Blocks to Сhange. What obstacles do you need to consider when setting a goals?
When a goal is set hopefully you feel committed to get into action and raring to go. You have a clear vision and feel super determined. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and sometimes, even though we have a very clear and specific goal, we still feel there’s something missing or perhaps that something is just not right. Sounds familiar?
There are some blocks why we don’t achieve what we want, despite our best intentions and efforts:
- Possible Goal Conflict.
A goal conflict is the existence of two or more competing goals leading to the cause of conflict in your mindset. It occurs when two or more motives block each other. That can cause great strain on our emotional and physical well-being. For example, your goal is to lose 1 stone in 8 weeks yet you don’t want to cancel Friday night’s takeaway routine with your friends. What’s the end result here? Good case scenario – workable compromise. Bad case scenario – frustration, no weight loss and overall disappointment.
Goal conflict can also occur in the following situations:
* The goal is not congruent with who you are and your values, morals and principles. It’s not in sync with you. Ask yourself – How does this goal sit with me? Am I being authentic?
* The goal might not be yours and has been imposed on you. You will not internalise someone else’s goal and resist it until you find a working compromise on it that would sit well with you.
* The goal might interfere with another goal you wish to attain. Have your cake and eat it scenario.
* Goal is not SMART. Successful goal = specific & explicit goal with a clear time frame.
* Your self-efficacy is low. In other words, you don’t believe you have the right skills or resources to do it. That affect self-esteem too. If fact, it kills it.
* You are simply not ready to change. You have to be honest with yourself here. Do you really want to do? It can be extremely difficult but it is worth it.
- Lack of Motivation.
Self-motivation is intrinsic, which means it is within you. Change always starts from within. Self-motivation is the ability to energise, direct and sustain your goal-related behaviour whether or not you have the support and encouragement of friends, family or your boss.
Lasting and meaningful change can only occur when you are intrinsically motivated. Motivation to change is being ready, willing and able.
Possible solutions may include looking for exceptions to see when your self-motivation was high and see what other resource were available and helpful or what you were doing differently. Ask yourself the following two questions:
* What do I do that stops me from achieving my goal?
* What do I need to do in order to achieve my goal?
You can also use motivation imagery (developed by Professor Stephen Palmer and Michael Neenan), that is handy if you are ambivalent or reluctant about addressing problems, challenges or issues in your life. It consists of two parts – inaction and action. Powerful stuff, trust me. Here are the steps:
- Visualise the rest of your life not having undertaken the changes that you would like and not achieving your desires goal. Imagine the effect upon yourself and perhaps on significant others too, for the rest of your life until the day you die if you do absolutely nothing. Think of your regrets too. Imagine the effect year by year.
- Now imagine yourself undertaking what you want to do and see how your future unfolds without this particular problem after having worked hard to deal with it.
- Now consider how you are going to put action step into practice.
Practice this technique every time you feel demotivated until you feel like you are back on track.
If you still feel you are not getting anywhere and your motivation levels are low, consider hiring a life coach who is trained to perform Motivational Interviewing and also uses cognitive techniques too.
Old keys won’t open new doors. When you set a goal for yourself, that usually means you want to achieve something new by changing or optimising old ways. Ambivalence is seen as a natural part of the change process and resistance is the heart of change. Change happens in a cycle. If you are ambivalent about making the first step towards achieving your goal and also showing some resistance (e.g. ‘Why me?’/‘Why should I even bother?’ scenario), you can assess at what stage of the change cycle you are right now. See diagram.
- Lapse and Relapse.
Preventing and managing lapse or relapse is an important part of setting a goal especially health & well-being related and if you have failed to achieve it before. Lapse is a small, temporary slip in goal achievement efforts, while a relapse is a return to previous habits that is associated with blocking goal achievements. In other words, a lapse is a single slip or set back while a relapse is a series of backward steps or set backs away from the goal. Everyone has lapses – small slips, moments or brief periods of time when you return to an old habit. Relapse is often referred to as the unofficial sixth stage of the change cycle model described above.
As a rule, when you experience relapse you are likely to have feelings of disappointment, failure and extreme frustration. This is where a lot of negative self-talk and self-downing beliefs would stroll in to make matters worse and this in turn will significantly bring motivation down.
When you relapse, you will go back to one of the following three stages – contemplation, planning/decision or action. Depending where you land after a relapse would ultimately determine what you should do. Planning/decision and action stages are where usually most of the barriers and blocks to change would crop up too. Be mindful of that.
In order to deal with lapses most effectively, it is important to be prepared for them. Outline the chain of events or triggers that can lead to relapse so you can see if there is clear pattern, then develop and highlight coping strategies or action plan for keeping a lapse from progressing to relapse.
In my next post I’ll continue this subject and look into other block to change such as procrastination, perfectionism, resource depletion and inner critic.
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