want to do that? What do you think will change once that weight is gone? If you’re answer is something down the lines of, “I want to look hotter”, ok. Then, why do you want to look better? What do you think will change once you reach that goal?
Most of us chase goals expecting that once we achieve said goal, we’ll feel differently. I’ve found that this isn’t the truth for most of us. The ugly little voice in our head telling us that we need to be “X” to be more worthy, will still be there even after we’ve achieved our goal. And it will be telling us to do more, to be less. And so the cycle continues on.
Write down your why
Grab a pen and paper and jot down a few reasons behind WHY you want to achieve the goal you’ve chosen. Now, out of all those reasons, try and narrow it down to a single reason that explains all your other “whys”.
Write it out, bold it, circle, and keep it at the forefront of your mind.
This will be a tool to use when your motivation is waning. Whenever you’re about to do something that is counterproductive to your goal, remind yourself of your WHY. Close your eyes and sense your why stirring up emotions inside you. Do you feel that energy? That passion? Good, now go do what you said you were going to do.
Now that we’ve established that:
- Consistency is the problem, not you
- Self-judgment doesn’t work
- Compassion is the key to breaking the vicious cycle of not achieving our goals
- We need to keep our WHY at the forefront of our thoughts
Let’s dig into how to set some badass goals.
The first thing I’m going to have you do is set a SMART goal. SMART stands for:
Let’s break ‘em down.
Specific: make it as sssssspecific as you can. If your goal is to get stronger, choose a specific lift and give it a number; e.g. bench 150#, gain 20 lbs., and so on.
Measurable: this ties into the first one and should answer the question, “how will I know if I achieved my goal?” Make it something that’s tangible, whether it’s reading 1 book a month, making a certain amount of money and so on.
Actionable: this is kind of a bonus, but ideally you would make your goal a behavioral one. E.g. work out 3 times a week, study 3 hours a day, and so on.
Reasonable: is it reasonable? There are few things that aren’t humanly possible, losing 30 pounds in 1 month is not one of them. It ain’t realistic or healthy (for anyone).
Timely: save the date, baby! Choose a date that you will accomplish your goal by. Make sure that this is a realistic time frame. I’d rather you make it almost too easy than set a goal and time frame that is nearly impossible to do.
Here is an example:
Goal: get stronger
- Specific: increase my deadlift.
- Measurable: lift 230#.
- Actionable: lift 3x a week, with a program that is specific to strength gains.
- Reasonable: yes- considering that my current deadlift 1RM is 205# and the time frame I have given myself (3 months), it’s a reasonable goal.
- Timely: March 30th 2016.
Now that we’ve set a SMART goal, the next step is to set ourselves up for success.
Remember that goal we just set? Good, now I’m going to ask you to break it down into daily actions.
You need to come up with behaviors (aka actions) that you can do every single day. Doing so will insure that you are making progress and putting in CONSISTENT work to make your goal a reality.
Write down a list of 3-5 actions that you can take daily to bring you closer to your goal.
In my case they would be:
- Sleep 6-8 hours/night
- Eat 4 nutrient-dense meals
- Strength train 3x a week,
- Perform energy systems (conditioning) work 3x a week.
Have your list? Awesome. This might seem too simple, but for the first 2 weeks I want you to focus on only one of those behaviors. Yup, ONE.
If you go for 2 or 3 you’re unlikely to be successful. And, you’ve tried that before and it didn’t work, remember?
After 2 weeks of consistently taking those actions, add another behavior.
Now you have two behaviors to implement every day. Work on being consistent with both of those for another 2 weeks. Then add the third behavior, and so on.
A note on being consistent
Consistency DOES NOT equal perfection. If out of those 2 weeks (14 days), you follow through with your intentions “only” 11 days, don’t sweat it. All that means is that 80% of the time you took action. In my book, that’s still being consistent. So give your self a pat on the back and use it as fuel to propel you further in the direction of your goals.
- Consistency is the problem, not you
- Self-judgment doesn’t work
- Compassion is the key to breaking the vicious cycle of goal unachievement
- You need to keep our WHY at the forefront of our thoughts;
- Set a SMART goal
- Take daily actions
Follow these steps and before you know it you’ll be the mayor/ess of Goal City.
By Stephanie Rose Zoccatelli