Making a goal and actually completing it are very separate items, the same as making a goal for running a half marathon and in fact completing it are miles (13.1 exactly) apart. Often the reason for your non completion is due to obstacles that either simply exist or you have chosen to put in place.
In the military, we used obstacles either to deny the enemy movement or channel them into a kill zone or some other are we wanted them to be. An obstacle could be as complicated as a minefield, an abatis, concertina wire, or as simple as blowing a hole in the road. We also faced obstacles that the enemy put in place to cause harm to us.
What is most important in life is that you don’t put up obstacles to yourself.
The distance between wanting and executing usually are the consequence of three obstacles:
- Skill. This obstacle exists because you haven’t taken the action to overcome it. You know what to do, but you don’t know HOW to do it. For example, you understand the next step in your fitness goal is to get stronger, but you don’t have a clue how to build muscle. You have a SKILL obstacle.
- Mindset. This is an obstacle you have set for yourself. You know what to do and how to do it, but you don’t believe you are up to the task. You have become blocked because you don’t believe you can do it, or there’s another mental barrier. You have a MINDSET obstacle.
- Emotion. This is another obstacle you have set for yourself. You know what to do and how to do it, and you even know you can do it, but you don’t do it because of the consequences. You avoid calling a potential date for the fear you might be turned down and rejected, or instead of completing your tax return you put it off because you have fear you’ll have to pay money. You have an EMOTION obstacle.
In order to overcome your obstacle you have to identify its cause, and the method to recognize the cause is to pose this question to yourself:
Which obstacle is holding me back?
When pose this question to yourself, you have to get beyond what is staring you in the face. While it might seem like a skill problem (“I don’t know any strength building exercises”) may in fact be a mindset or emotion matter (“I’m scared of free weights” or “I don’t believe these exercises will help me even if I do them”). Be persistent in posing the question “What is holding me back?” again and again until you hit the source of your exact issue.
After you’ve acknowledged the trouble, you can devise a plan to tackle it. If it really is a skill issue, you can read a book or take a course. If it’s a mindset or emotion issue, you can work with a personal trainer, coach or friend to assist you to knock down these obstacles.
By asking yourself this question, you will reap huge results.
In my book, Train Your Brain, I talk about why you set obstacles in front of yourself. It is your survival brain fighting to keep everything the same (safe). I tell you how to turn this super powerful force into your own Special Forces A-Team that will go out and fight for the goals you want for yourself.