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How to deal with life getting in the way of your goals

It's officially the 97th of January, but we can *finally* glimpse February on the horizon. For most of us, our sense of motivation is very different to what it was at the beginning of this month. And those goals we felt so determined about a few weeks ago? Weeeellll...

Here's the thing. Setting big goals is great. It can give us focus to do the things we know we should (like exercise regularly or eat well) but, without a goal keeping us on track, might otherwise find difficult to be consistent with. But there is also a downside to those grand transformational goals that, though not exclusively reserved for January 1st, we for whatever reason feel inclined to set ourselves as we welcome in a new year. Oftentimes we get so obsessed with the big end goal and wanting to be there with such a desperate sense of urgency that it ends up being the reason we quit and revert back to whatever we were doing before. When we don't reach our goals as quickly as we'd like and/or hurdles arise in our lives that put us off course as they are want to do because, frankly, that's life, we get despondent and throw in the towel. It's an all or nothing approach that means that when it's ALL it's fantastic, but when it's NOTHING, it's utterly useless.

So how can we work towards our goals in a way that's more sustainable, and practically immune to life "getting in the way"?

Set goals that focus on behaviours rather than results

Focussing on behaviours over end goals means that goals like losing x amount of weight becomes limiting meals out to once a week or eating 30 different whole, unprocessed foods a week. Lifting x weight becomes weight training 3 times a week. Running x distance becomes joining a run club and running once a week.

This is a brilliant approach because rather than waiting until we achieve the end result to get that sense of achievement, we get to enjoy that sense of reward every single time we eat a great meal or complete a session. It makes the journey itself more fulfilling, so you're much more likely to keep eating well or exercising far beyond the point that you achieve the results you're hoping to achieve (and you will achieve them, I promise.)

Start small - allow your goals to grow with you over time

If you're not currently doing any exercise, probably don't set yourself a goal to workout 5 times a week. I'm not saying you can't achieve that; you are strong and capable I have no doubt that you can make it work. But motivation ebbs and flows and you probably have lots of other stuff going on in your life that you'd have to fit it around. Until it's an established habit, something you've started reaping the benefits of and genuinely enjoying, you'll likely find it's the first thing to fall off the priority list.

If a challenge arose like work got really busy, you were poorly for a week, or your childcare fell through, would you still be able to sustain it? How easy would it be to get back into it afterwards if you had to pause for a week or two? These are questions you should really ask yourself when you're setting your intentions.

For this particular example, I'd suggest starting with a more manageable goal of working out once a week. If you do more, it's a bonus. But if you can't then you're much less likely to beat yourself up about it, feel like you've "failed" and then quit. Once that session is an established habit that doesn't feel like a huge effort, your goal can grow with you and you can look to do 2 sessions a week and so on and so forth.

Stop beating yourself up

Nobody is perfect. We are multi-faceted human beings living in modern day society where we're all spinning a lot of plates at any one time. If you happen to drop one every now and then? That's ok. That's inevitable. What's essential is understanding that none of these plates are grandma's finest china, they're just plastic (or a more environmentally friendly, similarly indestructible alternative). What I mean by this - slightly tenuous - analogy is that if you've dropped a plate for whatever reason then no damage has been done. You can just pick that plate right back up when you're ready and keep on spinning. Needing to pause on your goals for a little while isn't going to stop you achieving your goals in the long run, but seeing your pause as a failure and giving up on it completely? That will.

If you've been feeling like your new year's goals are set to be forgotten by February I really hope these pointers have given you a new wave of motivation to keep going.

If your goals are strength, fitness and/or weight loss based and you're still feeling a little lost and demotivated... I have a couple spaces for women looking for personal training in Weston-super-Mare, and two spaces available for women looking for personal training in Bristol (Monday slots only remaining for Bristol). I'm also taking on a few more online coaching clients for those women who are happy getting themselves to the gym but feel they'd benefit from the accountability, structure and support of their own online programme.

Want to find out a bit more? Book a free consult call with me. And if you decide it's not for you - no worries. I'll never give you the hard sell (because ick) and you'll still come away with some pointers to give you renewed motivation moving forward.

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