There is one goal that, no matter how hard I seem to try, has repeatedly eluded me from the day I first set it about 30 years ago. A goal that consistently makes my list of the top three things I want most in my life. That goal is to achieve — and maintain — a healthy/ideal weight. For me, that is about 17 pounds lower than my current weight.
I’ve come close a few times, getting within three pounds at one point. Yet, like clockwork, it has always been a matter of time before the number on the scale would start to creep back up. Sometimes, this number grew even higher than when I started. Talk about feeling defeated!
The crazy thing is that it isn’t a matter of not knowing what to do. I am more than familiar with what to eat. I’ve always had an interest in nutrition, I spent two years working for an international weight loss franchise, and I am now a certified nutrition specialist. I also understand the importance of exercise, even holding my personal trainer certification several years ago.
So, why has this goal continued to elude me if I know exactly how to achieve it? I’ve come to realize that the answer to that question has to do with my level of commitment.
No Commitment, No Achievement
When you are absolutely, 100% committed to something, failure is not an option. You keep going and going until you find what works. You don’t let excuses stop you and never, ever give up.
Some people have this level of commitment to paying their bills. They never miss a due date and will work whatever amount necessary to cover their expenses. Others are committed to showing up to meetings and appointments on time. No matter what crops up in their day, they will be there on time.
Think about the areas in your own life where you have this level of commitment. What “rules” do you have that you have decided that you will never break? How are these different than the “rules” you create regarding your elusive goal?
What complicates matters even more is that commitment isn’t an unbreakable chain. At times it can feel extremely strong. Other times, it’s more like a string of spaghetti that snaps with very little force.
What Stops Us From Reaching Our Goals?
Sometimes we are stopped from reaching our goals because we convince ourselves that “just one” bad decision doesn’t matter. Eating one cookie won’t hurt our diet or going out drinking versus studying won’t hurt us too much. While this may be true, the reality is that every not-so-good decision we make will push us further from where we want to be. And if we do this enough, soon we find ourselves further back than when we started.
Stress, frustration, and even tiredness due to lack of sleep have also weakened my commitment. Even if I know deep in my heart that the decisions I’m making aren’t good for me, I give myself allowances when dealing with these emotions or situations. I reason away my actions as a form of self care in an attempt to justify them…even if only to myself.
Sometimes goals evade us because we only have so much energy and feel that it must be used someplace else. A family member or friend has a crisis, so we stop our progress to help them. This is unavoidable at times, but if that person is continuously in crisis mode, you may find that you don’t have the energy to help yourself once you’re done helping them.
How do you keep obstacles like these from getting in the way? You make a commitment to achieve your goal…no matter what.
How to Develop an Unstoppable Commitment
Developing an unstoppable commitment isn’t necessarily easy. If it was, we’d be able to reach all of the goals we set for ourselves and you likely wouldn’t be reading this article.
This level of commitment also isn’t something you work on just once and you’re done. Instead, it takes continual effort. You can’t expect to fill your car with gas once and have it run forever. The same is true with commitment.
This type of resolve requires understanding why your goal is so important to you and the benefits of reaching it. These are very similar concepts that are better understood with a little exercise.
A Visualization Exercise
Take a moment, close your eyes, and imagine what your life would look like if you were to finally reach your most elusive goal. While doing this visualization, answer these questions:
- What are you doing?
- How do you feel?
- What about you is different?
- What about you in the same?
- How do you look?
- How do you act?
- Who is around you?
- What are your behaviors?
- How are you moving about the world?
Visualize in as much detail as you can, to the point where you actually experience the thoughts, feelings, and emotions as if you are already there. The idea behind this exercise is to see your goal you with complete and total clarity. When you can taste and feel your goal coming true, it bolsters your commitment. You begin to want it so badly that you create the resolve to do what you need to do to achieve it.
Stopping the Inner Struggle
Creating a steely resolve also means finding ways to stop the inner struggle that takes you further away from your goal. In my example of weight loss, instead of standing in the candy aisle or ice cream aisle at the grocery store and trying to decide if I am going to allow myself a treat, I make the decision to not even go down those two aisles. This keeps me from fighting with myself, reducing the risk that I’ll make a bad decision.
Stopping your inner struggle involves understanding the triggers that prevent you from reaching your goals. Is there a particular person, situation, or some type of visual cue that seems to always set you on the wrong path? Maybe a certain sound or smell is stops you from ever seeing your goal come true?
The more you can avoid or eliminate your exposure to these triggers, the more you reduce your inner struggle. You avoid the roller coaster ride — the inner battle of “do I” or “don’t I”? — by not even getting in the rail car. If you’re not in the seat, you can’t ride the ride.
To reach your goals and maintain them, you must get and stay committed. No excuses, no bullshit. Tell yourself that not reaching your goal isn’t an option. Don’t lower the bar for any reason and your goal will ultimately be yours.
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