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Do you desperately want to change but you can’t?

Do you desperately want to change but you can’t?

Are you having a difficult time achieving some of your goals, with no inclination as to what the problem might be? People are often dumbfounded by the fact that they are unable to achieve success despite being very organized, going through a variety of different techniques and methods and having all the best intentions starting out, etc. What you may not read in many self-help resources however, is that you could be using the most effective techniques in the world and doing everything by the book, but if you’re not completely honest with yourself, all this could go to waste.

So what do you need to be honest with yourself about? The two main issues that I’ve found to be holding people back from achieving their goals are 1.) the disconnect between their actions and their goals, as well as, brace yourself, 2.) the lack of desire and will to achieve their goals – even if you want it badly!

Misalignment Of Actions And Goals

The disconnect between your actions and goals not only prevents you from achieving your goals but could also lead you down the path of wasting precious time and effort trying to achieving something that you couldn’t care less about. This disconnect can manifest itself in two ways:

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1. The right actions towards the wrong goal:

Have you ever found yourself setting a goal based on what others deem to be important as opposed to what you personally value, enjoy and find fulfilling? Unfortunately, if the goal isn’t something that you personally place value on, then even taking the right actions towards it is rarely successful. It usually results in a conflict between what you really want to do, versus what you think you have to do – this conflict will leave you feeling demotivated and will pull you into a cycle of procrastination. If your goals comes from a ‘have to or should do’ – instead of a ‘want to’ – those are warning bells there already!

2. The wrong actions towards the right goal:

The process of assigning actions to specific goals can be influenced by a wide range of factors that you need to be aware of. Perhaps you don’t have enough information on what the right steps to take may be? Perhaps you’re afraid of the changes that may result from the actions? Alternatively, you may not be confident enough in your ability to carry out the necessary actions, or may even be unwilling to invest the effort into making a necessary change and therefore, either consciously or subconsciously, you end up prioritizing actions that are easy but not helpful to your goal.

My advice: Simply having your heart in the right place won’t get you success. Likewise, doing all the right things halfheartedly isn’t likely to do you much good. In order to achieve your goals you need to take the right actions with the right attitude. The only way you can achieve that is by making sure you’ve chosen goals that are inline with your personal values, as well as by selecting (and pursuing) actions based on their importance to your goal, as opposed to how easy/convenient they may be. Often, this requires us to be more honest with ourselves, even if we don’t like what we hear.

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Insufficient Desire To Achieve Specific Goals

It may be a painful (and sometimes a scary, life-altering) realization to make, but if you find yourself unable to take action towards a goal, it’s quite possible that your desire to achieve the goal simply isn’t enough to motivate you into action! We’ve all heard/read about people who defy the odds to achieve their dreams; the reason that they were able to do so was that they were motivated enough by the end result to make a massive effort!

The sooner you’re honest with yourself about what you really want, the less time you’ll waste trying to achieve something that will never make you happy. As the saying goes, “you can never get enough of what you don’t really want” (Eric Hoffer); in other words, until you acknowledge your real desires, you’ll keep pursing many different paths to no avail – nothing will ever seem fulfilling/motivating enough.

So how can you tell just how much you really want to achieve your goals? If you identify with some of the points below, you may want to re-assess your goals:

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When an opportunity to cut corners presents itself, you take it.

If you really want to learn a new language for example, you would accept the challenges and invest in the benefits of delayed gratification, rather than cutting corners and seeking quick, short term solutions with immediate, and strictly short-term gratification such as only learning a couple of words that you know you’ll need.

When things get difficult and require more effort, you give up.

For example, if your goal is to learn more about running your own business, but you can’t bring yourself to read any books on the topic or to attend relevant seminars. You only find the energy and motivation to take action on the easy things.

When a situation becomes uncomfortable, you always look for a more convenient way out of it.

For example, if your goal is to work out more frequently but you can’t increase your weekly exercise hours because you’re not willing to experiment with different, potentially more effective forms of exercise. There is no cookie cutter to achieving your goals, you need to find the right recipe for you if the one you currently have tastes bad!

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You don’t re-adjust your plan

For example, if your goal is to wake up at 7am each day, but the next day, you hit the ‘snooze’ button. What most people do is give up after trying a few times. Instead of re-adjusting the plan until it works – which is what is often needed – most people won’t get it right the first time.

My advice: It’s important to differentiate between the quantitative focus of your goals (being more financially secure, etc.) and the qualitative experience that you seek to achieve from them. If you don’t acknowledge the real WHY behind your goals, you won’t feel motivated enough to stick with them. Find a WHY that is important enough to act as your metaphorical water-skis – it should launch you forward and keep you going even when you’re struggling to stay up! Once you have found your WHY – the plan to get there is much easier!

Are You Ready To Be Honest With Yourself?

If you identify with some of the issues mentioned above, don’t despair! The first step to solving a problem is diagnosing it correctly in order to fix it and learn from it. If goals were so easy to achieve, they wouldn’t be called goals, but rather “to-dos” – achieving them isn’t going to be easy, but if they’re the right goals for you, you can count on the effort being completely worth it!

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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