Here are the four common mistakes I see in my coaching practice that keep individuals from reaching their health and wellness goals:
Mistake #1: Setting unrealistic goals.
To share a personal example, a few years back, I made a decision to stop eating foods with added sugar.
There was just one problem. I was setting myself up for failure. While I had lots of discipline and optimism, all I did was think about chocolate and I ended up feeling like a failure when I caved and ate some chocolate. The takeaway: to achieve a goal, you need to feel somewhat confident that you can reach it.
Mistake #2: Having a long-term goal without a short-term plan.
There’s no reason why I couldn’t have limited foods with added sugars, but I went about it the wrong way. If I’d come up with a very specific plan, I could have achieved it. I just needed to re-assess my goal so I felt confident about my ability to achieve it.
When you’re setting a long-term goal, the focus is on what I refer to as the “Big Picture”. And that’s what I ask of my coaching clients. But to achieve that really big goal, you need to have smaller, manageable goals along the way.
Reworking goals in this way makes even the biggest goal manageable. As you achieve success along the way, you build your confidence and this makes it easier to stay focused and continue with that forward momentum.
Mistake #3: Trying to do it all.
No matter how much you pride yourself on your multi-tasking skills, research shows your brain can only focus on one big thing at a time.
This is the same problem with having too many goals. Think about when you decided you wanted to lose weight. You probably made big plans to get to the gym, eat smaller portions and go to bed earlier in that first week. We all know how that worked out!
A better approach is to set fewer, smaller goals more frequently. I like to set weekly goals. This practice allows you to minimize competing priorities, which can squash your chances for success.
When you think about what you need to do to reach your big goal, it can cause some anxiety if you don’t chunk it down. If you tackle your big goal over 30, 60 or 90 days instead of 365, your odds of achieving it are much greater.
Mistake #4: Failing to recognize progress.
How often do you take time out to reflect on and recognize everything you’ve accomplished?
Your subconscious mind stores all of your experiences, and it makes you feel uncomfortable whenever you attempt to do anything new or different from what you’ve done before. That’s why building new habits is difficult. Your subconscious mind’s job is to protect you, so it wants to keep you right where you are – and that won’t get you closer to your goals.
By rewarding yourself, you reinforce those new behaviors and this helps retrain your brain to be more successful.
So if you want to set goals that actually stick, make sure your goals are realistic, time-specific, and bite-size – and don’t forget to give yourself credit for all of your hard work.