What holds you back? Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to have your new behavior fall away? The barriers to success and reaching your goals are often about changing your mindset. From losing 10 pounds to saving for that down payment, reaching your goals takes sacrifice and discipline. But it also takes motivation and intent.
Your first thoughts that initially motivated you to lose 10 pounds, for example, such as “I want to fit into these jeans” or “I want to look better” may not be enough to keep you on track. Your willpower can fall away.
Before you can get and stay motivated, a key step is become aligned with your values and beliefs. Values are the traits or qualities that you find most meaningful and they can determine how you relate to the world. Alignment involves owning why you want to do something. If the goal is in line with your values, then you have a good chance of achieving it. So a goal may be to lose 10 pounds but a value associated with the goal could be balance, moderation or even persistence.
Here are a few ways to get aligned with your goals and begin the change in your mindset:
Keep asking yourself why
To learn more about why you want to reach a goal, keep asking yourself “Why?” When setting a goal, Minneapolis-St. Paul-based life coach Barb Churchill advises to ask yourself “why” at least 5 times. Each time you ask, go deeper until you can find your answer, Churchill says. Pay attention to what you are feeling when you get each answer. Really feel the emotions.
Churchill gives the example of feeling better about yourself as the first reason that comes to mind about losing weight. Or maybe it’s “so my clothes will fit better.” Ask yourself why you want your clothes to fit better. Sit with that for a while. Maybe it’s not even about your wardrobe or even your health. Maybe it’s so you will feel more confident. Then ask yourself why you want to feel more confident. Maybe you want to make larger changes in your life.
Vision boards create an emotional attachment to the goal
You may not know what is holding you back from achieving your goal. Feeling your emotions will connect you to your goal on a deeper level, Churchill notes.
Getting in touch with your emotions will start to uncover your beliefs about yourself and your values. That initial motivating factor of “so my clothes can fit better” indeed may not be strong enough to keep you on track toward your goal.
If you are not feeling it, one way to learn more about yourself is to create a vision board. What are the images and photos you select telling you? Why do you like them? What values do they stir in you?
An inner reality check: the unconscious connection
All of this work gets to the good stuff: what you really believe about yourself. In the case of changing your lifestyle or eating habits, say a couple of months have passed and you aren’t reaching your goal. Take a look at your mindset and why. What’s really holding you back?
Counter mindsets are those that aren’t producing the results you want to achieve. They are often the old tapes we replay in our head over and over. Without consciously perceiving it, we unconsciously choose feelings, thoughts and actions we’ve “learned” in childhood from family and caregivers which can form the basis of our beliefs today.
While your initial reasons for wanting to achieve your goal or dream appear satisfactory, underneath the surface, core beliefs can and will hold you back until you acknowledge them and clear the ones that are no longer serving you.
You find yourself saying you want to look and feel better but maybe you have a core belief that you are unloved and not worthy of looking your best. That’s where sabotage comes in to get you off track. Stating affirmations and making small changes each day toward your goal helps to root out false beliefs.
Superficial reasons for achieving a goal aren’t often enough. By going deeper with yourself, you have a greater chance of reaching your goals and dreams. Start by uncovering your thoughts and beliefs. Keep asking why to get in touch with yourself and create larger changes in your life.