Episode 39: 6 Thoughts That are Holding You Back with Susan Dangerfield

Episode Summary

It is the end of January and for those of you that set goals at the beginning of the year, you might be feeling tired and discouraged and disappointed.  But I want you to know that this is only because of your thoughts!  

Whenever we go after a goal and decide to spend energy growing and evolving and stretching, our brain wants us to stop.  And so it offers us limiting thoughts about our progress, our identity, our capacity, our limitations, and our decisions.

The truth is that the only thing that really gets in the way of completing and achieving our goals is our own brain—our own thoughts.  We could continue taking action forever, if our own brain wasn’t always trying to talk us out of it.

In this special episode of the podcast, I invited my health and fitness coach, Susan Dangerfield, to talk about the most common thoughts that keep us stuck when we’re pursuing our goals, and how to get around the objections offered by our brains so that we can achieve exactly what we want in our lives.

Episode Tools and Questions

On this episode, I invited my health and fitness coach, Susan Dangerfield, to join me to talk about some of the most common thoughts that keep us from continuing towards are goals—these are the thoughts that make us give up, keep us from trying, and stop us from creating what we want in our lives.

We talked about these limiting thoughts in terms of health and fitness, but you can apply these thoughts and the tools to any goal you have. Ask yourself how the following thoughts might be keeping you stuck and then apply Susan’s perspective and insights to dispel these thoughts and continue towards your goals.

1.  Results should be fast and obvious. (A companion thought to this thought is “It’s not working.)

Achieving our goals isn’t fast. It’s a gradual process of change and it will move slower than you expect. It is only our expectation that it should go at a certain pace or should occur in a fast, linear way, is what gets us discouraged.

Look at the ways you measure progress. Don’t use the “end goal” as the measurement. Notice the little victories, the little movements. You should have lots of tools to measure your progress.

Set yourself up from the beginning with reasonable expectations for both your actions and your results. Look at your action plan and then ask yourself:

  • Can I do this for more than a few weeks?
  • Is this something I can be consistent with beyond January?

2.  I can’t change. I’ve never been a person who can do this.

When you think you can’t change, look at your processes instead of comparing ourselves to someone else.

Tweak your approach so you can prove to yourself that you are someone who can change. Look at your action plan, and ask yourself:

  • Are you ready?
  • Are you willing?
  • Are you able?

Sometimes we just need a different approach. Start where you are and build momentum in a realistic, step-by-step approach.

  • What change do you feel ready for?

3.  It’s too…(hard, restrictive, much work, time consuming)

These “it’s too’s” are just the way our brain justifies not taking action or doing the hard work required to reach our goal.

Make a list of all the things that you do on a day-to-day basis. Notice what you make time for, what you do even though it might be difficult or take time. Acknowledge that you do them anyway because they are a priority.

When we can take charge of our life and define our own priorities in terms of our goal, we can eliminate the “It’s too…” excuses our brain is offering.

4.  I’ve messed up, I guess I’ll just give up.

  • Can you get curious about WHY you didn’t meet your commitment instead of getting frustrated?

Be the scientist and try and discover why you aren’t taking action rather than judging yourself and getting down on yourself. Think of it all as practice.

The patterns you are establishing are so much more important than that “one moment” of failure.

Think of your choices on a sliding scale, from 1-10. As we progress towards our goals, we won’t have a 10 every day. We have setbacks. We have off-days. Be comfortable with the middle ground. A 6 or 7 still gets us closer to our ultimate result than a 1. Perfection is the enemy of progress.

  • What can you do every day that gets you a little bit closer to your goal?

5.  It doesn’t matter.

This is another thought our brain uses to justify ourselves when it feels hard to keep our commitment to ourselves. We tell ourselves we don’t care about the goal or that it doesn’t matter. But when we do this over and over again, we are in a sense telling ourselves that we don’t matter.

This is when it is really important to be really clear about your WHY. Then if you struggle with consistency, you can go back and look at the reasons about why it does matter. And if it did matter then, then it probably still matters.

What really matters in the end is that we are building a relationship with ourselves. The more we meet our commitment to ourselves, overcoming our brain to do the work anyway, the more capacity to grow in every area.

6.  I have to change to be acceptable.

Sometimes people pursue health and fitness goals to feel confident. However, confidence is not the result of reaching our goal. Confidence is a feeling that only ever comes from our thoughts. When we use our goals to beat ourselves up or meet some sort of arbitrary standard outside of ourselves, it is very painful way to pursue those goals.

Make a list of two to three things every day that you love about your body. Changing the thought process of where we are putting our focus can be a game changer and can help us continue healthy habits for life.

Going after any of our goals shouldn’t be a negative thing. It should be a positive, powerful, strengthening part of our life and this is possible when we adopt a positive mindset and view of ourselves.

Sohee Lee explains "the paper towel effect"

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