Liz here this week. Hope you enjoy :) ...
I believe people don’t just accomplish their goals on accident. Those who are motivated to reach a specific goal usually write it down, look at it everyday, and continually find ways to get themselves closer to reaching it through training, practicing, and putting in the hard work to take themselves where they want to go. You may have heard goal-setting tips before such as writing your goals on the mirror, setting timelines for yourself, and mapping out the steps you will need to take along the way. But what people sometimes forget and is one majorly essential attribute in striving for your goals: self-efficacy.
Self – Efficacy: One’s belief in their ability to succeed in a specific situation, accomplish a task, or reach a goal
Maybe you’ve heard of this term, maybe you haven’t, but I know everyone has heard the main idea of what self-efficacy encompasses through phrases like “Believe in yourself and anything is possible” or “Have faith and all your dreams will come true” or one that I personally resonate with more “The body achieves what the mind believes.” Although these may be extremely overused, cheesy, and not very effective in motivating you to get fired up, I believe the underlying message here IS EVERYTHING when it comes to accomplishing your goals.
The definition of self-efficacy is someone who has a belief in his or her own ability to succeed. I realize not everything you want to be, do, or become is attainable through simply ‘believing in yourself’’ but if you create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals) – maybe I’ll have Kolby write a blog on SMART goals soon – then a huge part of reaching these goals is knowing and believing you actually have the ability to accomplish them. I believe our human bodies and minds are so much more powerful and capable than we give them credit for, myself included.
Kolby has been asking me to write a blog for a while now and I finally got around to it, inspired by two sources. The first- I am currently working on getting my Group Fitness Instructor certification and the term self-efficacy came up in my reading for how to help your fitness class participants be more successful in class. This instantly fired me up as I often experience this with my friends and clients through the direct correlation between increasing someone’s self-efficacy and helping them reach their goals, especially with the ocean.
Which brings me to the second real-life inspiration. My friends Cecily, Chelsea, and I went for a swim the other morning out at Zuma Beach where there is a buoy offshore about 250 yds. (I got Cecily’s approval to tell this story as she exemplified the perfect example of just how powerful self-efficacy can be). Cecily and I have been swimming together regularly over the past few weeks as she is training for a triathlon and wants to get more comfortable swimming in the ocean and getting through the waves. We kept our fins on to swim to the buoy and while we were blissfully enjoying the morning sun and calm water, she said something along the lines of, “It’ll be so cool one day to swim out to the buoy and back without fins.” As soon as she said this, I got an idea! And tried to hide my mischievous excitement as much as possible... We made it out to the buoy and as we were nearing the shore again we checked our watches and had some extra time before we needed to go. I suggested we do another buoy swim, seeing the dread on her face, but knowing she would accept the challenge because of her willing and constant adventure-seeking spirit. (She’s definitely a do-er, if you read Kolby’s blog last week). After I proposed another swim I added, “But with no fins.” I had seen her swim almost twice this distance in the pool without fins and had no doubt she could do it. She wouldn’t have the pool’s wall to grab if she wanted to rest or the comfort of seeing what’s below her feet, but I told her I would swim next to her while holding her fins, just in case she needed them. I wanted to give her this peace of mind as I somewhat felt like I was tricking her into swimming more than she was planning to today, and maybe more than she even thought she was capable of. Although slower, we made it to the buoy and back and once her feet touched down on the sand in the shoreline I reminded her of the words she said not more than 15 minutes before.
"It’ll be so cool one day to swim out to the buoy and back without fins."
Little did Cecily know that "one day" statement was going to be that very day. So what goals do you have for yourself currently? Do you believe your body is capable? Is a belief of incapacity stopping you from even trying? Because I believe 100% in the amazing capabilities our bodies have, but you have to believe it too. I suggest finding someone who has reached or attained a similar goal as yours and asking them about their experiences. What did they do to get there, what would they do differently, and if they have any recommendations for you. They most likely will have some advice that will increase your self-efficacy in the pursuit of your goals. They might even tell you it will be easier than you think. All goals start in the mind before doing any physical prep for your body. One of my favorite quotes my mom gave me at my high school graduation is
Your mind is your body’s biggest obstacle. Or it can be your biggest source of inspiration, motivation, and encouragement. Take a leap in the direction of your goals by changing your mindset and not letting the belief of inability or inadequacy get in your way.