Some years ago, Ivan decided to take on his overweight problem. He was naïve to think there would be a “magic pill” that can resolve it all once and for all. His hopes at the time were set on a specific fitness program. But it wasn’t long before he realized it wasn’t happening regardless of how great this program was.
No meaningful progress would be achieved before these four major issues which we will look at today are recognized and dealt with.
No matter how irrational it is a common misstep that we all are prone to make:
We believe that it should be not just possible but also easy and straightforward to complete a given task.
There is always a new and “perfect” solution in the fitness industry – be that a diet, exercise program or dietary supplement. It’s pretty much the same story with personal finance. The hype could be in the form of “Invest in this and get rich!” or “Do this for 3 hours from home and you will have all the money in the world!”
In fact, in every area of life, there is a variety of quick and seemingly easy solutions offered as panaceas.
Alas, the reality is quite a different story.
There are no shortcuts to our dreams
Ivan learned that the hard way as he switched from one “miraculous” solution to another throughout the years looking for a way to lose weight.
There was eventually a turnaround but not until he and Niki started rethinking together goal setting. As a result, we identified several major stumbling blocks. These are the ones which most often can result in failure.
Obstacle # 1: Lack of clarity
If we do not know what we truly want, it will be really hard to succeed in anything.
However, even if we have a pretty good idea, we may still not be 100% confident of how to proceed. That can result in postponing and delaying any of our actions.
The difficult choices when at a crossroad
Ivan wanted to lose some weight, but he was not sure how exactly to go about it and where to start. This made a perfect excuse not to make the first step.
And when he finally managed to kick into action he found himself after a while that there wasn’t much accomplished at all. The old lifestyle habits easily overwhelmed his efforts. Doesn’t that, in one form or another, happen to anyone of us as well!
The worst you can do to your goals and motivation is delaying your action because of not enough clarity of purpose.
Externally induced “internal” conflicts
It’s a good thing when you are convinced that a specific action will get you closer to your objective. And yet, that’s not all. Only acting through trial and error one would learn and get ahead.
Therefore, anyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter at this point. You don’t want to get into an endless “cons” and “pros” before you get down a chosen road of action.
Obstacle # 2: You don’t have an answer to the “why” question
Simon Sinek, the author of the book “Start with Why”, is a firm believer that first of all you must have a solid rationale or a very strong understanding of your motivation.
Failure in this will make your mission impossible. You will easily give up not because of lack of strong will but because of weak conviction.
We couldn’t agree more. And for our system, the vision is a prime precondition for any action towards a short-term goal.
A guiding light
Vision represents the true meaning of the dream that gives us the impetus to get out of bed in the morning and get things done.
A clear cut “why” is the one thing that can help us when things are tough and we get dispirited and afflicted with self-doubt.
We can quickly get emotionally recharged when fully aware of the worth keep going and staying in the game.
Still, that’s not all. There is yet another factor at play here.
Obstacle # 3: You are not fully committed
This is the case when you don’t do your best. On the bright side, you have taken the first step without overthinking it. But giving up is easy and without consequences when there is not enough “skin in the game” for you. Or as the Americans say, “Put your money where your mouth is!”
We don’t know how, but it works. If you purchase a gym membership, you go. And that’s true especially if you pre-pay a considerable sum for a full year.
When more is more
It’s striking how the free corporate gym card isn’t of much use. For us, a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle means having a personal fitness instructor. The hard work with a professional makes it almost impossible to give up.
Nowadays Ivan believes that the same can be applied to any other set of circumstances. If you don’t finish a book at your Kindle, you won’t feel particularly bad about it. But if you paid for it you are much more likely to get to the last page.
Paying money for the important things
For Ivan, his development and growth as a person is a top priority and he is more than willing to invest in it.
He attends a life coaching program for 4 days every quarter. It is quite expensive – with travel and other related expenses it can reach almost 10,000 bucks for the year. And yes, it makes him 100% engaged. He studiously goes over his notes and reviews what he has learned. But he also carefully makes sure to outline plans for the future accordingly.
This phenomenon takes place in our program as well
We noticed it during the GoalBuddy Workshops. Those who traveled all night from another city are more likely to be focused and actively involved. These are the people who end up making the most of the seminar. While someone who got a free of charge attendance tends to be either late or not completely engaged.
This is a very common behavior. We are more appreciative of those things we paid the price for.
Obstacle # 4: Unfavorable circumstances
We talked previously about how quickly the surrounding circumstances can sabotage all of our work.
Perhaps you remember a previous example about getting in shape while keep buying some sweets and goodies for the kids. This stash turns out to be a constant temptation and the moment of weakness becomes inevitable.
Or you might want to reign in your spending but your credit card is always there with you when you are short on cash. Impulsive behavior is most common when we buy things or food.
We are only human
We can’t always rely on our will power and rational thinking to stop us from making mistakes.
It is paramount to arrange our environment in such a manner so that it doesn’t turn into our enemy. You can either try to distance yourself from what’s most harmful about it. Or better yet, set it up for your success. This is how you do that.
You can make things happen for you just by better preparing yourself.
Let’s say you set on your calendar date for a detox procedure. Then your next step must be setting in advance your menu for the following days. In doing so you are eliminating the possibility of having the wrong type of food.
Are you going for a run after work? That’s great! But make sure the bag with the sneakers and shorts is in the trunk of the car. It will be a reminder of your intention. Plus it will make any later excuses less likely.
This same rule of getting ready applies to all other areas in our lives.
How to overcome the four obstacles
The lack of clarity and the subsequent poor reasoning why you want something are the two biggest issues. The other two, the unwillingness to make the necessary sacrifices and the unsupportive environment, are as important. You need to know how to deal with these before you can register any progress forward.
It’s, no doubt, bad news if you can’t even identify the problem.
But the good news is that there is always a way out. It is the helping hand of someone who is interested in your goals and who understands you well.
The Goal Buddy
This person is not to be telling you what to do. Instead, as an objective observer, he or she will bring your attention to what you might have missed.
- They will point out when you are delaying and looking for excuses instead of acting.
- If you can’t explain to them your direction then the only explanation is that you are not 100% convinced by your line of thinking.
- They will be the first to speak up if you are not fully invested in your endeavor and there isn’t enough effort and resources dedicated.
- It will be obvious to them if you have arranged your living space in a less than optimal way.
Indeed, there is always the risk that other people may inadvertently project on you their fears and shortcomings. It is your responsibility to judge when that’s the case and act accordingly. Over the years, this strategy has proven to be a winner for us. Nowadays it is an indelible part of our daily lives.
Therefore, we recommend that you take full advantage of it. Let your Goal Buddy help you see what is stopping you and overcome it to achieve any of your dreams.