Motivation: How to Demolish Your Opponents and Crush your Goals

Are your opponents trying to take you down?

(Psst: yes, they are, whether you know it or not.)

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.Do you have a battle strategy, so you can ensure victory against them (and, more importantly, victory for yourself)?

Here’s the truth: There’s always going to be something that’s going to try to trip you up when you make change in your life, whether it’s from your fitness routine to your diet to getting out of debt or … you name it.

Pretending you don’t have opponents – or obstacles – standing in the way is a sure-fire way to NOT be successful.

So let’s talk about getting real and figuring out how to come out victorious.

The Goal-Getting Process

How do we get to our goals? Entire books have been written about each of these, so let’s just hit the high points.

Hang on, because it gets good.

First, you have to identify your goal. (Duh, right?) The goal should be pretty specific, with a deadline. Like, “Lose 10 pounds in 3 months.” Or, “Run a 5k nonstop by October.”

Second, you have to figure out the path you’re going to take to get there – what specific steps you are going to take. Examples: journal my food intake and aim to shave off 250-500 calories a day, increase my activity by exercising x times a week doing x workouts, stop eating after 7 p.m., or, run three days a week.

Third, identify the resources you have to help you. What foods will you eat? Where will you get them? Do you have a support network? an iPod for your workouts? Sneakers? What tools do you need?

And now, fourth: Identify your opponents and come up with a strategy to stop them.

Because trust me, you have some opponents. They don’t have to be people.

I’m just going to lay out some potentials:

  • People in your life who don’t understand what you’re trying to do or why you’re trying to do it.
  • Commitments to your family
  • Commitments to your job
  • A tendency to put the needs of others first
  • Fatigue (you aren’t a machine, you do need to sleep sometimes)
  • The voice in your head (this is a big one)
  • Boredom
  • Fear

There are probably more – I’m guessing you’ve come up with a few of your own. If you haven’t, take a second to think about them.

Here’s the thing that’s cool. Acknowledging these opponents gives you POWER to do battle with them.

Acknowledging them gets you out of a defeatist/helpless mindset.

Because when you look at your opponent from every angle, you can come up with strategies to knock them down.

That’s the opposite of helpless. That’s powerful.

Stuff *Will* Happen

Personally, I notice that as soon as I come up with a new goal, the universe starts chuckling. And suddenly, I’m confronted with obstacles to test my will.

And sometimes, as a result, I feel defeated and “stuck.” And yes, sometimes my will is overcome.

My personal biggest opponents?

  • Fatigue — I have thyroid disease and even though it’s treated, it makes me tired some days.
  • Commitments to my job – You’d be surprised how hard it can be to squeeze in a workout when you’re a personal trainer! 🙂 Occasionally in the middle of a day I’ll realize my workout has to be dropped from my list, and … well, how ironic is that?
  • Putting the needs of others first – Sometimes I suffer from what I call “good girl” syndrome, when I decide to let my own plans go (because even though it doesn’t always feel like a decision, it is one) for other people.

The next step is to think about how you’re going to be prepared for them.

Plan to Win

For me, with fatigue, I need to make sure I get some downtime in the middle of the day. This is non-negotiable. (I think in a perfect world, all of us could use with a little midday downtime.) I also need to make sure I go to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Commitments to my job: to deal with this, I need to organized and plan my day properly. Planning tomorrow’s schedule today goes a long way toward helping with that.

And also, I need to have a stash of workouts ready so I can squeeze in a fast one in case my plan gets shot to heck.

Putting the needs of others first: This can be a tough one, because aren’t we taught to take care of others first – that if we act otherwise, we’re being selfish?

Battling this, for me, generally involves both time management and some self talk. You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself. Working out gives you strength and energy, and that helps you be better for others.

So, a new week is coming up.

Are you ready to do battle? Set up that strategy and go!

Wendy Watkins

About Wendy Watkins

Wendy Watkins is a Bangor-based personal trainer, fitness coach, studio owner, and writer/editor. She is the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Months. Visit her website at