What do you do when you want to reach your goal but you just don’t want to do the work?
Day after day, the time comes to do the work…and sails right by. Work stays undone.
A few facts about work:
The work is hard.
The work is uncomfortable.
If you are working toward something you’ve never had, you will probably have to do things you’ve never done.
Some ideas about why you’re avoiding these uncomfortable – but tiny – steps toward your goals, and how to get moving again:
1. You’re tired.
If you’re not getting enough sleep or not eating enough to make it through your day with the energy you need, you might be stuck here until you get your sleep and nutrition together. You might also have too much on your plate to take on this goal right now without getting rid of some other to-do’s.
Solution: eat, sleep, shift your priorities/schedule, postpone your new goal until you can make time for it.
2. You’re looking at the wrong step.
If you’re looking too far down the road toward your goal, you might be feeling pretty discouraged! Take your progress one step at a time and celebrate those small victories as they arrive. Don’t try to plan beyond the step that you’re on and the next step you are going to take – you might not even know what comes after that, because life is full of surprises. This week might not be like last week. Today might not be like yesterday. Roll with it. Do your best with today.
Solution: focus on what you can do today and in the next few days or week. Celebrate what you’ve already done.
3. You are too scared/uncertain/full of doubt to take action.
If you are too scared to take any steps or to take the right steps, you might need help. Workout buddies can be unreliable, but if you have a good one then that’s a place to start. A personal trainer whom you trust can help, or a registered dietitian, or lots of other kinds of professionals, depending on what you’re scared to change. If you’re scared of success (most of my clients are…sorry guys, the self-sabotaging secret is out) or can’t shake off the guilt, shame, anger, or other negative feelings that keep derailing you, you might want to talk to another kind of trusted professional.
Solution: ask yourself what you’re scared of and/or name what feelings are holding you back, talk it through with the right kind of friend or pro, get your brain out of the way and focus on how you will feel when you reach your goal.
4. You have the wrong goal.
You really might not care about your goal, at least not the way you’ve phrased it.
Since this is a fitness blog, let’s get really specific: my clients who do not make timely progress are the ones with vague/no goals, or the ones with scale-based goals.
The scale just isn’t that exciting. It doesn’t show real change very rapidly. It isn’t going back to what it was 10 or 20 years ago. And those goals are usually externally-based goals – goals that came into being because someone else (or a past you) told you that was what was best.
The scale won’t tell you how you’re going to look or what size clothes you wear. When you’re “done”, the scale isn’t going to be the same every day, anyway! Sugary treats are always going to leave their mark faster than carrots and kale, even when you reach that magic number.
More importantly, if you focus only on the scale, you’re missing out on the other, more important victories you’re having along the way – being stronger/fitter/healthier, lowering blood pressure, dropping inches, having more energy, sleeping better, and so much more. The scale might be cool, but so are the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of your day when you’re not on it.
These scale-based goals also tend to go along with a lot of desperation and not a lot of belief in one’s self. These are my clients who, against my suggestions, order supplements that promise “quick results” (yep, really quick – your bank account is lighter), restrict their calories dramatically, and burn themselves out on health and fitness time and time again by trying strategies that just don’t work for anyone, even though I’m there providing them with easy steps that they can take today to move closer to their goals.
Rant aside, there are lots of other goals that might not be right for you. You could have a goal to be the nicest person in the world, and then it might turn out that you don’t actually like being nice. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals again and again until you’re excited about the idea of making progress.
Solution: connect with a goal that you care about, take things one tiny step at a time, adjust your goals whenever you need to, honor your truth.
So, are you doing the work? Do you want to? Let’s make something great happen!