We commonly make sweeping statements about getting fit and losing weight:
“Oh, I really need to go on a diet”
“Oh, I’d love to lose weight”
“Oh, I should join the gym”
“Oh, I must start that new supplement diet”
“Oh, I had better start my fitness programme, only 4 weeks to the dinner dance”
“Oh, I’ll try and start losing weight next week”
Sound familiar? And then we wonder the day before “the big Do” why we just never got around to losing the pounds, joining the gym, cutting down on carbs, etc, etc…
Fitness Success or Failure?
Look back at the quotes above?
How would saying these things help me succeed?
Then ask yourself:
How would saying these things help me not to succeed?
I invite you to really think about the following words: Need to, love to, should, should have, must, try. Say them again, this time out loud: Need to, love to, should, should have, must, try.
Language can be a barrier to success
What resonates for you there? They are only words, but they the very words that we use to give oursleves the permission needed to not be successful or simply not achieve. When I say to someone “I’ll try and make the gym tonight”, that means that if I don’t make the gym, I have provided the escape route for the reason I didn’t make it to the gym. “I said I’d try, but [enter reason here]”
If I had said “I will go to the gym tonight” then I will feel more inclined to follow it through, because if I do not go, there is only one reason why… I did not follow through with my affirmation/promise. Humans do not like to fail, unless they have permission. So we provide that permission in the form of the words mentioned above.
“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” – Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
Here are some examples:
“I really need to go on a diet” – failure guaranteed
“I will start a diet on Monday” – some success expected
“I’d love to lose weight” – failure guaranteed
“I will lose weight for the wedding next month, and begin tomorrow” – certain success expected
“I should join the gym” – failure guaranteed
“I sent the cheque in the post yesterday” – begin to succeed
“I must start that new supplement diet” – failure guaranteed
“I will go to the health store tomorrow and buy my supplements” – success in view
“I had better start my fitness programme, only 4 weeks to the dinner dance” – failure guaranteed
“I have 4 weeks left, so I will go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work, and walk two miles the other days” – success expected
“I’ll try and start losing weight next week” – failure guaranteed
“Next week is my starting point for my new weight-loss programme. I will begin on Wednesday” – affirmation set, feeling the success.
Reasons we fail before we even begin
There are ideas racing around your mind right now, thinking of all the excuses, reasons and stoppers you have come up with in the past to confine yourself and ensure that success doesn’t happen. If a friend was to ask our advice – “Why do I keep messing it up?” I bet my mug collection (and I have a very nice mug collection), that you could come up with just the perfect answer. So turn that right around now and ask yourself “Why do I sabotage my success?” – Now answer: Because…[your answer here].
There are many reasons for self-sabotage, such as procrastination, self-doubt, low self-confidence, low self-esteem. It is ingrained into us as a race. The miracle that is our ability to think things through, analyse and process information can often be the very cause of our failure to follow through with goals and plans. As Cornyn-Selby states: “Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.” I ask you: Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?
We need vision, confidence and outcome
Vision to allow ourselves sense, feel, dream and fantasise about the end result. Confidence to go ahead and make the plans and set the goals. Outcome to follow through to the end and REALLY experience what was just a dream before.
From a personal point of view (if you are interested), I have experienced this first hand many times in my life, and most recently with my fitness programme. I allowed myself a vision, spent time thinking about it and imagining the outcome, which was indeed very pleasing.
It was irrelevant whether I believed I would succeed at this stage, I simply dreamed. With a realistic time scale put into place, I began on the week that I had decided. This was indeed half the battle, simply getting started. Once the first week was down, I really got a sense of success. I could envisage how I would feel and look after 3 months.
However, this was the crucial moment – this is where the self-sabotage could kick in. I could think of 10 excuses not to continue (“What was I thinking anyway?”). I could think of only two reasons to continue, so I consciously decided to go with the two. They were easier to remember if nothing else.
Plan for obstacles and challenges
That got me over the “hump” and my success achieved higher odds immediately. I also worked into my plan the barriers that would appear before me throughout my programme. When these barriers came up – I had a plan to deal with them effectively and objectively.
So next time you make a plan of any kind, think of only the success and what you would do when the obstacles come your way. Decide consciously what you will do when the obstacles and barriers appear. Be ready for them, preempt them so when they arrive, they will not hold you back, emotionally, mentally or physically.
But first ask yourself simply: “Do I really really want this?” “For me?”
Then visualise your success, set your goals with confidence, and work towards the outcome.
If you would like some help with your goals, please feel free to contact us at for more information about personal development, goal setting, coaching and confidence building.