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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To Achieve Your Goals In Life

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To Achieve Your Goals In Life

No matter what goals, dreams or personal changes you want to achieve in your life, the reality for you and everyone else, is that it requires commitment, focus, hard work, courage and the determination to succeed. There is no way that you can hope to create change in your life or achieve your goals and dreams without these key elements.

Even when we  all know this, when it comes to us achieving our goals and dreams  many of us will start and then stop, then start again and then stop and then finally give up because it is all too hard.

Last year I identified three short term goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of the year.  To date I have only completed one goal.  The other two goals I have started, stopped, started and then stopped. Now this scares me because time is flying by so fast that before I know it, it will be December again and I haven’t achieved either goal.

What is also annoying me is that these two goals are realistic and totally achievable. I just can’t seem to get on top of them.

Recently I read this quote from Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture

“The brick walls are there for  a reason. The brick walls are not  there to keep us out. The brick  walls are there to give us a chance to  show how badly we want  something. Because the brick walls are there to  stop the people who  don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop  the other people.”

When I read this I realised I needed to figure out how to get over or around the brick walls that were stopping me from achieving my two goals.

What I eventually discovered was,  that when we set our goals and our dreams and begin our journey of transformation, we fail to consider these 7 factors. The result of this, is that many of us fail to achieve what we so badly wanted and we end up giving up on our goals and dreams in life.

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When embarking on your journey of personal change avoid these 7 common mistakes and you will enhance your chances of achieving any dream and goal you set in life by 200 percent.

1. Expect Fast Results

This mistake can have a significant impact on your belief and motivation to succeed. If you expect fast results and you don’t get them, what happens is you lose your belief of your goal or your dream being possible to achieve. Never underestimate the power of patience when it comes to setting and working towards a goal or your dream.

It is your patience that will keep you on your journey to achieving success.

2. See Failure As A Sign To Give Up

I have failed many times in my life and it is tough but not impossible to pick yourself up and start all over again.

The point in life when you have most control of your life, is when you are facing failure or you have failed. It is only you that has the power to choose how you want failure to impact on your life. You can choose to see it as a sign (the easy option) to give up or you can choose to pick yourself up and start again.  It is all down to you.

Here are 3 important questions that you could ask yourself to help you keep moving past your failures toward your goals or dreams.

  1. What was the reason for my failure – what can I learn from this and how can I improve?
  2. Why did I want to pursue this goal or dream to begin with – and has anything changed?
  3. What would I tell someone else if they were in my shoes?

3. Fail To Expect Or Plan For The Unexpected

With your life goals expect the unexpected – it will happen. When we are not prepared for the unexpected and it happens, we let these events bring our world to a crashing halt.

Preparing for the unexpected is the best we can manage when it comes to life goals and any other goals we set for ourselves.

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The key steps to preparing for the unexpected are to:

1. Acknowledge the Unexpected

2. Prepare for the Unexpected by having an Action Plan that considers the following 2 questions

a. How would you deal with this obstacle when it comes up?

b. What steps would you put in action to overcome this hurdle?

3. Commit to keep moving forward toward your goal or your dream

4. Get Bored With The Daily Grind

To achieve what you want in life requires you have to change, to do things differently, to create new habits, new thoughts and new behaviours. All of these aspects do not appear over night. They come as a result of you repeating on a daily basis the actions that you need to do over and over again to take you closer to you achieving your goal or your dream.

Successful athletes will train and practice  one technique or one drill for many hours just to get that one thing right. That is the difference between being great or being ordinary.

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Be prepared for boredom as there will be times when you just have to keep going and keep doing the same thing day in and day out.

5. Never Visualise What Is Possible

If you want to increase your chances of achieving your goals and dreams then, visualisation is where it all begins.

It one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do to achieve specific goals and make important changes in your life. Visualisation works because your mind can’t tell the difference between visualisation and an actual event. It helps your brain to recognise what resources you will need to achieve your dreams and goals.

A vision board is a way for you to bring your thoughts, dreams and desires to life. When you are visualising you are doing two important things,

  1. You are creating a visual space of possibility which is your inner fuel (motivation) for you to draw from on your journey to achieving your goals and dreams.
  2. With possibility comes hope and optimism and it is these positive thoughts and feelings that help you stay on track to success.

Visualising what is possible helps you to keep your eye on the big picture. When you take your eye of the big picture you slowly lose your desire, your faith and your belief in you.

6. Easily Distracted By Others & Life Events

I have found that when I am feeling unhappy, have low self confidence or feel frustrated with myself it is usually as a result of me spending a lot of unnecessary time comparing myself to other people and their success in life.

This action of comparing my life to others does not serve me well. I have learnt to recognise when I am doing it and how to quickly shut that behaviour down.

One of these techniques I use to keep me on track is that I keep a Gratitude Journal. In here I write down all the the great things that have happened or are happening in my life that I am grateful for. Helps me to keep things in perspective.

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When you start to use excuses such as “this not the right time,” or “I am not quite ready or too many of my friends think that it is not a great idea,” or “there are too many others have the same idea and they failed,” you are moving further away from achieving your dreams and goals in life.

Know that when you do this you are at risk of accepting the short term comforts of life over the long term benefits of achieving your goal or dream in life.

7. Set Unrealistic Steps To Achieving Your Goals

If you are setting goals that you have never achieved before then it is expected that part of you is not going to believe it is possible. Too often when we set our goals we focus on the future of achieving the goal – not the everyday steps we need to take to get us started and to keep us on track.

Losing weight is a goal many of us have tried to do but not always achieved. One of the reasons why we start, stop and then give up is because we focus on the total amount of 10kg or 20kg that we have to lose – not the 100 or 200 grams we could lose every week. It is much easier to focus on losing 100 to 200 grams than it is to focus on 10 or 20kg.

So take action and identify the obstacles that will block you from achieving your goals. Once you have identified these obstacles then:

  1.  Look for proof that your goals are realistic and achievable
  2.  Argue with Your Negative Self –tell it to take a hike!
  3.  Find a supporter to share your feelings, your dreams
  4. Acknowledge your past successes – CELEBRATE YOU

By avoiding these 7 common mistakes you will find that focus, discipline, commitment, courage, self belief, and determination will flourish with in you and you can not help but succeed in all the things that you want to achieve in your life.

I have now taken up the challenge and I am on my way to achieving my two goals by the end of this year – to lose 8kg and to grow my coaching business by 30%. Watch this space.

Featured photo credit: Evie S. via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

How to Persevere (and Get Ahead) When the Going Gets Tough How To Be an Optimistic Person When the Odds Are Against You 7 Things To Remember When You Feel Broken Inside 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life! 5 Steps to Get Unstuck

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Last Updated on June 16, 2021

What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

If you are making slow progress on a goal you’ve set, maybe it is the wrong goal in the first place. Perhaps factors, including your attitude or environment, do not allow you to make your desired progress. However, it is easy to blame timing and luck; if you set a goal, you and only you are accountable for achieving it (read the achieve my goals guide). The question is, how?

Start With Why

On my career path, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to explore and learn things practically. After a successful corporate career, I spent two years trying to establish an entrepreneurial consultancy, only to realize marginal success.

The consultancy formed based on my core values, candor, curiosity, and collaboration, but unfortunately, my customer base and projects were seemingly random and disjointed. While I understood I needed to establish a consistent and repeatable approach to content marketing to drive my clients’ results, that approach was not apparent in the brand I had built. Things got so rough that I had to resort to collecting unemployment at the onset of the pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I delivered a webinar called earning trust in uncertain times: coronavirus edition. Afterward, I received an email from a participant. He shared some thoughts on a campaign for his jewelry company and asked for feedback. When I read his email, I realized I could quickly help him to gain clarity, so I sent him a note with an offer to get his message on track. He offered to pay me for my time, and I said to myself,

“I am adding value, and I can charge for this!”

This first client needed to shift my offerings from general marketing consulting to a more diversified career that focuses on personal brand building.

It took a global pandemic to realize I needed to shift my goals to align with the change I was trying to make in the world, to a new business, coaching that applies my skills in an authentic way to me and valuable to prospects and customers.

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Start With Your Identity

James Clear discusses identity-based habits as deeply rooted in a person’s outlook toward life.[1] As a businessperson, identity-based practices are what impact business goals and your approaches towards achieving them. Identity is what you believe in, and outcomes determine what you seek to achieve. A permanent change comes from transforming the who part of behavior—the character.

Whether it is a coaching program I develop, a class I teach, or a marketing campaign I create, I always start identity. According to The Brookings Institute:[2]

Identity is a unique, inherited collection of assets, history, traits, and culture that distinguishes it internally and externally and can unite people and places.

But this logic also applies to personal goals. If losing weight is your goal, your focus is on an outcome rather than an identity-based plan, and you may lose motivation. Think, “Why am I trying to lose weight?”

  • Is it to be more healthy?
  • Did you get some lousy test results at the doctor?
  • Are you at risk of severe health problems?

It may help reframe your goal around a positive statement like, I am working to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Motivation has to come from a place of confidence and belief in yourself. You know what they say about the air mask on the airplane – put it on yourself first.

It is ok to set goals for others; for example, “I am losing weight so I can live for my kids;” however, if you don’t set goals around themes that you can own, and you don’t do it for yourself first, then the people in your life will not receive any benefit.

Think about what you achieve from your efforts — the outcomes. The reality that you are looking at right now must also allude to the fact you promise to create for your clientele, and that is not possible unless you believe in it and make it believable for others.

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Be Specific About What, How, and When

Your values need to align with other people and systems to engage in meeting your desired outcome, so make sure to put in place a process that accounts for what motivates you, that you can reliably complete until you achieve your goal.

If you are not specific and clear about how many pounds you are trying to lose and when you will lose then, then how will you know if you met your goal in the first place?

BJ FOGG, the author of Tiny Habits, suggests that you start small. In the Tiny Habits method, you always start with a tiny behavior. Some examples:

  • Floss one tooth
  • Read one sentence in a book.
  • Take one deep breath.

According to Fogg, an excellent tiny behavior has these qualities:

  • takes less than 30 seconds (even better: just 5 seconds)
  • requires no real effort
  • doesn’t create pain or destructive emotions

Make sure it’s a habit you want to have in your life. Don’t pick something that’s a “should,” choose new behaviors you wish to.

The next thing to learn is where to place the further tiny action in your life. Just like planting a seed, you want the right spot for it, a place where it fits naturally and where it can thrive.

Be flexible and adaptable. We are in a complicated and volatile world, and things change on a dime, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to change how you go about achieving your goal or even what goals you are trying to accomplish first place.

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Be aware of bias. As you set out to achieve your goals, it is critical to be aware of the bias that can sneak in and sabotage your thinking. Yes, it is essential to collaborate with others to achieve your goals, but you need to understand yourself and make sure you are not getting in your way before doing that. Here are some common forms of bias.

  • Confirmation bias: People tend to listen more often to information that confirms the beliefs they already have.
  • Selection bias: Selecting individuals, groups that do not provide diverse perspectives for you to consider.
  • Self-serving bias: People tend to give themselves credit for successes but blame failures on external causes.

What about serendipity? Many of us believe that the great turning points and opportunities in our lives happen by chance, that they’re out of our control.

Dr. Christian Busch, author of The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck, spent a decade exploring how, if acted upon, unexpected encounters can expand our random social encounters can enhance our worldview, expand our social circles, and create new professional opportunities.

Serendipity is usually about connecting dots that have previously remained elusive. Busch’s findings suggest that Good luck isn’t just chance—it can be learned and leveraged. When you are perceptive, curious, open-minded, and eager to see opportunities, others might see only negatively. If you notice something unusual but can connect that bit of information with something else, you are in the right mindset for achieving serendipity.

Motivation and a Realistic Plan

Only you can choose the goals you set. Motivation is critical in meeting your goals. But choosing goals is not enough; you need to select the right goals and define a plan that keeps you accountable for meeting your goals.

Author Gabriele Oettingen defined a methodology you can use to get better at achieving your hopes and dreams. It’s called WOOMP![3]

WOOP stands for:

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  • W = Wish
  • O = Outcome
  • O = Obstacle
  • P = Plan

WOOMP, there it is! WOOMP will force you to be hyper-realistic about your goals and be action-minded in your approach to achieving them.

Show up Consistently

In order to turn your vision into reality, you will have to regularly show up by consistently organizing, leading, and building to get to your goals.

“Some people show up when they need something. Some people show up before they need something, knowing that it will pay off later when they need something. And some people merely show up. Not needing anything, not in anticipation of needing something, but merely because they can.” — Seth Godin

Final Thoughts

While I would be happy to be your trusted advisor and coach, the answer has to start with you. My process will help you to define and document an ownable set of values and marketing frameworks that will make you more appealing to clients/ employers, especially on LinkedIn. These values will translate beyond work, as well.

More on Making Progress

Featured photo credit: Aj Alao via unsplash.com

Reference

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