Why We Go Backwards When We Want to Move Forwards
Why is it that so many of us have goals and dreams we’re desperate to pursue or achieve, but instead of taking the action necessary to move forwards, we either don’t do anything at all, or worse do the OPPOSITE of what we know we need to do!

New Year’s resolutions, anyone?

The main reason for this strange behavior is fear of failure or loss.

Often it’s easier to simply dream about achieving a goal.
If we tried to achieve something and failed, how would we feel? What would other people think of us? Also, by trying and failing, not only do we lose face, we potentially lose the dream!

It’s these types of subconscious questions that stop us from taking steps towards our goals, and can even move us backward.
It’s the reason we get excited to learn how to start a successful lifestyle business, but never get it off the ground.

It’s the reason we resolve to lose that extra half a stone by summer, but regularly ‘treat’ ourselves to cupcakes.
This, unfortunately, demonstrates one undeniable fact: fear of loss trumps desire to gain.

This concept even has a theory named after it! Loss aversion theory.

It states that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains. In tests, humans have been shown to feel twice as much pain losing £100, than another person gains in happiness from a £100 windfall.

It’s loss aversion that saps your will power to move in the direction of your goals. We all have different names for will power; determination, drive, self-discipline…

Scientifically, however, will power is much more defined. Most psychologists agree that will power is “the ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.”

When you are not able to delay gratification and resist short-term temptations, you allow the fear of loss, or loss aversion, to seep in.

Your brain is wired to find satisfaction and pleasure. That’s a great thing in itself. The problem happens when we are a slave to immediate satisfaction. It’s why you KNOW you’d feel awesome at losing half a stone. But instead, you opt for the short-term satisfaction of eating that cupcake.

How do you wire that self-sabotaging brain of yours differently?

The answer is to have vivid long term goals that truly embody what you want from your life.

Vivid long term goals can only come from having a very strong reason WHY you want to achieve a particular goal.

If the only reason why you want to lose weight is that ‘it will make me happy’, your why is not strong enough.

When you see that cupcake in all its iced, cherry-topped glory, the pleasure is so vivid that the image of you looking happy and slim disappears.

You can imagine feeling happy as a successful online entrepreneur, but it’s eclipsed when you see the warm sun shining through your window, enticing you to a day in the park.
See how your brain is sabotaging you? You need to find your why!

How do you get your brain to concentrate on the direction you want it to go?

1.) You need to know specifically WHY you want to achieve your goal.

If you want to lose weight, thinking ‘I just want to be slim and feel happy’ doesn’t cut it.

A strong why would be ‘I want to lose weight so I’m not the embarrassing parent wheezing away on long bike rides with my kids.’

Or ‘I have an important birthday in 8 months - I want to look fabulous!’

A strong why for wanting to succeed in an online business is ‘I want to be able to work from anywhere so I can spend more time with my kids - they’ll be grown up before I know it.’

Or ‘I hate my boss and I want to tell him where to stick his job!’

The more specific the better.

2.) Connect emotionally to your reason why.
If you really hate your boss, take time to think about how they make you feel when they are around (scared, belittled, angry, embarrassed, etc). Imagine how you would feel when you resign and tell them you now earn more money than them. Would you feel smug, exhilarated, victorious….?

Always remember the theory of loss aversion. The pain of taking action is stronger than the pain of not achieving your goal.

If you don’t connect emotionally to the pain you are in now, and you don’t connect emotionally to the satisfaction you would feel after you have achieved your goal, your brain will default back to lose aversion. You’ll find every little excuse under the sun not to move forwards.

3.) As you go from day to day, monitor your behavior.
Are you taking steps every day that move you, bit by bit, towards your goal? If you are still finding excuses to not move forwards, go back to step 1 and really look at WHY you want to achieve your goal.

Chances are you're why is either not strong enough, or you haven’t taken the time to get emotionally connected. There is nothing wrong with spending several hours really visualizing what you want out of life and the direction you want to go…..it will pay dividends!


You can achieve whatever you set your mind to……it’s just that it can get distracted by the instant gratification of a day in the park, a shopping trip or a cupcake!

As anybody who has been successful at anything will tell you, there is no magic trick to success. Just train your brain to take focused steps towards your goals, every day, however small. You’ll reach your goals before you know it!

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