We are coming down the home stretch for 2020 and it’s been quite a year. If you’ve been successful with some or all of your goals for the year – Congratulations! Stay focused so you can maintain your momentum. Some of the goals you’ve set for yourself this year may be off track though. And you may be wondering if they are reachable.
it’s important to remember that success Is not a straight line. It usually takes consistent and persistent focus and effort before we are really ready to make a shift. Our brain and body takes some time to adapt. This idea that we can learn something new or make transformational change in short order, in particular, is unrealistic. And, unrealistic expectations can be demotivating.
If you are struggling with reaching your goals it could be a number of reasons why you need more time. You may not be ready. You may be expecting too much too quickly or moving too fast. You may have internal (ex. mindset) or external (ex. getting more training) work yet to do. You may not really want it The way you’re going about it is not right for you. Or, you may be on your way and making more progress than you realize.
If you are assessing where you are on your journey I thought I’d share a few thoughts for you to consider:
Reflect on how much you’ve bought into your goal.
A key question is whether your goals are in alignment with what you really want. Goals often reflect conscious explicit motives shaped by societal norms, reward structures, and what we believe. But there is more to this question of what you really want in your daily life. You have implicit motives as well. You just might not know it because they are subconscious, which influences your actions more than you may realize. A mismatch between your explicit motives and your implicit subconscious motives can undermine your well-being and ability to reach your goals.
If it exists, it is s possible to overcome or reduce this misalignment. Studies indicate that goal imagery and mindfulness meditation, for example, can help to access implicit motives and foster a congruence between conscious and subconscious goals. A body scan meditation, for instance, connects you to your body’s signals providing you with key information about what works for you as you define and pursue your goals on a daily basis. The body is a powerful barometer of well-being.
Reflect on the process you are pursuing to meet your goals.
There could also be a misalignment in the process of reaching your goals that can hamper long-term motivation. A focus on a specific numeric weight loss goal, for instance, is less likely to lead to long-standing change than a focus on genuine, personal ownership over lifestyle changes and good health. This requires a sense of autonomy and another level of buy-in – finding physical activities that you enjoy doing and an eating regimen that works for you over the long run – rather than following a prescriptive model. This is the bedrock of mindful eating and the Am I Hungry Mindful Eating Program of which I am a facilitator and coach follows this approach. See my Workshops page for information on upcoming mindful eating workshops.
Reflect on your efforts thus far.
I mentioned earlier that you may be focused more on what you haven’t achieved and not as much on what you have achieved. Focusing on what you have achieved is a good way to reinforce your steps forward and take stock of what is still in your way. And giving yourself credit for what you have accomplished, no matter what that looks like, is motivating positive reinforcement.
Perhaps you might not have made much progress but you’ve learned a lot about yourself and what you really want. How has what you learned informed how you move forward? How can you turn what you learned into a strength? What does it tell you about the resources and support you need to reach your goal? Do you need a team of professionals, to join a support group, or take a class? Learning from your experience is part of the path forward.
So yes, if you’re discouraged – it is still possible to meet your personal or professional goals – even with a string of past ineffective struggles to do so. Practices such as mindfulness can help you increase your awareness of what may be in your way and what may be the right way for you to proceed.
If your goals include mindfully making lasting changes to your eating habits or or other aspects of your life, join me for my mindfulness and mindful eating offerings.