One of the most heartbreaking, soul destroying and success hindering comments you can make is “What’s the point in trying”.
Indeed, what is the point. The point is, that trying is the first and therefore the most important part on the journey to succeeding.
One of my most common coaching instructions to my clients is “Just give it a try”.
So you think you can’t lift a heavier weight, “Just give it a try”. If you think you can’t get to bed earlier “Just give it a try”. If you think you can’t give up sugar for a month, “Just give it a try”.
The first step to success is taking the first step. You might just surprise yourself on what you can do.
Goals vs Trying
The first question most health coaches/personal trainers ask though is “What is your goal”. In other words, what is it you want to end up having?
A good question to ask, but is it the most useful one to ask at the start of a journey? Yes, it’s important to know what direction you want to go in, otherwise you might end up at the wrong destination. But what if the first step on the journey is to hard to take?
A more helpful question would be “What is the first step you are willing to take to achieve what you want”? The answer to this question will more than likely tell you want it is the person wants to achieve long-term, but more importantly the answer will tell you what it is they are willing to try to achieve it.
Through my coaching career I have encountered clients who have a real difficulty in setting future based goals. Becoming qualified as a health coach, I was told that first establishing someone’s goal is paramount to helping them. But what about clients that don’t have or don’t like setting goals. Should I just give up on them until they do.
In his brilliant article The Goal Is Not The Point, James Clear describes goals like a treasure hunt which might disappoint, as the treasure you find might not be what you hoped it would be like. He makes the point that you should use the goal as your compass, but it’s the commitment to trying to discover the treasure which is the most important part.
So why is it that so many people are not willing to try and take the first step to succeeding?
One reason could be their belief in what they want to achieve is not as of great value compared to what they believe they have to give up.
Is losing weight going to give them as much pleasure as the discomfort of having to give up drinking alcohol? Or is having to feel sore from exercising hard, better for them than sitting at home watching their favourite TV programmes?
This could be why fast and easy to achieve weight loss programmes sell so well. ‘Eat what you want and lose 2 stone’ (you don’t have give up what you like), ‘try our new waist reducing equipment for only 2 minutes a day’ (you don’t have to give a lot of time and effort).
If the above actually worked then we wouldn’t see new health crazes come out every New Year.
At least they get people to try to make a change, but if after every try they don’t achieve what they hoped, then they are less likely to try again.
Belief vs Trying
Therefore is another reason for people not trying because they truly believe that they won’t be able to achieve long-lasting change, so why bother trying in the first place. If this is the case, then the belief has to change.
This is where the journey is more important than the goal. As a health coach, I believe that your health is either getting better or getting worse due to the habits, behaviours and actions you perform.
You either try to do something, no matter how small or big, to improve your health or you try to make your health worse. It’s your choice.
The most sure way of changing someones belief is help them see forward progress. No matter how small the progress. This progress can be achieved by just taking the first step, then the next step, then the next step etc. Even if someone has no problem setting future based goals, they won’t get there if the first step isn’t taken, and then followed by all the required steps afterwards.
Even if someone is willing to try the first step, they might find taking the 50th step difficult or the 267th step. Trying isn’t something that is required just for the first step, you need to keep trying for every step of the journey.
To help the process of trying the right mindset and environment is required. A growth mindset is one that focuses on what someone can do and not on what they can’t, where a fixed mindset focuses on all the reasons for not being able to achieve what you want.
A growth mindset encourages you to try, a fixed mindset tells you why it won’t work.
A growth mindset needs the right environment to grow in. An environment that provides support, encouragement and reduces the barriers and obstacles to progress. Having an environment that makes trying more difficult reduces the chance of someone trying in the first place.
So if you are someone who is willing to give something a try, make sure you have created the right mindset that will increase the chance of you not giving up after first trying and build the right environment that helps and not hinders you ability to try.
Every journey requires the first step to be taken. If you are not willing to try that first step, then you are more likely to stay where you are and miss out on all the rewards that come from trying.
Your Health Coach, Chris