Why Are Goals so Hard?

#personaldevelopment Jan 18, 2023

Let’s face it, we are 2 weeks into 2023. How many of us have already lost our New Year's resolutions and stopped making progress toward our personal development and goals? Why is making goals and sticking to them so hard?

Develop an Awareness

Don’t just haphazardly make a goal.  Before making a goal, take a closer look at it. Ask yourself, why am I making this goal. What bad habits do I have that can sabotage the goal and what are the good habits that can help me reach the goal. Become more aware of the goals you make and the building blocks you will need to reach them.

For example, in my last two physicals, my blood sugars have been tipping just over the pre-diabetic level. Initially, I ignored it. The second time my ears perked up and I began to look at my habits. I took a closer look at my eating habits and what I was buying to develop an awareness.  I began by looking at the food labels of everything I buy.  WOW, what a blast of reality that was. I started to see how quickly the sugars added up in the carbohydrates I eat. Once I had the awareness and the information I needed, I could make the right goal and determine what barriers may get in my way.

Look for Better Alternatives:

I have the personality trait of perfectionism. I am an all or nothing person. For some that works but for me it doesn’t. I tend to try to alleviate all sugars at once.  If I mess up or wasn’t perfect then I failed. One of the biggest things that promote quitting New Year’s Resolutions is perfectionism. If I messed up once or twice, I quit the habits and the goal altogether.

 Instead of going all or nothing, I changed my mindset. I became more aware of the sugars in food and began to find better alternatives. One example is yogurt. I looked at the labels.  The one I was buying had 7 grams of sugar in 4 ounces. I found an alternative in greek yogurt that had zero sugar. I liked it even better and got over 5 ounces in a container. I got more to eat with less sugar and I didn’t have to deprive myself. I have found by making small changes and working up, I have been hugely successful. I have increasingly made the switches to better alternatives and now I would not go back. I feel better on a low sugar diet and actually have more energy!

Analyze the Outcomes:

If you fail or feel like quitting a goal, analyze why. When I was a physical therapist, one of the number one reasons people failed with workouts, was they were unrealistic. They went to the gym and started with a 2 hour workout that included every machine in the gym. They started running 2 miles instead of working up to that to avoid fatigue and overuse injuries. Within weeks they threw in the towel and quit. Don’t quit. Analyze what went wrong and make changes.

For example, make the two mile run an annual goal and break it down to smaller goals that you will reach every 3 months. Then break that down to monthly and weekly goals. You might start by walking around the block once a day for the first two weeks. If you begin to fail, analyze why. Did you not manage your time well, put if off until the end of the day when you are too tired, need a friend to walk with you as a support, or picked the type of workout you hate and dread. Whatever it is, look at it and make the changes needed, then get back on track again. Running is not the only way to get in shape and it might not be for you. Explore the work outs you like and mix it up. Get advise from your doctors to ensure you have no medical conditions that can get in your way and/or get a trainer or other professionals to help you.

Don’t quit with your goals. Become more aware, find better alternatives, and analyze why you are not progressing or feel like quitting. Developing better habits that are more realistic is a start. Don’t be a perfectionist. If you mess up once, don’t quit. Analyze changes you need to make and get yourself back on track. Next week we will talk about developing systems that will help you develop the habits required to see your goals!

How do you stay on track with your goals. I shared of mine. Please share what works for you in the comments below.



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