There are two kinds of issues most of us face. On one hand, there are issues which we cannot change, like our height or genetic makeup, or who our parents are. On the other side, there are issues that we absolutely can change with enough effort, time, and committment. Becoming a doctor, losing 60 pounds, and overcoming a disability are all examples of obstacles that are possible for us to overcome.
The great thing for the vast majority of you reading this is most of your goals are 100% attainable. I don’t know about you, but personally, I rest much easier when I know I control my own destiny. When overcoming an obstacle is directly correlated to how much time and effort I put in, I feel much more at ease. It’s the things I cannot change no matter how much effort I put in that bother me. So, let’s first recognize that your goals are attainable, and your success or failure is completely determined by you and only you.
Despite the fact we control our own success or failure, the overwhelming majority of fitness goals are never met; a sad but true fact. Have you ever wondered why this is? Millions of people are desperately trying to lose weight. Millions are trying to eat healthier. Every day there are literally hundreds of thousands of people exactly like you attempting to achieve very similar goals. Close to 90% will never get there. Why?
Before we get into that, let’s look at the other side of the spectrum. I’m sure you’ve noticed those people whom everything seems to come easy to. The ones with the booming businesses, rock hard abs, and Maserati in the driveway. What do these people have that everyone else doesn’t? Why are they so successful and able to seemingly breeze through life? Well, this is where there is one thing that is outside our control. As you know, each of us has a different genetic make up. Some people are genetically wired to be excessively driven, motivated, and committed. Every heard of type-A personalities? These are those type of people. Of course there are varying degrees of drive inside each of us, but those who achieve things so easily are highly likely to have been wired this way.
Now, that’s not to say a less driven wiring system in your brain will prevent you from achieving your goals. You simply have to work harder to achieve than the people mentioned above. Nine times out of then, when a person doesn’t achieve their goals it’s because they didn’t take the extra steps necessary to succeed. Remember, unless you’re one of those type-A, extremely driven, and innately full of motivation, these steps are key. When these steps are ignored or only partially taken, we fail to achieve our goals.
- No accountability. You’ve absolutely got to find a way to hold yourself accountable. Whether it’s a friend, support group, or another creative way to stay accountable, you have to find a way. When you aren’t held accountable, not pushing the ball forward every day doesn’t really matter.
- No patience. Most of us humans are impatient by nature. We want things done yesterday. By developing a long-term vision, you will understand reaching some goals won’t be accomplished in a few days, weeks, or even years in some cases. By not stressing about not making fast enough progress you’ll allow yourself to continually inch closer to achieving your goal.
- No committment. This one goes without saying; if you lack committment you’re going to fall off the wagon and never reach your goal. So how do you find committment when it’s lacking? Try to build emotional bonds to your goal. Put your heart into your actions, and decide WHY achieving this goal is important to you. Is achieving this goal more important than being a quitter? If so, you’ll slowly develop a level of committment required to make progress.
- Excuses. There are a million excuses not to do things. Stop making them. When you don’t want to take an action that will inch you closer to your goal, accept it for what it is. You’re lazy, uncommitted, fill in the blank. When you start owning up to your lack of effort instead of hiding it behind an excuse, you’ll notice your efforts gradually improve.
- Bad habits. We all have them, but those of us who can consciously recognize them are the ones who are able to change them. Be honest with yourself; recognize bad habits for what they are and work to change them. Bad habits have ruined many a goal. Whether it’s not studying enough or late night snacking, bad habits are a sure-fire way to make sure you never get to where you want. Call them out, shine light on them, and they’ll slowly start fading into your past.
There are of course hundreds of reasons we don’t achieve our goals, but these are what I consider to be the core five obstacles to making long-term success. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change everything at once. Slowly work on these five common issues and you’ll find your abilities to reach goals will improve.
Goal setting is an important part of making great fitness successes. Learn to set smart goals, persevere, and over time you’ll be simply amazed at what you are able to do.