We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt it—the realization that our goal hasn’t been met and the painful disappointment that we experience at the same time creates powerful negativity. This negativity can be so damaging that it keeps us from trying again or believing that we can have a different outcome. Ugh! I like to categorize this experience and emotional pain as a success obstacle.
Success obstacle(s) can look different for all of us, but I believe if they aren’t addressed in our journey of health and fitness, we will never be able to truly change our lifestyle in a positive manner. We all have ingrained patterns of behavior and thinking, and while I could spend blog post after blog post explaining the psychological theories to support this, I’ll sum up my findings in a few useful tips that I recommend you start implementing as soon as possible if you are trying to improve your overall fitness.
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1) Identify your triggers
The first step in identifying and overcoming a success obstacle is to know your enemy! What foods tempt you? What emotions trigger unhealthy behaviors? What so-called friends and environments initiate a downward spiral in your overall happiness and confidence? If you can start by listing these triggers, you’ll be aware and prepared the next time you encounter them.
2) Eliminating Toxic People
The second step in identifying and overcoming a success obstacle might take a bit more work. As a therapist, I often ask clients to make a list of the 10 people they see the most on a regular basis. Then I have them sort these 10 people into two lists: one, people who make them feel worse or hold them back, and two, people who lift up and encourage them to grow. I’m not saying that the regular people in your life will all fit into the first category. However if you make a list of these 10 people and find that most or all fit in the first category, I suggest you “edit” your regular group and expand to find healthier people in your life. We all deserve love, support and a fan base that will encourage us to grow. And as you seek to improve your overall health, you can’t have people in your life who are holding you back and not supporting you as you make these positive changes.
3) Identify your strengths
The third step in overcoming a success obstacle is to know what you are working with. Another activity I’ve had clients do is to make a list of their talents, innate characteristics, strengths and gifts they can give to others. Without writing these things down, it becomes messy spaghetti. It’s accessible but mixed in with so many other thoughts and facts that it’s hard to differentiate. I want you to know specifically what your strengths are and to have them accessible on a list so you can refer to them as you’re on your fitness journey. There will be difficult days ahead, and if you don’t know what you can do to overcome them, you’re setting yourself up for a perfect success obstacle. This task might seem silly or oversimplified, but I promise you that having a visible and tangible list of strengths will be one of your biggest allies.
Once again, this is a short list to help you overcome the obstacles you will inevitably face along your fitness journey. Becoming a fitter, leaner, healthier person isn’t about spending all of your time in the gym. We need to be able to look within and learn more about our patterns, weaknesses and strengths so we can be prepared to make radical change.
And finally, I leave you with this thought: Success obstacles are truly just minor hurdles that can be erased and/or greatly minimized with a bit of self-investment. Integrate some of these simple exercises we discussed, and you will start seeing positive changes even beyond your shrinking waistline!