Building a Bridge to Your Desired Goal

Imagine the knowledge and skills required to build a bridge over a fast flowing river, 20 meters deep with a bed formed by a deep level of gravel which makes construction of piers on the river bed impossible. Getting to important life goals can be compared to the strategies and knowledge required when planning and building a bridge.

Walking over the bridge which cross the Eersterivier on the Spier Wine Estate a while ago, I marveled at the knowledge and planning which resulted in the beautiful, strong end product and it made me think of the imaginary bridge many of us strive to build towards weight-loss and better health. Like the piers which have to support the deck of a bridge, planning to lose weight in order to achieve goals like more energy, better health or more confidence, also needs careful consideration of visible (and invisible) obstacles, which may have an impact on you fulfilling your goal.

An example of careful planning is the Maria Pia Bridge over the River Douro in Portugal, the first of many successes for Gustav Eiffel, which came about as a result of a competition held by the Royal Portuguese Railroad Company who needed a way to get their heavy trains to Lisbon on the other side of the river. Because of the challenges with the river bed, Eiffel's proposal was for a wrought-iron bridge of which the deck was supported by five iron piers, with the abutments of the pair on the river bank also bearing a central supporting arch. The bridge had to have a central span of 160 m. This was greater than the longest arch span which had been built at the time.

Some examples of visible challenges when striving to lose weight may include your lifestyle as well as your environment and relationships. Each challenge needs to be considered separately and the factors which may prevent you from reaching your goal should be addressed, and the appropriate strategies to overcome your challenges selected, before you proceed. This will ensure a solid foundation for the work required to reach your desired goal.

Underlying obstacles are often ignored when people set goals.  Like the deep bed of gravel in the bed of the Douro River, which needed a very different strategy, you may have deep seated story themes lurking below the level of your consciousness. We develop these themes while growing up and at some level they may have worked for us. Although mostly invisible, these stories may often be the reason for our challenges.  The problem is that we can behave unconsciously in ways that can maintain the unwanted situation which in this case is the weight we want to get rid of.

Invisible themes are easy to recognize once you become aware of them, but you may need a good (and honest, brave) friend or coach, to help you find and identify your themes as we are not always very objective when it comes to our own behavior.

The following four themes (there are many others) are common and they often go unnoticed. See if you can spot one or more and consider how your theme/s influence your behavior:

The Winner: It’s all or nothing. You do it right or you don’t do it at all. Failure is unacceptable. A bad day can be the beginning of the end.

The Victim: Things just don’t work out the way they are supposed to. Always a reason for bad choices. Can blame friends, the boss, hubby, kids,

The Rebel: I want to be healthy and I want to enjoy my treat. Long list of health problems but no sacrifice.

The Loser: I Don’t deserve success. Giving up is easier.

Themes can be changed and have to be changed if you want to cross the bridge to your goal. If you don’t, you might find your bridge collapsing time and again.

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