Posts

11 Ways We Hold Ourselves Back From Our Goals

Hello 2015! Are you still waiting until tomorrow or next week to start working on your resolutions? Well, why have you waited for the past year? We shouldn’t have to wait to make changes that benefit our lives.

Of the 45% of Americans that make New Years Resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving them. Chances are, many of our resolutions have been carried on from year to year. I am a firm believer that we create our own obstacles to growth but that that we can overcome them and live an amazing life! Often the difficulty is created by our mind, rather than the task itself.

The following are some of the reasons that keep us from achieving our goals anytime of the year.

1. Unreasonable expectations

We are incredibly hard on ourselves, and it doesn’t help that we are constantly trying to be “better,” “fitter,” “richer,” etc. We strive for a different version of ourselves and are never satisfied. How many of us also finally reach our goal only to find something else to try to “fix?”

Solution: Many of us are also striving for perfection, which is unattainable; so when we don’t achieve this we feel disappointment. There is nothing wrong with having high standards, but make sure it’s reasonable goal. Look at your goals from the perspective of improving meaningful attributes of your life. Instead of wanting to be a certain size or shape, think about wanting to be healthy. This approach will help you achieve your goals in ways that are directed toward self-respect rather than superficial ideals.

2. Wanting instant results

Results don’t happen overnight, and neither do the things we are trying to change. We are creatures of habit, and changing habits takes time (they say it takes 21 days…)

Solution: Delayed gratification is important. For example, while a weight loss pill may take the weight off in a short period of time, you still have not made the changes to your diet and lifestyle that will lead you to gain the weight back once you have stopped the pill. Healthy life changes should be part of a daily regimen, not packed into 2 months at the beginning of the year. 

3. Trying to do too much, too fast

New Years Resolutions are exciting. It gives us something to talk about and something to look forward to. Sometimes, however, the excitement drives us to do everything at once and this can be overwhelming. This can lead to burn-out, frustration and may prevent us from taking any more steps to moving toward our goals.

Solution: Focus on what you are capable of fitting into your schedule and prioritize. Cleaning the attic can probably wait. Make a daily commitment to yourself and set short-term goals. Exercise a few days per week or set a time every day to throw away things that you no longer use. Chip away at short term goals and you will be where you want to in no time.

“Embrace that your perfection lies in the fact that you are imperfect.”

4. Excuses

Anyone can make time for what they prioritize. TALK is cheap. The time you spend talking can be time spent doing.

Solution: Avoid procrastination. Get started on your goals now. If you don’t start today, when will you?

5. Focusing only on the outcome

Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination. If you do achieve your goal, how much satisfaction will you have if the process was tedious and stressful? It’s important to have your goal in mind but the way there may not pan out how you expect. It will, however, flourish into a life changing experience what will serve you in the best possible way.

Solution: Let it flow. Make it fun. Want to eat healthy? Find fun recipes or make cooking an enjoyable family affair. Are you dreading the gym? Why not join a dance fitness class or walk outside and enjoy the scenery?

6. Focusing on the past

During any time of reflection we tend to look at all the “mistakes” we made. This brings up many different emotions, such as, regret and not feeling capable of change. This is natural. If we did not have these feelings, we would not think about making any changes. We keep bad habits alive by focusing on them.

Solution: We tend to avoid uncomfortable feelings and repress them only for them to come up again. These negative emotions lead to us avoiding making positive changes or having the clarity to find solutions. While it’s very important to allow ourselves to feel our emotions, avoid dwelling in regret, anger or depression. Keep the pity party short and focus your energy on moving forward.

Happy Healthy Life7. Self-induced pressure

We can be our own worst enemy. Making significant changes is stressful, and the less stress you create will allow for a smooth and enjoyable process.

Solution: If you feel pressure from yourself, monitor your self- talk. Anytime you feel you have to/need to/should do something, you will likely feel resistance to it. Often wanting to change something prevents us from taking steps to change. Let go of wanting to change and start changing, NOW. Here are a few other ways we may subconsciously be sabotaging our path to success:

8. Self-pity

It’s important to accept that we are responsible for our lives, so this means accepting our part in whatever we have gotten ourselves into (nobody forces us to eat unhealthy food or smoke) and to stop blaming others.

Solution: Like in number 6 above, it’s ok to let yourself feel the sadness or regret for a limited period of time. Then tell yourself, “I made some mistakes, I am human. I accept and forgive myself for what I did in the past. The past is in the past and I am going to pick myself back up and make positive changes.” Remember, life is filled with negatives and positives and without mistakes and failures we would not learn for the better. If we can accept that fact, life will be a lot easier.

9. Resistance to letting go

Many people want different things but are hestitant to change. We like easy and comfortable, but remember, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Change takes effort. It means stepping out of our comfort zone. Changes are only difficult if we think they will be.

Solution: In order to make room for the new in our lives, we need to let go of the old. This may mean letting go of old household items, old habits, old ways of thinking, or even relationships with certain people; things we hold on to even though they are the very things that create the unhappiness we feel.

10. Fear of failure

Fears are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you never try, how will you know?

Solution: Recognize the fear, but don’t let it hold you back. Life will go on if you don’t achieve your goals. Learn from the experience and try again with a different approach. Look at “mistakes” as learning experiences, not failures. If you get off track, don’t be hard on yourself. Pick yourself back up and try again. Never give up on yourself. You are worthy of living a happy and healthy life.

11. The “C” word: Can’t

Solution: How will you know if you don’t try? If you have tried in the past and it didn’t work out, identify how you change your approach. It took Thomas Edison several times before he invented the light bulb, but imagine if he stopped trying because he didn’t think he could?

The time to start making changes to benefit your life is…

NOW!!!

What are some ways you hold yourself back? What are some tips you find helpful in moving forward with your goals? Share below!

Me and my Starbucks Soy Latte

All Years Resolutions- Part 3

Dream big and reach sky high.

Dream big and reach sky high. Me and my iced soy latte.

This post is the last in a 3 part series about why we face challenges in achieving our New Years Resolutions and how to be successful in accomplishing our goals. (See All Years Resolutions- Part 1 and All Years Resolutions- Part 2). I am a firm believer that we create our own obstacles to growth but that that we can overcome them and live an amazing life! Often the difficulty is created by our mind, rather than the task itself.

During any time of reflection we tend to look at all the “mistakes” we made. This brings up many different emotions such as not feeling capable of improving our lives or regrets as to why we let some things get to the point that they have. This is natural. If we did not have these feelings, we would not think about making any changes. It’s very important to allow ourselves to feel the emotions, but to not get stuck dwelling in regret and become angry or depressed. We tend to avoid uncomfortable feelings and repress them only for them to come up again. These negative emotions lead to us avoiding making positive changes or having the clarity to find solutions.

“Embrace that your perfection lies in the fact that you are imperfect.”

Another way we become stuck in our bad habits is by focusing on an issue and making it an even bigger issue. If you feel pressure from yourself, monitor your self- talk. Anytime you feel you have to/need to/should do something, you will likely feel resistance to it. Often wanting to change something prevents us from taking steps to change. Let go of wanting to change and start changing, NOW. Here are a few other ways we may subconsciously be sabotaging our path to success:

Self-Pity: It’s important to accept that we are responsible for our lives, so this means accepting our part in whatever we have gotten ourselves into (nobody forces us to eat unhealthy food or smoke) and to stop blaming others. So if you feel stuck in regret, it’s ok. After letting yourself feel the sadness or regret for a limited period of time, tell yourself, “I made some mistakes, I am human. I accept and forgive myself for what I did in the past. The past is in the past and I am going to pick myself back up and make positive changes.” Remember, life is filled with negatives and positives and without mistakes and failures we would not learn for the better. If we can accept that fact, life will be a lot easier.

Not wanting to change: Many people want different things but feel resistance to changes. We like easy and comfortable, but remember, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Change takes effort. It means stepping out of our comfort zone. Changes are only difficult if we think they will be. In order to make room for the new in our lives, we need to let go of the old. This may mean letting go of old household items, old habits, old ways of thinking, or even relationships with certain people; things we hold on to even though they are the very things that create the unhappiness we feel.

Fear of failure: Fears are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you never try, how will you know? And what happens if you do not achieve your goals? Life will go on. Learn from the experience and try again with a different approach. Remember we all make mistakes. Look at “mistakes” as learning experiences, not failures.

If you get off track, don’t be hard on yourself. Chances are you have given up and look at where it has gotten you. Pick yourself back up and try again. Never give up on yourself. You are worthy of living a happy and healthy life.

Avoid thinking that you can’t either. How will you know if you don’t try? If you have tried and could not, try changing your approach. It took Thomas Edison several times before he invented the light bulb, but imagine if he stopped trying because he didn’t think he could?

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

The time to start making changes to benefit your life is NOW. More posts to come on how to lose weight successfully but until then…..

ALWAYS REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING:

1. You are human

2. You (and all human beings) make mistakes and are not perfect

3. Embrace that your perfection lies in the fact that you are imperfect

4. You are worthy of a happy and healthy life

5. Make positive changes while realizing all of the above and you will start seeing some beautiful things in your life! 

All Year’s Resolutions- Part 2

From one of my faves: Lululemon Athletica

From one of my faves: Lululemon Athletica

Hello 2014! Are you still waiting until next week to start working on your resolutions? Well, why? Why have you waited for the past year? Last month I wrote in my post All Years Resolutions- Part 1 that we shouldn’t have to wait to make changes that benefit our lives. Of the 45% of Americans that make New Years Resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving them. Chances are, many of our resolutions have been carried on from year to year. The following are some of the reasons that keep us from achieving our goals.

Unreasonable expectations: We as human beings are incredibly hard on ourselves and it does not help that we are constantly trying to be “better,” “fitter,” “richer,” etc. We constantly strive for this different version of ourselves and are never satisfied. How many of us finally reach our goal only to find something else to try to “fix?” Many of us are also striving for perfection, which is unattainable; so when we don’t achieve this we feel disappointment. (For those of you struggling with your body image, I suggest you watch this video on airbrushing in advertising). There is nothing wrong with having high standards, but make sure it is an attainable goal. I also encourage you to look at your goals from the perspective of improving meaningful attributes of your life. Instead of wanting to be a certain size or shape, think about wanting to be healthy. If you approach it this way you will achieve your goals in ways that are directed at self-respect rather than at superficial ideals. For example, wanting to be healthy rather than “hot” will help you make the choices that will eventually lead to a healthy looking body.

Wanting instant results: Certain issues did not happen overnight. We are creatures of habit so changing habits takes some time (they say it takes 21 days…) Healthy life changes should be part of a daily regimen, not to be packed into 2 months of the beginning of the year. Remember, delayed gratification is important. Let’s take weight loss, for example. While a weight loss pill may take the weight off in a short period of time, you still have not made the changes to your diet and lifestyle that will lead you to gain the weight back once you have stopped the pill.

Trying to do too much too fast: New Years Resolutions are exciting. It gives us something to talk about and something to look forward to starting off the new year. Sometimes, however, the excitement drives us to do everything at once and this can be overwhelming. This can lead to not being able to balance everything else in our lives and eventually to burn-out. This in turn leads to frustration and may prevent us from taking any more steps to making changes or moving toward our goals. Instead, focus on what you are capable of fitting into your schedule and prioritize. Cleaning the attic can probably wait. Make a daily commitment to yourself and set short term goals. Let’s take a look at some common resolutions and some examples of how to make daily changes related to each:

– Weight Loss: It’ s probably not a good idea to start P90X if you haven’t been physically active for awhile. You may either injure yourself, or feel ill afterward and hate the thought of any exercise in the future. A better option would be to start off slow with walking or light exercise to build up both endurance and strength and then gradually increase the intensity of your workout. Also get in the habit of exercising when you get home on certain days of the week. Don’t forget to choose the healthy food options on your lunch break.

This is not considered exercise

NOTE: This is not considered exercise

– Organization issues: Everyday throw away a few things you don’t need. Get in the habit of putting things away right after you use them. Clean up any messes before going to bed so that you can wake up to a fresh start!

– Debt issues: Cancel a subscription to that magazine you never read. Cook instead of eating out (this will also help with weight loss!)… who knows, with the money you save you may be able to take that dream vacation on your list after all!

These are only a few examples of little things you can do, and these changes will add up in the long term. Remember, change takes time and if we do not achieve all of our goals in one month we still have a whole year and a whole life to do so. (This does not mean putting things off however!)

ExcusesAnyone can make time for what they prioritize. TALK is cheap. The time you spend talking can be time spent doing. Avoid procrastination. Get started on your goals now. If you don’t start your exercise regimen today, when will you?

Focusing only on the outcome: Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination. It’s important to have your goal in mind but the way there may not pan out how you expect. And if you do achieve your goal, how much satisfaction will you have if the process was tedious and stressful? Let it flow. Make it fun. Want to eat healthy? Find fun recipes or make cooking an enjoyable family affair. Are you dreading the gym? Why not join a dance fitness class or walk outside and enjoy the scenery?

The next post is about the mental and emotional obstacles that prevent us from achieving our goals. Until then I ask you, what has kept you from accomplishing your goals?

 

Aunna Pourang, MD is a board certified family physician who lives in Jacksonville, FL. It is her journey to wholeness that she learned the importance of healing the mind, body and spirit to bring true happiness and health to her life. It is through this blog she wishes to help others do the same. 

The Universal Fire

photo-23

I love meaningful song lyrics, especially ones that resonate with the heart. After listening to James Blunt’s song “Bonfire Heart,” I started thinking about the mystical notion known as L-O-V-E.

Typically, in movies and songs, love is portrayed as romantic attachment between 2 people. Love is so much more than that though. It’s when our hearts feel open when a baby is born or when we hug a close friend. It’s beauty in nature and appreciation for the moment.  It’s a smile, laughter, and prayer to our Higher Power. It’s being grateful even when we feel like our world is shattering beneath us. Love is respect, happiness, peace, forgiveness, <insert any positive word, thought, feeling, adjective, person, place, thing here because I really could go on…>

I would also argue that a spark already exists in the bonfire hearts of our souls. Some bonfires may be barely flickering underneath the damp leaves and sticks made up of sadness, resentment, regret, disease, addiction <insert all things negative here.> Many bonfires, however, are glowing with compassion, kindness, gratitude and positivity.

My point is, the fire is always present in all of us. Love is our true nature. All it takes to rekindle these inherent embers is to become aware of the ashes of negativity and to burn through them. This requires letting go of the past, forgiving ourselves and others, and treating ourselves and others with respect. It requires Love. And for those of you whose fires are blazing, keep spreading the light of your love. Love is flammable, and what you give out, you get back.

With 2014 less than 24 hours away, think of ways you can add to the spark of the bonfire hearts of yourselves, others and the world. James Blunt is right, we don’t need that much. We already have it. Have a safe and Happy New Year! – Dr. A