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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!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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