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Achieving your goals - ownership

In the third part of our 'achieving your goals' series, lifestyle coach Effie Parnell-Hopkinson explains how to take ownership and responsibility for goals in order to stay on track.

In the third part of our 'achieving your goals' series, lifestyle coach Effie Parnell-Hopkinson explains how to take ownership and responsibility, in order to stay on track.

By now you have already set your 2021 goals and if you have stuck to them - then congratulations! If you haven’t quite stuck to them 100%, or if you’ve just fallen off the wagon entirely, this is absolutely fine! Relapse is a normal and expected part of progress.

However, if you feel tired of starting again… and again, then I am here to help you find ways to flip your perspective, take ownership and responsibility. This may sound very overwhelming but trust me, it is a great mindset to develop for not only your health and fitness goals but for other aspects of your life, including business and relationships.

Fall in love with the process

You may be in this situation as your initial investment in your health has given you no tangible return. YET! If you are consistent and patient with your methods and learn to love the journey itself, you will undoubtedly reap the benefits in the future. This is the key; if you fall in love with the process of moving towards your goals your progress will improve. This should be done without being fixated on achieving the end result. In the end, the seemingly mundane tasks of exercising and improving your diet will become the things that gives you momentum, rather than drains you of it.

This is where it is important to take ownership and responsibility for your actions. Think about it, blame always feels better initially, but is it always the most helpful? It is vital we move away from the comfort found in constantly blaming our lack of action due to external factors; skipping the gym because you are too busy or ordering an unhealthy takeaway because you too tired. Instead, we must look for ways to make it easier for ourselves to achieve.

Take ownership

By adopting this way of thinking you are no longer playing the role of the victim, you can no longer blame your actions (or lack of) on external factors. Remember that you are in control. Instead of accepting everything is your fault and then lying in a bath of blame and guilt, you must ask yourself questions like, “How am I in control right now? What could I have done differently to get the result I wanted?”. In doing this, you are no longer giving in to failure, but you are automatically developing a plan to overcome obstacles by taking ownership and responsibility.

For example, perhaps you regularly skip the gym because you are too tired after work. By applying a sense of discipline and ownership, you can start to find ways to make it easier for yourself and develop a plan to decrease the chance of it happening again.

Once you have taken ownership, there are a multitude of opportunities you can explore for yourself. Perhaps morning workouts would be better suited for you, and then you can relax in the evenings instead? Perhaps you could fit in a workout with a friend, to make it more enjoyable for yourself. You could even lay your workout clothes out ready for when you get home from work. Or even better, pack your bag with your workout clothes the night before work so you can take them with you and head straight to the gym.

Perhaps your goal was to cook more nutritious, healthy meals from scratch in the week. If you notice that you regularly feel too tired to cook healthy meals in the evening, and instead snack on bad food and order unhealthy takeaways, this may mean that you are not on progress to reach your goal. Instead of blaming your employer for working you too hard, you could take ownership yourself, and explore options to support yourself to do better.

For example, every week, you could try preparing some ‘ready to go’ healthy food when you do have the time, such as the weekends. Or perhaps you could brainstorm some ‘quick and healthy’ recipe ideas to support you to achieve healthier food quickly in the evenings. Perhaps try hiding (or chucking) any unhealthy food you have in the house, to prevent you from going here simply out of habit when you’re tired. You could try healthy eating with a friend, and therefore share the cooking and cleaning responsibilities which come with it. You could store some of your own healthy ‘ready meals’ in the freezer, ready to reheat on a bad day.

Take some time to reflect on this. None of these opportunities would have entered your mind unless you had taken ownership.

Remember your reasons

Don’t get me wrong, this concept of ownership and responsibility can be a tough pill to swallow and if you are struggling, I would highly recommend reminding yourself about why you started your health journey in the first place. Why did you steer your 2021 goals towards improving your health? What was it that prompted you to change?

Now to bring everything I have spoken about today back this one fundamental question; what is your why? The why is the purpose, cause or belief that drives every single one of us and your why is the one constant that will guide you toward fulfilment in your health, work and life. Once you establish this, you will have clarity on how to move closer to achieving your health goals, whilst taking full ownership and responsibility for your actions.