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Are the goals you set stopping you from succeeding?

I know that is title contradicts every fitness coach that tells their clients when they start out to set fitness goals in order to see the end and to obtain their motivation and drive that will keep them going on their journey. This post is not about getting rid of goal setting, but more how you go about setting goals and how you might benefit more from altering your mindset and identity that will help you reach your goal, instead of creating goals that are centred around outcomes, i.e. ‘I want to lose 30lb’. This makes the journey a lot more successful and long lasting.

The idea for this blog came from Brene Browns podcast with the author of the book Atomic Habits, James Clear. The podcast comment on goal setting the benefits it has within an individual’s journey to help keep them on the right path.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems”

When sitting down to plan those goals you wanted, whether it is financial, physical, mental… instead of jumping straight into ‘I want to lose 30 pounds by summer’, take a step back and think about the road to this goal. What kind of person do you have to mimic in order to make this happen. The goal is to the shape your life and create habits around what you think an individual who is in great shape does on a regular basis. For example, to lose 30 pounds you have to eat healthy and gym regularly, to achieve this you would mimic a ‘gym goers’ mentality. A person that goes the gym, has strong willpower and is consistent with their actions. You then build up this routine of heading to the gym which over time becomes a habit, in-which this habit of regularly going the gym and eating healthy will result in weight loss and hitting that goal.

In order to believe in a new identity, we have to prove it to ourselves.

The idea is therefore creating habits that align with your new identity (someone who gyms regularly and focuses on their health).

Your current behaviours and habits are what have created your current identity. Therefore if you are unhappy with your weight/fitness level/ health, it will be down to this identity you have created. To flip this you should begin with mirroring the image of the type of person you believe you are.

A break down:

James list 3 layers in which you should alter your habits; outcomes, process and identity.

1. Outcomes- This is usually what you want to change either about yourself or career etc.

2. Process- The journey in which you go on to change your habits and systems (implementing new routines, making it to the gym, swapping out old diets, meditation practises, declutter desk at work)

3. Identity- Beginning the process of changing your beliefs, self-image, judgements, assumptions and any negative associations toward your outcomes.

Changing your identity- what you want to achieve and believe will lead to outcome-based habits. Who do you wish to become.

1. Decide the type of person you want to be.

a. Healthier individual who gyms regularly

2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

a. Move daily, start with 10 minute workout 3 times a week, next week add 5 minutes and the week after 10 minutes.. eventually you build up to 45-60 minute workout, then you add more days or other activities and you eventually have a habit and identify and that person you aspired to be.

You can't rely on being motivated. You have to become the type of person you want to be, and that starts with proving your new identity to yourself. Many individuals are not motivated all the time. But they continue to show up because of the identity they have created and the respect for themselves to keep showing up. Stop worrying about the results but worrying about the daily habits that need changing to alter the identity you are currently holding to swap with the identity you aspire to have.

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