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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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