It’s all too common that some weeks after starting the pursuit of a goal the enthusiasm begins to waver. Before you ‘give up’ allow yourself the opportunity to turn that well-meaning intent into something you can be proud of. Here’s a tactic you can use to help.
Bringing clarity to your why.
Often when our commitment begins to waver, it means the motivation for setting the goal has begun to fade. The reasons for this can be numerous, for example, you’ve made some progress so you don’t see the need, progress is beginning to feel like too much effort, the standard you set is too high and therefore you lose heart as you start to fall short. There’s a real benefit in stepping back and posing ourselves questions to provide us with the bigger picture context and as a result better clarity. Here are two simple, yet powerful examples:
30 days from now what happens if I continue?
30 days from now what happens if I don’t?
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity. The key here is to get personal. Don’t just write down what you think other people would expect to read. The 30-day time frame puts a boundary around what you’re committing to. This boundary can help with easing the pressure on yourself. Here’s an extract that someone I was coaching recently came up with when finding it hard to maintain enthusiasm for a new year fitness goal (they were happy for me to share):
What happens if I continue?
- I’ll continue to have more energy – mainly when getting up in the morning.
- I’ll be less stressed when dealing with the team and the kids.
- I’ll feel more comfortable in the Zara shirt that became snug in the run-up to Christmas.
- I’ll be able to take on the Spring 10K event with Kevin.
- I’ll get to share what I’ve done with others – I like that
- I eat better when I exercise
- I’m nicer to be around when I exercise.
What happens if I don’t
- I can use the time not spent in the gym to work on next year’s business plan.
- I can spend longer in bed as I won’t need to go to the gym.
- I’ll start to have that nagging doubt when I’m doing ‘other things’ that I’m just making excuses for not exercising.
- I’ll start to enjoy my food less as I have that guilt feeling return in my stomach.
- I’ll get more irritable as a result of the two above and then bicker with the kids.
- Bickering with the kids makes me feel bad which then plays on my mind and I’ll end up sleeping less well.
- I’ll spend more money on rubbish food
The two questions might not provide the answer as to whether you carry on or not. That comes down to a personal judgement call. The responses you come up with provide a more objective and balanced view of the situation. In this case, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the person being coached decided to continue. What was more insightful for them was the way the exercising goal had farther reaching implications into other areas of their life. It was the thought of bickering with the kids that reignited the commitment to continue.
If you’re having second thoughts about a particular goal, use this tactic and see what it unearths for you. As always, I’m interested in your thoughts.