Why Do We Fail at Some Goals but Easily Achieve Others?

Recently I had a meeting with a former client to decide if he was going to start training with me again. He had lost 60 pounds training with me over the course of one year in which he trained two times per week, learning about nutrition and meal planning, and submitting a weekly diet log for analysis. He then began training on his own to see if he could maintain working out and eating healthy without coaching. He’s experienced ups and downs in staying consistent and we’ve met occasionally to implement new training programs.

I was going to email him, since I hadn’t seen him in months, and, as the universe often works, I saw him that very same day at the club. I asked how he was doing with his training and weight loss. He laughed and said he was planning to call me. He’d experience a few setbacks and wanted to get back on track.

We met a week later. Many of his friends were encouraging him, saying, ‘But it’s so easy. You should just work out’ and, ‘why don’t you do cardio five days a week? Why can’t you just workout on your own?’ What’s easy for his friends to say and do was not as easy for him.

He made a very astute observation trying to figure out why he couldn’t commit to physical activity on a regular basis. He easily excels in other areas of his life. In his career he could excel, get projects done on time and the work was second nature to him. But when it came to eating properly and being physically active on a regular basis he couldn’t get the same results as easily. These actions were not his ‘normal’, thus he was less inclined to put in the effort because he figured he would just fail, even though he would eat better and feel better when he trained on a regular basis.

My client made a brilliant self-observation. By comparison, I have many areas in my life where I feel challenged. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might not want to start a particular task because I’m afraid it might be too challenging and I will have to work hard to get the results I aspire toward. It’s easier to postpone or procrastinate than to have to do the work.

Therein lies the Catch-22. The hardest things in life are the things we need to face head-on and overcome. What challenges us helps us to grow and become better people? That challenge could be your desire to lose weight and get off blood pressure medications because you’re 50 pounds too heavy, or to put on five pounds of muscle and feel better about how your body looks.

We cannot grow and improve by standing still – an apt metaphor for physical activity. You can think about it and you can plan for it but nothing worthwhile happens until you get yourself to the gym, or put on your running shoes, or get out and play a game of volleyball or football and (as Nike says) ‘Just Do It’.

Be well.

© 2012 Darren Stehle. All Rights Reserved.

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