Identifying Your Defender: How to Overcome the Barriers to Achieving Your Goals

A guide to enjoy your journey while achieving your goals

Have you ever set a goal for yourself, only to find that you just can't seem to make progress? Maybe you've been trying to improve your fitness, but you always seem to hit a wall. Or perhaps you're trying to advance in your career, but you can't seem to get past a certain point. Whatever your goals may be, it's frustrating when you feel like you're stuck.

The problem may be that you haven't yet identified your defender. This is the primary limiting factor that is holding you back from achieving your goals. Once you identify your defender, you can develop a plan to overcome it and finally achieve the success you've been working towards.

The Quadrant System

So, how do you identify your defender? Dr. Andy Galpin, a renowned exercise physiologist, suggests using his quadrant tool. The tool is divided into four quadrants: movement, recovery, nutrition, and mindset. By assessing each of these areas, you can determine which one is most likely to be your limiting factor.

Movement: Are there any physical limitations that are preventing you from reaching your goals? For example, if you're trying to improve your running time, but you have poor hip mobility, that could be your defender. Consider working with a physical therapist or personal trainer to address these issues.


Are you giving your body enough time to recover? If you're constantly pushing yourself to the limit without taking time for rest and recovery, your body may not be able to keep up. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking rest days as needed.


Are you fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best? If you're not getting enough protein or other essential nutrients, your performance may suffer. Consider working with a nutritionist or doing research on healthy eating habits to optimize your nutrition.


Finally, consider your mental state. Are you feeling motivated and confident, or do you struggle with self-doubt and negative self-talk? If you're struggling with your mindset, consider working with a therapist or coach to help you develop more positive habits.

Once you've identified your defender, it's time to develop a plan to overcome it. This may involve working with a professional or doing research on your own to find strategies that can help you overcome your limiting factor. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Make a plan: Develop a detailed plan that includes specific actions you can take to overcome your defender.
  • Take small steps: Don't try to tackle everything at once. Instead, take small steps towards your goal to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Stay accountable: Find a way to hold yourself accountable, whether it's by working with a coach or using a tracking app to monitor your progress.


Identifying your defender can be a powerful tool in achieving your goals. By assessing the four quadrants of the quadrant tool and developing a plan to overcome your limiting factor, you can finally break through the barriers that have been holding you back. Remember to be patient, take small steps, and stay accountable, and you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals.