Goals and goal setting – Common reasons you may not be hitting yours (Part 1)

In fitness, it’s not uncommon to meet people with goals that they feel they’ve tried so hard to achieve before but ultimately, have never quite managed it. Each time we set a goal and fail to meet the target we set for ourselves, our motivation, self-belief and confidence in reaching that goal gets chipped away at bit by bit and this can lead us to feeling we may never achieve that goal or even others we may wish to set ourselves. What if, instead of viewing OURSELVES as the ‘failure’ or weak link in these situations, we took time to reconsider the goal and our approach to it that may need amending as opposed to there being something ‘wrong’ with us. Read on for some possible reasons why you’ re struggling to meet certain goals and changes you can make to get right back on the best track for you!

  1. It’s what you think you should want, not what you actually want – Whether it’s peers, family members or society in general, we’re constantly bombarded with messages of what’s ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ in life, what’s ‘desirable’ vs ‘undesirable’ and what we ‘should’ want vs what we already have. It’s natural human behaviour to want to progress, change and evolve, but if we’re aiming to meet a goal that doesn’t align with our personal values, chances are the motivation and passion for working towards it just won’t be there. Take time to tune into yourself, your values and what truly makes you feel happy/successful/ healthy/ insert any other desirable asset here. Whether we’re striving for happiness, health, success or anything else in life – the definition of these things will look different for all of us, so make sure you’re own road map is clear to avoid getting diverted by others directions. Being conscious about who you follow on social media, spend time with and go to for advice can also be a crucial part of nurturing the life that you want, not what you think you should want.
Make sure your goals are what YOU truly want and not just what others around you desire

2. You don’t know your ‘why’ – Even if it is what you want, you may lose sight of why it is you want it, and it’s widely believed that those reasons are the ones that drive us towards a goal when motivation is otherwise lacking. When I trained as a PT, I remember my tutor telling us that anytime someone tells you their goal, you should ask them ‘why’ several times to finally get to their emotional attachment to that goal. This could be something like wanting to fit in a certain dress size because that’s what they were when they last felt truly confident. It could be wanting to be able to get up and down off the floor with ease so they can play with their grandchildren, or even to learn a certain skill or sport to make their children proud to play with them at the local park. Whatever it is, whilst the goal may be arbitrary, the reason behind it – their ‘why’ – is often personal, emotive and extremely powerful So next time you set yourself a goal, ask yourself why it is you really want to achieve it and tap into those emotions next time you’re tempted to give up or skip a practice…

3)You’re not reserving enough time or energy – We all only have so much time and energy and despite the quote that I DESPISE… ‘Even Beyonce only has 24 hours in a day’ (who even said that?!) – not all of our days are created equal. Consider someone who works full time vs someone who doesn’t work, someone with children to care for vs someone without dependents, someone who lives alone and does all the chores themselves vs someone who gets help with these tasks and so on… The one thing we all have in common is that we do need to prioritise if we’re to work towards what really matters to us. Whatever your goal is, if it truly matters to you then make sure you’re dedicating time and energy solely to pursuing it. Say no to anything you can pass on and that doesn’t align with your goals and priorities, delegate any tasks you can and work with your natural body clock and schedule. If you have most energy in a morning, try getting up earlier before the daily to-do list takes over. Your schedule may be more clear in an evening once the children have gone to bed, and so this may be a more realistic time to dedicate to your goals than trying to do it when they’re demanding food/entertainment/attention or more than likely, all of the above. If Sunday’s are quiet days, block some time out then to work on your goals. Don’t leave your most important goals at the bottom of your to-do list as, ultimately, we will always run out of time, energy or both by the time we get round to them!

This is just an introduction to some of the ways you may be setting yourself up for failure with your goals before you even get started. Be sure to examine how these apply to you and the goals you come up with should be much more achievable and meaningful. I’ll see you in the next blog where we’ll examine some more obstacles that may be at play with achieving your goals.

Bev Meadows – Personal Trainer/ Exercise Referral Officer and Complementary Therapist.

Instagram @bevs_life