FINDING MOTIVATION WHEN FAILURE GETS IN THE WAY.
Starting a new regime is difficult. And achieving success with a new regime is even harder. For most of us, we are constantly starting and stopping things. The problem for most of us is finding the motivation to keep going and being scared of the big ‘F’.
Starting a new regime involves changing your lifestyle.
Unfortunately this involves work on your part.
• You have to find time.
• You have to make changes to the life that has taken all your adult life to build.
• You have to change habits.
Why bother with all of that!
Well, if you’re like me, you have to do it to enjoy life.
It’s not going to be easy. You can do it…
Related: Establishing Healthy Habits.
WHY DO WE FAIL OUR GOALS
We’re always postponing things for later and then never end up doing what was intended.
It then becomes too late.
We blame things on circumstances.
We spend endless amounts of time convincing ourselves that we are too tired.
We’ve not got the time. Or we can’t do because of [fill in your excuse]. I can’t, can’t, can’t.
You’re not alone. I’ve made these excuses too.
I’m sure you often question why you make excuses. Is it that you can’t do it? Is it that you have no time?
All you need is a plan of action!
It’s that easy.
But for most of us this seems like a huge chore.
The problem is being too
• Scared of change.
• Scared of failure.
• Stuck in a comfort zone.
And dare I say it.
That’s why I’ve put off doing things and I’m sure you and many people follow this pattern.
Committing to change our routines
Commitment to a goal can be difficult, we have spent years developing our routines.
We get up in the morning. Get dressed for work. Eat the same bland cereal every morning. Commute to work, and do eight hours of work. Commute home. Eat dinner and watch TV. We get ready for bed and aim to sleep for eight hours a day. And repeat the next day.
Finding 10 minutes to exercise in the morning prior to dashing off to work seems impossible.
Oh,don’t forget, you have to commit to this every day.
Or is it the fear of the unknown.
It would be much easier if we had a crystal ball to see our future selves so we can view our success.
Unfortunately that’s not possible, so we have no choice but to leap in with both feet and hope that we can achieve.
Failure and change
Stepping out into the unknown is incredibly frightening. You have that voice telling you that you will fail, so there’s no point in starting.
Maybe you’re scared of failing your family and friends. Or even bigger, scared of failing yourself.
This has been a big one for me. It’s took me a long time to be OK with what is seen as “failure”.
It’s an ego boost to have success and share your successes with others.
Failure on the other is not so great.
The problem is not the failure. It’s our mindset about failure.
THE 3 STAGES OF FAILURE
I stumbled across an article by James Clear. James explains three stages of failure. The link to the article is here. It views things from a business and entrepreneurial point of view. But can easily cross over into personal goals too.
James explains that we fail due to not having visions, strategies and tactics.
We spend so much time setting a goal. But fail to have things in place to measure achievements.
When I’ve set myself a goal with no plan and unachievable deadlines, I’ve always failed them.
It always ends in getting upset when I’ve not achieved success and frustrating when it seems to be taking too long to see results.
For myself, healing my body to have fewer symptoms was and still is my vision.
My strategies have been to use yoga and diet to achieve my vision.
My tactics involve daily activities to nourish my body with healthy foods and having a daily yoga practice.
My biggest hurdles have been the daily things I have to do to be well. But throughout my journey I’ve always stuck to my vision, back then I did it and I continue, to this day.
It’s quite easy to fail these stages. Failure at one stage producing a domino affect, making you give up on everything. I believe the most important thing is to keep that vision going.
We must expect that we may fail our tactics, and we need to expect that strategies will need to be changed. This is not a failure, we just need to amend things as we go along.
Below I will give you a clearer picture of tactics, strategies and visions.
I’ll use a fictitious name, Stephanie. And use the example below.
Stephanie recently went to the doctor expressing that she has very little energy. Tests confirm she has type 2 diabetes. Her doctor has recommended that she needs to lose some weight.
She has decided:
• She needs to take control of her lifestyle. She wants to have more energy and lose weight. This is the vision.
• To use walking to lose weight and boost her energy. This is the strategy.
• To walk in the evenings at 6pm for 30 minutes every day. This is the tactic.
It is recommended that to avoid failing a tactic you must
• Record your process.
• Measure your outcomes.
• Review and adjust your tactics.
Using the example, of aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day at 6pm.
Imagine Stephanie has been walking for about three weeks.
But this week hasn’t been going well. She’s had to change her working hours and doesn’t return home from work until 8pm.
This has impacted on the time she has to go out for her walk, which was 6pm. She’s only managed to walk twice this week which was during her time off over the weekend.
At the end of the week, she’s feeling like a complete failure and decides there’s no point in carrying on. So gives up on her tactic, which affects the strategy and further her vision.
Instead of feeling low. She needs to
1. Record the process
• Which was to walk daily at 6pm every day for 30 minutes
2. Measure her outcomes
• She’s walked 2 out of 7 times this week. But previously walked consistently for 14 days. This should be seen as a success.
3. Review and adjust her tactics
• Stephanie could change the time she walks.
• She could walk before she goes out to work.
• If she takes public transport, she could get off a few stops earlier.
• She could reduce the length of time and walk 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes.
When looking at strategy, it is recommended to
• Launch it quickly.
• Do it cheaply.
• Revise it rapidly.
The examples above are based around the business world. Although, this can affect our personal lives too.
I would revise these slightly, suggesting that you
• Work on your strategy straight away.
• Test your strategy without giving too much of your energy. Testing to see if you enjoy it.
• Revise your strategy if it’s not working.
Continuing with our example of using walking as a strategy and our fictitious character.
Stephanie has been walking for three weeks. But has found it difficult to walk as her working hours have changed, and she struggles to find the motivation when she’s tired.
Her friend recommends an exercise class at a local gym. She attends and really enjoys the class and has attended three classes in the last week. She finds that committing to a class helps with motivation.
She misses walking and wants to find time to walk as it helps her to relax.
She feels like a failure!
Stephanie has made success without realising. Below is an example of how Stephanie needs to identify her strategy.
1. Stephanie has worked on her strategy promptly by.
• Attending a new exercise class, which she enjoys.
• She’s continuing to walk as a strategy.
• But needs to change her tactic to
walk for less time and/or reduce
the amount of times per week.
2. Stephanie has tested her strategy without giving too much of her energy, to see if she enjoys it.
• Stephanie has tested her exercise class and really enjoys it.
• She enjoys walking due to the relaxation. She needs to adjust her tactics.
3. Stephanie need to revise her strategy if it’s not working.
• Stephanie has identified that her walking is not working.
• She could continue with walking as
a strategy and change her tactics.
• Or just focus on the exercise
class which she enjoys and keeps
When failing a vision, it’s recommended that you
• Take stock of your life.
• Determine your non-negotiable.
• Navigate criticism.
James Clear recommends that we must have our own vision, and not live by someone else’s view of what you need to do. You can only choose things that only you enjoy.
In my case, my choice has been to use yoga as a form of exercise and relaxation. I also enjoy walking. This is my choice and may not be yours. It would be unfair of me to dictate that my vision should become your vision.
Your non-negotiable is something that you are not willing to give up to achieve the vision. For me, my non-negotiable is my family, it has to work around my family and it’s my role to educate my family that I need chunks of time to achieve my vision.
Navigating criticism is a biggie. Over the years of working on my vision using diet and yoga. I’ve had the following comments.
• Yoga is just about chanting ommmmmm?
• All you eat is rabbit foods!
• Are you trying to lose weight!
• Why aren’t you eating meat, are you a vegetarian?
• You can’t survive eating that!
• How can you enjoy yoga, that’s not real exercise.
• Yoga’s too easy, you need to go to the gym.
• Have you changed your religion.
This is just a few, the list is endless. Many times these views have upset me. But I continue with my vision. There will be haters along the way. You must ignore them, don’t let them destroy your vision, your dream.
Back to Stephanie’s vision….
Stephanie’s vision is to feel well after a recent diagnosis of illness.
Stephanie has taken charge of her life and has made steps to achieve wellness.
It’s important her vision fits in around her work.
Her vision has caused her to spend less time with her friends. Her friends are making unhelpful comments. She feels guilt as she’s not been able to have her regular catch up with her group of friends once a week.
Stephanie needs to:
1. Take stock of her life.
• Stephanie has made a life changing vision.
2. Determine her non-negotiables.
• She knows that tactics and strategies must work around her work, as she may need it to achieve her vision.
• Stephanie might benefit explaining her vision to her friends. If her friends are unwilling to accept this, she will need to create some distance from them.
• She needs to hear positive views from her friends.
Related: This article by James Clear brilliantly outlines issues you may have from people who aren’t supportive with your vision. Click here to view
Failure should be seen as success too. You need to view failure as being another route to success.
I’m sure, you can think of times in your life that a “so called” failure of a goal has led to you being successful.
An example could be a course that you’ve taken and you’ve failed the exam.
The failure of the exam then leads you to take a different course which suits your interests. You have success with your new course and go on to carve out an exciting career.
Your initial failure became your success. A change in your vision, strategies and tactics had to be made. If it were not for the failure you wouldn’t have had your new path.
Most people want the perfect house, perfect job and perfect body now, becoming upset if it’s not achieved or not achieved instantly. But, we have to realise that it takes work, and will be achieved in time. We’ll possibly have lots of little failures along the way. And that’s OK!
When I started to change my lifestyle in my early 20s, I would get frustrated that the pounds weren’t shifting quickly. I didn’t want to fail as I wanted to feel better. I’d also told close friends and family what I was doing, some were not very happy as they felt my new regime was too extreme.
I didn’t want to fail and hear “I told you so”.
I had to keep going, blocking negativity. I was determined to accomplish my vision.
To achieve, I had to continue with the daily tactics. Some days I didn’t want to do it. But I was determined to achieve my vision of wellness.
A change of mindset doesn’t happen instantly. Keep slogging away at the daily things you need to do to achieve. If you’re anything like me your mindset will subtly start to change.
Practice and routine is what it takes to achieve. We have to accept that achievement takes time, and to not expect results straight away.
Failure tends to happen when we are reluctant to follow a different path and want results instantly.
Instead, be patient and accept that you may need to take a different path to when you started.
The focus should be on the vision, and less on mastering a goal. We shouldn’t be striving for perfection.
Also set realistic time frames or don’t set them at all. I find being to rigid with time has caused me to get upset and quit things in the past.
Don’t set too many mini tasks that will steer you away from reaching your dreams.
Your vision may be to lose weight.
You may want to lose 14 pounds in 12 months. That’s the goal.
Within that goal you may have lots of mini tasks or strategies and tactics that you need to focus on. This could be
• Joining a gym
• Walking everyday
• Cutting out chocolate
• Eating more fruits and vegetables.
• Exercising twice a day
• Cutting out dairy
• Cutting out meat
Doing all of this straight away will most likely lead to failure. We need to focus our efforts on one or two tasks.
Measure how things are going. Achieve success. Then move on to next task.
Keep track of your activities. Look back on the progress you’ve made physically and emotionally. You might be having a bad day but keep being aware of how far you’ve come along since starting.
HOW CAN YOU STOP POSTPONING
You have to change that little voice in your head telling you to fail. I wish I could tell you that you will achieve all your dreams. But unfortunately there is only one person who can do that for you.
That person is YOU.
The famous sports manufacturer said it. And I’m saying it. Just do it. Give it a go. If you don’t do it, you’ll never know what the results will be.
• Stop procrastinating
• Don’t take it too seriously
• Aim to do something daily to achieve your vision.
• Don’t aim to change everything quickly. You have a lifetime!
You have to make choices in order for YOU to change. It may be a long, short or bumpy road to drive on. Enjoy the drive!
Your vision should be set, but you can always change your strategies and tactics.
• Don’t get too attached to the plan.
• Recognise if something is or isn’t going to plan. If it’s not, break that down into something more achievable.
• Initially try two things and pick out the one that resonates with you the most.
• Go with the flow, have fun and enjoy the journey!
Live your vision.
You can do it.
I’ve got your back…
I’m Cheryl. I’m on a quest to help and share what I’ve learnt about nutrition, yoga, autoimmune disease, hormones and joint disease.
I’m a sufferer of the above diseases and have used yoga and nutrition to manage my illnesses. Success with my health led me to become a qualified Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher.