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Self-Awareness - The Key to Creating Long Lasting Change!

Have you ever started an exercise goal and jumped in head over heels, only to find yourself giving up a few weeks later?

By Stuart Perry, Personal Trainer at Bangor

If so, don’t worry because most of us have too! A huge part of this process is a lack of self awareness, when we begin a health and fitness journey we often think we have to do it the same way as an Instagram influencer or our friend who is really into training. This simply isn’t true! A key step I see people miss everyday is taking a moment and saying to yourself “is this actually something that I will enjoy? Have I made a plan that relies on my day going as expected or am I able to stick to and enjoy this process on a bad day too?”.

If you take nothing else away from this article let it be this: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your structure and systems”. This mightn’t sounds as sexy as the six minute six pack ads but it’s the truth, so when reflecting on yourself and the goals you’re setting take a minute to think does my current system match the level of goal that I am setting? Have I built a routine that I can keep up only on a good day? Or is this something that is in my control even on a bad day?

I like to think about it like this, everything costs something right? So the bigger the goal the bigger the “cost” whether that be a time cost or a sacrificing social events cost. Understanding this when setting a goal often helps keep us grounded; see every time you set a goal and fail at it, it develops a relationship with goal setting and over time this can lead to a painful feedback loop you perceive will happen each time you put your efforts in a goal so you avoid any full commitment or vulnerability towards a health and fitness goal in turn self-sabotaging.

Now I know what your thinking that all sounds pretty negative, but don’t worry there is hope! It works the other way too! Every time you set a goal and achieve it, you help create a positive feedback loop as you work towards and eventually achieve the goal so you begin to associate goal setting with the good feeling of achievement and the positive changes in your life because of it. Over time this loop helps you develop a more open and willing outlook towards change and future goals you set.

Ok, so obviously option number two sounds like what we would all prefer, so how do we create that situation? It begins with setting a goal equal to the amount of change you can facilitate in your life. Lets say you want to run a marathon but only have 1 hour spare per week to exercise, in this situation the person doesn’t have the capacity for the change and effort required in their life to achieve that goal. So the goal must be changed otherwise we run a very high risk to setting a goal that is going to create a negative feedback loop.

The point I’m getting at here, is when your goal is long term change such as lose weight AND keep it off, the keep it off part is the long term change. You should be just as focused on your relationship with the process as you are on the initial result, and week to week results as your relationship with the process is going to govern whether you can keep it up long term. If you want the change to be long lasting, learn to create a process and relationship with an active healthy lifestyle you enjoy.

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