How do we go about reaching our goals? People have no problem setting goals, only to often give up on them after 6 – 12 weeks later. The most common goals I see for people revolve around weight loss, strength and toning and defining. Where does the motivation for these goals come from? Why do people fail to go all the way so often?
I’m breaking this topic into three parts. The first part is based on setting your values. The second is finding your motivation and the third is understanding the theory of pain vs. reward. There are many ways to look at goals and why people fail, but let’s look at how we can help you succeed.
Sometimes finding a goal for yourself is like shooting darts in the dark. You’re going to hit a target at some point, but it might not be the clearest target to you or it might even be someone else’s board. To turn the lights on, you need to clearly understand yourself and your values.
Values as defined in this topic and for this purpose means a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgement of what’s important in life.
When you start setting goals you need your goals to match your values. If your values involve being outdoors and camping, but you set a goal of being a bodybuilder and bulking up, you might find the two don’t work well together. That doesn’t mean it’s never been done. But everyone judges their values differently. You might think, “Hey I want to be a bodybuilder and I like being outside too,” but how much free time you want to spend outside vs. how bad you want to be a bulky bodybuilder might dictate your success. I’ll write more about this concept in the pain vs. pleasure post (part 3).
What can sometimes be the hard part if finding where your values match the goals that you set for yourself. I spent years as a bodybuilder, I’ve trained in martial arts and kickboxing, I’ve been educated in a wide range of fields, but until I found goals that matched my values, I hadn’t found something that I absolutely loved to do for long periods of time. Right now, that is obstacle course racing. I love being outside in nature, I love being on the trails and I love running. Keeping myself mobile and healthy is also important to me. OCR racing gave me the ability and requirement to do all those things.
Before I talk about some strategies on finding your values I want to point out that you don’t have to find your goal right away. You might make the list I describe below and think you have the answer but you don’t fall in love with whatever your goal becomes. That’s okay. Keep searching. You want to find the thing that will light a fire under you, assuming that thing is healthy for you. You’ll have to be the judge of what’s healthy and what isn’t.
When you find your goal, you’ll have a reason to wake up in the morning. When you decide on whether you want to eat chicken and rice or poutine, the answer will be faster and easier to come by and it won’t seem like a depressing solution.
Now the list. Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing. Remember what it was like to be a kid and all the things you could do when you had all the time in the world to do it. Don’t limit your list to finances or time, that will come later. You can list anything (camping, fishing, running, biking, cooking, etc.). Take some time to build the list and as you think about it through the week, keep adding to the list. Compile a nice long list of all the things you really enjoy. See you in part 2.