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If You Want To Succeed But Do Things in the Same Old Way, You’re Waiting for Failure

If You Want To Succeed But Do Things in the Same Old Way, You’re Waiting for Failure
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Having goals and dreams is what makes our lives meaningful but how we go about achieving these goals, both in mindset and physical action, can be the difference between success and failure.

If you’re feeling frustrated because your goals seem out of your reach, and no matter how hard you seem to try, you just don’t feel like you’re getting any nearer, then you’re not alone. Many people work hard to get to where they want to be but unless you change your thinking and your habits towards getting to that goal then it may take much longer than you want.

Why Is It So Hard to Succeed Sometimes?

When our goals mean a lot to us, it can start to put pressure on how we perceive our abilities. We can start to doubt if we’re capable enough – if it’s really possible.

The strategy we put in place may not work effectively or work around our changing lifestyles or life plans. Distractions are a big problem with internet, TV and our phones taking away our focus so easily.

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And, of course, underlying fear can also play a big part in stopping ourselves from truly moving forward to that place of success. What would it really mean if you finally achieved this? Would your life have to change? Would it ultimately mean sacrificing other things that are important to you? Mindset and habits, as well as the actions we take or don’t, can all lead us to what we interpret as failure.

Why Being Successful Is Important

Success doesn’t have to be confined to career. Personal goals and dreams are equally important because, ultimately, success brings confidence, well-being, hope, the sense that you’re contributing to either your own personal growth or to the world around you – it’s the essence of living a fulfilling life.

We are born to succeed as a species. We need to be successful in looking after our offspring both with protection and providing for them. Therefore, the want for success is ingrained in us and is the basis of what makes life meaningful. So, whatever success means to you – whether it’s in your career or if it’s learning to read, write or run a marathon – it’s the idea of fulfilling and achieving a desire that keeps us content and gratified.

What Is the Secret to Success?

It can be soul-destroying when you see people around you succeeding and you feel you’re trying your best but just can’t seem to do the same. It can hit our confidence and make us believe we just aren’t capable of succeeding. It can lead us to get in to this never-ending cycle of giving up, trying, not getting anywhere and giving up again. But have you wondered what you could do differently? Perhaps the habits you adopt are what’s keeping you from the life of your dreams?

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Check out the habits you need to do differently in order to get the success you deserve.

1. Mindset: Stop Seeing The Problems

Many of us have a mindset that seeks out the negative. It’s something we’ve been trained to do because, well, it’s easier to dwell on the negative than the positive especially if things aren’t going exactly as we want them to.

Instead you need to see these obstacles as challenges and opportunities rather than a reason to feel like you’re failing. It’s really about building up a positive mindset – no matter the problem you can always find a positive aspect to it. Problems are opportunities to grow and if you keep this in mind you are less likely to give up on your goal.

2. Strategy Is Good But So Is Flexibility

Having a plan and a strategy in place creates a good framework but when we are too rigid with this framework we don’t allow for potential changes. Life isn’t linear and we can’t always predict what’s going to come up. Disruption can throw our plans out of the window and if we’re too dependent on sticking to a particular framework then we can lose motivation.

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Try less planning and more doing. Have a general framework but make sure it can be flexible. It’s more important that you start the first steps (which can often be the hardest) than spending too much time planning.

3. Make Short Term Goals Rather Than Long Term Ones

“You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” – Martin Luther King

This quote speaks volumes when it comes to success. Motivation is the number one key to achieving goals and many of us lose motivation when we focus too much on the long-term. Break your goal down into smaller, short-term chunks because that way your motivation won’t take a hit and you’ll feel like you’re achieving so much more.

Give yourself a reward when you reach each small milestone and celebrate all the little achievements along the way.

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4. Distraction Is a Success Killer

Entertainment is big business. We’re living in a time when our minds are craving to be entertained to the point where learning and education is easily given the backseat. Ask yourself how much time you spend watching TV, surfing the internet, playing with your phone?

While it’s good to have down-time, we often don’t realise how much time we waste idly distracted instead of focusing on more important things. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day but it’s how you use these hours that makes or breaks success. Be honest with yourself and try to be conscious of how you spend your time.

Success doesn’t have to be a struggle. Having the right mindset, creating a flexible but instilled strategy and making sure you keep motivated with good focus will go a long way in helping you gain confidence towards achieving the life you want.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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