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4 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals

4 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals

For many professionals, setting business goals is seen as much more serious than setting New Year’s resolutions for example, but do these goals really have a higher achievement rate than resolutions? While they may be taken more seriously, statistics show that they’re just as likely to be wanted badly enough to be worked on for a couple of weeks and then just as quickly given up on at the first obstacle!

No matter what string of events has apparently blocked you from achieving your goals, blaming fate, circumstance or misfortune for your inability to accomplish your aims isn’t going to get you anywhere! So what is it that keeps you wanting your goals so badly and yet at the same time holding you back from achieving them?

Working with hundreds of clients has allowed me to identify four categories of pitfalls among entrepreneurs who find themselves at a dead end in regard to their goals.

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1. You have conflicting goals

Humans are multifaceted beings; therefore, it isn’t entirely out of the question that we may find ourselves setting goals that either directly or indirectly conflict with each other. You might have a true commitment to achieve your goal, but you might simultaneously and unconsciously hold competing goals and so you don’t take consistent action forward and the result is that you don’t achieve those goals.

SOLUTION: 
Be honest with yourself and take the time to reflect on the goals you are setting. Ask yourself, by achieving this goal, am I compromising on other important goals? Are all your goals aligned, how much does achieving one goal affect the others? etc.
The second important question to ask is; is your goal in conflict with any belief? ie. I want to improve my sales skills, but I don’t want to self-promote and come across as arrogant. (Which is a belief you hold – self-promotion = arrogance). Your beliefs drive your behavior, not your goals.

2. You have insufficient belief in yourself

Taking an honest approach to evaluating your skills, abilities and resources is one thing, but having doubts about your ability to improve, learn and achieve your goals altogether is another.

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Do you believe you can achieve your goals and can you see yourself achieving them? Or do you actually hold a lot of doubt and uncertainty about what’s possible for you? If you have more doubt than belief in yourself, you’re probably unable to fully, 100%, commit to your goals.

SOLUTION:
There is no point in taking action, pushing yourself forward, if you don’t actually believe that it will bring you the results you want. Again, reflect and be honest with yourself, do you actually believe in yourself and your abilities to achieve what you want? If not, why? What needs to change so you do?

3. You are all talk and no action

If you’re quick to talk, make promises and set goals without properly turning them over in your mind or giving yourself time to process your desires and emotions, then you’re more likely to let yourself down when you’re unable to achieve what you said you would. When talking without taking action becomes the norm for you, your words will eventually carry as little weight to others as they do to yourself! You find you set goals and give up, set them again, and this actually becomes a habit.

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Too many people say they want X, but when they start to tell you what they are doing to achieve X, it’s immediately clear why they aren’t reaching their goals. It’s either very minimal action they are taking or the wrong action and often, no action at all.

SOLUTION:
Don’t commit to things you can’t take action on. Just because you speak a lot about what you want or you are going to do, unless it is backed up by action – it’s worse than not saying anything at all because you actually decrease your confidence. Every time you say you are going to do something and then you actually go and do it – you boost your self-confidence. Take one action every day towards achieving your goal, no matter how small, and let this be your habit.

4. You have an ambiguous vision

Vague goals result in vague plans that are usually never clearly outlined and are therefore typically either never embarked on to begin with (how would you even know where to start?!), or don’t have a well-defined end-goal so are never really ever completed! Abstract goals can leave professionals lost in trying to connect all the stepping stones towards dubious outcomes. Lack of motivation shows up immediately, accompanied by inaction when you have too vague a vision.

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SOLUTION:
It cannot be overstated that if you are not crystal clear on what you want, why, and how to move forward – you won’t reach your goals. You will know when you have articulated your goal well enough because it will be so clear and exciting that you might even find yourself welling up with tears of happiness at the thought of achieving it.

Self Check-in

Are you able to relate to any of the four categories above? If you are, then at this point you’re probably wondering what magic pill successful people are taking to overcome such obstacles and where you can get your hands on it! The reason that professionals looking for quick-fix, cookie-cutter solutions to their problems are rarely able to resolve their issues is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for matters relating to productivity or achievement.

Ask any successful person how they got to where they are today and they’ll tell you it’s all about working on your habits and mindset, and that contrary to popular belief, these pillars of achievement actually take significant time and effort – things that you absolutely cannot put a price tag on!

Developing the right techniques to using your time and resources productively can be a challenge, but if you’re ever feeling like the cards are stacked against you, think about this line: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” (Henry Ford)

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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