If you’ve ever struggled to achieve your health goal, you need to read this!
I’ve dealt with a lot of psychological naggings in my life – guilt for not eating what’s served by my in-laws, anger with myself for eating all the brownies in less than 24 hours, irritation that my husband flaunts his trail mix and chocolate around when I’ve explicitly told him that I’m trying to lose a few pounds. Every day I wake up and tell myself what I should eat; and every day it seems like something happens that derails my strict rules.
Most of these derailments are in my own head, not from my environment. We all have psychological factors that hold us back, whether it’s fear, worry, anxiety or guilt, and these factors can put up a brick wall when it comes to achieving our health goals.
However, if you’re able to understand what psychological factors could be holding you back, you’ll be much more successful in reaching those goals.
Here are 4 common factors that may be holding you back:
#1 – You want to please others.
Whether it’s your spouse, your children, your best friend or your coworkers, you don’t want to force your new eating ideals on anyone else because you believe that they’ll be inconvenienced. You may even believe that these new healthy foods you would love try won’t be palatable to them. So, instead, you continue to cook or order the same types of food as other people. And you continue to feel crappy.
Take a stance: Offer to ‘clean up’ a favorite family recipe or talk to your friends about your goals. Make these goals known and really back them up with your passion for how important it would be to lose weight, stop your prescription medication, or reduce your risks of cancer. You’d be surprised how supportive most people are once they realize how important something is to you.
#2 – You’re afraid to succeed.
This seems really weird, I know, but many people are afraid that they’ll hit their goals and then won’t really know what to chase (or complain about) in the future! Or, perhaps you’re afraid that you’ll turn into a different person once you reach your goals. This factor is pretty common among happy, successful people because they worry that some of the happiness and success will disappear.
Take a stance: If you think this could be you, I want you to sit down alone and quietly think about what bothers you about achieving your goal, what things in your life might drastically change, and what it is that you really, really want. Focus on why you’ve set your health goal while you do this exercise.
#3 – You have a need to conform.
You feel like if you don’t eat or do what everyone else is doing, you’ll stand out in a bad way. People may ridicule you for not having dessert when everyone else is, or for requesting a dairy-free meal at a restaurant. Take it from me, this can be tiresome but let me ask you – is your health really worth a few moments of social discomfort?
Take a stance: Let people comment all they want – just make sure you have a reply ready to go when they do. Not having birthday cake? Just tell them you had a really big lunch that you’re still full from. My standard reply to the most obnoxious people is usually that I just don’t like that food – it seems to go over easier than the truth. However, to everyone else, I tell them my reason why and most often I find there are others who also share my beliefs and goals.
#4 – You’re a perfectionist.
You set your goals, you set the stage for how to reach those goals, and you venture out…things are great for a few days and then, suddenly, you’ve eaten too many cookies and now you’re depressed and angry with yourself. And everything goes downhill. A few too many treats here, a few too few gym sessions there, and you’re still in the exact same spot when you set your goals.
Take a stance: Want to know a secret? You’re human – you’re NOT perfect! And I mean this in the most positive, loving way. The perfectionist doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. If you screw up, get right back on track at the next opportunity and keep on going. No one is going to blame you for having a few too many cookies (least of all me, as cookies are my weakness and I cannot stop until I’ve had 8…yes, 8). You should be proud of the goals you’ve set and you should be happy that you’re motivated enough to try very, very hard to stick to them! Just, please, don’t beat yourself up over a few slipups.
Overcoming any psychological factor means digging deep down inside you and identifying WHY you want to reach your goals and why this is so important to you. Once these two things have been clarified, it will be much easier for you to overcome objections, questions, or slipups.
Remember that most people will support you because they love you (and those who don’t, well, they’re not worth your time, in my opinion). You are awesome and you deserve the best health and happiness in the world – don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise, including yourself! YOU have the power within you to change things, or not. And remember, baby steps…you don’t need to change the world in one day, but you’ll get there eventually if you can make a few small changes each day or week!