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Why Can’t I Be More Consistent With My Goals? My journey from stopping and starting to finally getting things done.

By Joy + Love| Joyce Loveless

FRI MAR 26, 2021

I could consistently show up for carpool.
I could consistently do the laundry.
I could consistently empty my email inbox.
But consistently show up for the commitments I made for myself?
Get out of here.
If you have ever wondered to yourself, why can’t I figure this out?
Let me tell you something:
Consistency requires SYSTEMS, not willpower. ​
​You have goals and strong intentions of getting your health in balance. You want to eat better, get more sleep, do more yoga, prioritize your self-care, just to name a few. ​
​You start strong, even announce it in a Facebook post, but eventually life happens, pandemic, school schedules, fill in the blank throws a giant wrench in your best laid plans, and things go back to the way they were, only with an extra dose of guilt and self-blame to go with it.
​I used to always make beautiful, lofty goals, but then something would happen to distract me and then would come frustration, disappointment, and basically just giving up. ​
It got to the point of why even bother.
And then I realized I could be consistent for things that weren’t about me.
The reason I could show up for carpool, laundry and emails was because I had a system for doing so, but for the goals I had for my health?
I was relying only on motivation and willpower.
So how did I get unstuck and move towards greater consistency? By putting the Four I’s Framework in action.
The Four I’s framework is a process that when fully implemented changes your goals into your lifestyle:
The Four I’s Framework Is:
Intention Why do you want to achieve this goal? Why is this something you desire? Most goals focus on outcomes, such as “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to be healthy”. When you dig deeper and truly focus on your why, you can tap your internal motivation. Simply add “so I can…” to your goal. For example, “I want to lose 10 pounds SO I CAN reduce your medication or have the energy to play with your kids. If after doing this, the goal still feels external or too broad, do another round of SO I CAN.
The importance of tapping into your intention is critical to building consistency. Willpower will only get you so far. Maybe you can tap into willpower for a week, a month or a year, but once the external goal is reached, the motivation to keep going can dwindle. I compare willpower to the kindling in a fire, it can get a fire started, burning faster and hotter, but if you want to sustain it, you need the logs and their slow, simmering heat. Consider your intentions your logs.
Implementation speaks to your when, how and what in goal setting. It puts action behind your goals. Goals without actions are a dream. Achievable goals are time bound with specific steps identifying what you will do to make them happen.
Beyond specificity, the when, how and the what of your goals need to make sense for you. Sometimes plans and strategies are chosen that make sense for someone else, but not for you and your context. Choosing a workout plan that includes running in the snow when you like neither running or the snow will not be sustainable.
For most people, as they set their goals, they stop here. They have goals identified, check. A plan to achieve the goals, check. What they don’t realize is that these two steps are only 20% of the work.
The next 80% come from the next half of the framework.
Initiative speaks to the mindset, beliefs and the way you choose to show up for your goal. If you are dreading your goal, already thinking you won’t be successful, well you are probably right. If you do not change the way you think and feel, all the plans in the world will not work.
This step requires you to become the version of you that will take the necessary steps to achieve your goals. You become the person who wakes up at 5 am to workout or the person who prepares their meals at home. You go all in on your goals, 100% heart and mind.
It also means recognizing the mindset blocks that are telling you you can’t do it and reframing them so that they empower and affirm you.
Inspiration: Whether from friends, a trainer or a coach, surround yourself with people who will encourage and root for you and your vision. That AND is important. Sometimes you can have people around you who root for you, so when you say you are tired, they tell you to sit down. You need someone to also root for your vision, who will remind you that you still need to go for your daily walk or that yes, that one bite of cake will hurt you.
As a wellness coach, my job is to hold on to my client’s vision, to celebrate them as they take aligned action towards their goals and to tell them the truth when they are getting in their own way.
That is not to negate personal responsibility. You are still responsible for your choices and the consequences of your decisions, whether positive or negative. To remain consistent, you too have to encourage, celebrate and coach yourself, entering into the goal setting from an empowered place.
It’s from this framework that I have been able to take my goals and make them my lifestyle allowing my goals to become WHO I am and not just WHAT I am trying to achieve.
What’s next?
Ready to break the cycle of inconsistency so you can finally achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself?
Do you still feel a little confused about what specific steps to take?
Request to join my free Facebook group, Your Second Act: Self-care at Midlife

(Reprinted from Medium, March 26, 2021 https://joycecloveless.medium.com/why-cant-i-be-more-consistent-to-my-goals-8aec3b1a99dc)