Failing to achieve your goals, it’s perfectly natural and everyone can do it, I have done it more times than I can count. Over the course of my career I have been very fortunate to have helped hundreds of people achieve their health and fitness goals, but for everyone that does achieve their goals, unfortunately there are going to be those that don’t. There are a multitude of different reasons why this is the case, and sometimes it can be out of a persons control. It is also very important to understand that if you have failed to achieve your health and fitness goals, that you yourself are not a failure. You have simply learned a valuable lesson for next time. Below are what I believe to be the top 5 reasons why individual fail to achieve their health and fitness goals. (in no particular order)
The goal is too vague
Often people have high level of motivation towards what they want to achieve, but do not know what to do from there. It is very easy to set a goal, but to define the process, what it means, and how it is going to be achieved can be very challenging. If the goal is too vague, does not have timelines, measurable targets and has not been planned out, then unfortunately it lacks the depth and understanding of what is required to make it an achievable target. Too many people set a goal, commit for a small amount of time and then let it get away from them. Having someone work through the process with you that has prior experience in goal setting can be a big help.
Top tip: Make it S.M.A.R.T
This is a pretty important process, and if utilized correctly will enable you to produce some really motivating and exciting goals. What does SMART mean?
SPECIFIC – Who, What, Where, When, Which, Why all need to be answered
MEASURABLE – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set
ACHIEVEABLE – Is this something I can see myself achievable? Believe you can and you will
REALISTIC – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. You are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be
TIME-BOUND – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency.
Create a SMART goal(s) and you will have a much higher chance of achieving it!
Taking responsibility for the goal
It is very easy to set a goal, but taking responsibility for that goal and ensuring that it is achieved is a very different story. Even though people state they want to achieve a certain goal, in truth, it can be very challenging staying committed to it. Due to the lack of commitment, they don’t give the act of goal attainment their full effort. And as with anything in life, if you don’t give it your all, you receive mediocre results. Commitment is crucial for attaining any goal. Make sure that when you make the decision to achieve a goal that you go in with the understanding that it will take a lot of personal responsibility to achieve it. Other people can help with the process, but at the end of the day it is your goal. Own it and make it happen!
Fear (of success and failure)
Fear can be crippling, and it can impact people in many different ways. So often people are afraid to commit to something because of a fear of failing to achieve their goals, or even worse, succeed. This is a very hard obstacle to overcome, and quite simply, can be the single biggest reason why a goal will not be achieved (in every aspect of life). Many people state a goal that they think they should have, because that’s what they think they want, but in reality they are afraid that if they put in all the effort and it doesn’t work that they will be embarrassed, upset, a failure etc.
This is a tough obstacle to overcome, and there are many ways to work around it. A great way to overcome the obstacle of fear is to set smaller goals and achieve them. Instead of setting a single huge goal, break it down into smaller, more achievable targets and start achieving them. All of a sudden, the bigger target not only seems more realistic, but you are getting used to the feeling of success, and you start craving it more and more.
The other side of fear can be a little bit more difficult to work through. This is the fear of actually achieving a goal. Making such a big change to your health and fitness can be a precursor to a lot of other changes in life as well, and this can often be a lot for an individual to deal with.
Questions I often get asked include:
- What if my friends do not like the changes that I am making?
- I don’t want to be the centre of attention and for people to notice, it is embarrassing
- What if my partner does not like the change?
- Do I have to explain to everyone what I am doing?
These are all huge questions that need to be answered, and understood, and they can often lead to people not committing 100% to their goals. At the end of the day you need to ask yourself, do I want to stay the way I am or am I finally ready to make the change that I have been dreaming about for so long?
Fear is a huge reason why people decide to stay inside their comfort zone…but as they say, life begins outside the comfort zone. Recognise it, understand it and embrace it, and you will not look back! Surrounding yourself with positive, uplifting, supportive and like minded people will also help this process greatly.
Unworthy of the end result
This is also a huge issue that holds a lot of people back from a lot of things in life. They feel like they do not deserve the end result of what they are working on. This is true for relationships, work, health and fitness, money and a whole host of other things. People feel that they are unworthy of attaining a goal and as such they self-sabotage themselves in the process. This could be spending a heap of money when trying to save, walking away from a relationship, binge-eating when you are trying to lose weight, or neglecting to do a key activity at work knowing full-well it needs to be done in order to get the result.
This can come down to a whole host of reasons, but quite often people who feel unworthy of the end result lack in self confidence, and confidence is crucial to goal attainment.
Top Tip: A great way to boost self-confidence is to write everything down. Write down your goals, write down all the work you have done, write down your results, and write down how far you have come. Keep it all logged and read it every time you are feeling unworthy of achieving the goal you have set. It will fill you with positive vibes and make those negative emotions fade away.
Overcoming the feeling of unworthiness is crucial to success, not only in health and fitness, but also in life. Believing in yourself is the first step to success, do this and soon other people will believe in you as well, and when that happens, you will become an unstoppable force!
The people around them
The ongoing support of the people around you can make or break the successful attempt of achieving a health and fitness goal. Sometimes us failing to achieve our goals is directly impacted by the people around us. The success that we have in life more often than not comes down to the people we choose to spend our time with. Surrounding yourself with people who can lift you higher, keep you accountable and celebrate your wins, outweighs any benefit of doing it on your own. We are a product of our own environment and ensuring that the environment is the best it can be to support the lifestyle change we are looking for sometimes means that changes need to be made.
Simply put, we become more like the people we hang out with. It is a tough truth, but it is a truth all the same. If you are constantly surrounding yourself with confident and ambitious people, you yourself will become confident and ambitious. If you surround yourself with people who are unambitious and reinforce negative emotions and behaviors, then eventually those traits will become yours as well.
A simple thing that you can do to reflect on how the people in your life are impacting your health and fitness is ask some simple questions:
“Who are the people I spend the most time with?”
“Are they supportive of my health and fitness, or do they bring me down?”
“Are they proactive about their own health and fitness, or is it not a priority?”
“Do they believe that what I am doing with my health and fitness is achievable?
Asking yourself those questions as honestly as possible will give you a really good insight in to why/why not the journey to creating a fitter and healthier you has or has not been as successful as possible.
The single best thing that you can do to try and get the people around you to support your goals is to have an honest chat to them about what it is in particular you are looking to achieve and why. If they really are close to you, and care about your goals, then they will always be 100% supportive, and you would have also added another layer of accountability to your journey.
There will always be some people who will not be supportive. That is natural. It does not mean that you need to cut them out of your life, it just means that in terms of your health and fitness they are not the people that you need to ask advice/talk to about your journey. They may well engage in other areas in your life where they can be helpful and supportive.
The decision to set and achieve a goal can often be tough, but actually following through on that decision and ensuring it gets achieved is far more challenging. Understanding key roadblocks to success is crucial, and the above 5 points are what I believe to be the most important
Have you failed or are worried about failing to achieve your health and fitness goals? We would love to hear from you
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