Is only focusing on the positive a good way to reach our goals?

Woman writing things in a note book.
October 4, 2023
While being positive about the potential to make sustainable changes that will lead to better health is great, it can be beneficial to consider obstacles and hurdles that could get in the way of achieving these goals. The reason being, strategizing for these situations occurring can make it easier to tackle them if they were to occur in the future!

When it comes to achieving our personal goals, it can be easy to think about how great life will be when a goal is reached. Perhaps you’ll finally be able to wear that outfit you love! Maybe you will decrease the amount of diabetes medication you’re taking!

However, only focusing on positive outcomes, and not considering the hurdles that can happen on our journey can make it difficult to deal with those obstacles when they occur and not abandon our plan. And let’s be honest, life always gets complicated. 

One of our favourite podcasts here at Constant Health is the Happiness Lab, with Dr. Laurie Santos. An episode titled ‘Don’t Accentuate the Positive’ discusses the benefit that acknowledging negative situations can have on attaining our goals. If you have considered complications that can happen during your journey (for example, a busy schedule at work that prevents you from making well-balanced meals for dinner), and have thought about what you could do if those obstacles occur (such as having some frozen meals ready in your freezer) there is a greater chance that your goal will be reached! Why is that? If you have a game plan ready, you won’t be completely blindsided by complications along the way, and will know how to react to them.

Here are some other examples of potential obstacles, and possible plans:

  • Stopping by a fast food chain for a snack on your way home from work due to high hunger? Consider storing some nuts and high protein bars in your glove compartment for a satiating snack. 
  • Stress in your personal life causing you to snack more on processed foods?
  • Consider what other self-care strategies could be helpful to relieve stress, such as taking a bath, making yourself a cup of tea in your favourite mug, or going on a walk and listening to your favourite comedy podcast.
  • Feeling uninspired to make anything for dinner, so you’re resorting to pre-packaged foods?
  • Follow food blogs and Instagram accounts with nourishing recipes, reach out to your registered dietitian for some suggestions to pre-plan!

So after setting a goal for yourself, take a minute to think, what could possibly go wrong? Perhaps jot down some ideas of strategies you could use if these hurdles occur. We promise, having a game plan for when obstacles happen will make it that much easier to attain your goal!

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