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10 Mistakes That Make You Unable To Reach Life Goals

10 Mistakes That Make You Unable To Reach Life Goals

How excited are you for the end of the year to be over and the new year to begin? I’ve heard a wealth of mixed responses. For some, this time of year brings anxiety, for others hope, and for some, a sense of ‘here we go again, new years resolutions” (eye’s rolling). Everyone knows that New Year’s resolutions play a big part in the season’s conversation, and there is a lot of unspoken pressure to”‘change what you know isn’t working.”

Many people use the new year as an opportunity to change a habit they have been wanting to change for years or setting a new exciting goal; either way, whether you are moving away or towards something, reaching your goals is not as easy as it seems, but it doesn’t need to be hard either. In life, as with everything, making mistakes is part of the journey and goal setting is no exception. It is a wise thing to set goals and push yourself out of your comfort zone, but it is also easy to get disillusioned when you don’t see any results.

When you don’t reach your goals, do you know why? Of course, it’s not always easy to identify what we might be doing wrong.

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Here are the top 10 mistakes you’re probably making that make you unable to reach life goals.

1. Pursuing several goals at once

Always and only focus on one or two goals at a time. Pursuing several goals will certainly undermine your results. The reality is: you most likely don’t actually have the time it takes to dedicate yourself to pursuing each goal. Also, your focus is too diluted and far spread, and what often happens is that you end up with no results because you are trying to do too much. Rather focus on one goal, put all your energy and effort into achieving it, and then set a new one. This will build your confidence in goal setting as well.

2. Setting a huge and unachievable goal

Your goal must be exciting and the thought should make your heart beat faster for sure! However, there is a very thin line between setting a goal which cannot be achieved and one that makes you excited. Using the SMART guidelines when goal setting should help you to clarify your exciting goal and make it achievable. Be careful who you listen to when sharing your goals and don’t let others impose their limited thinking on you. Find a balance between what you would love to happen and what you can see happening if you put in the required work.

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3. Not taking any action towards the goal

If you are simply dreaming about the goal and not taking any action, you won’t get anywhere. You must dream about your goal and have a vision but you also need to take massive and continuous action to reach your goal. Just sitting around and putting in a little effort here and there will not get you any results. Every day you need to take action that will help you get closer to your goal‒it is as simple as that.

4. Not putting results before comfort

Everyone knows it isn’t a piece of cake to meet your goals, and it’s because most goals require you to put a lot of effort into them. You often have to go out of your comfort zone and do things you don’t feel like doing with the long term goal in mind. One of the reasons that most people give up is simply because they don’t have the motivation, dedication, persistence and patience to put results before comfort. This is what truly separates the majority of those who achieve their goals and those who don’t‒the former certainly takes disciplined action.

5. Giving up too soon

How long do you try before you give up? Trying is not about doing the same thing over and over and hoping it will work out differently each time. When it seems like things aren’t working out and you want to give in, you might just need to tweak your strategy slightly or do something different‒that is it. Perhaps you feel that you have been trying and trying, yet to see any results and you want to give up. Patience is also required when it comes to setting goals and achieving them. Sometimes we give up just before we have our breakthrough. Don’t throw in the towel when things get tricky; work through it and the results you desire will follow. Read the biographies of the famous and you will see that persistence is an essential ingredient in success.

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6. Playing the victim game

We have all felt like victims before, you know, when things just don’t go right and we feel like it just isn’t fair. Thinking this way too often can be detrimental to your success however, because this way of thinking is simply dis-empowering, and it will make you think that you have no control over the results of your efforts. Commit to staying in the driver’s seat and directing your life. Don’t stay in the passenger seat being driven around by other people and feeling like a helpless victim.

7. Not having clear direction

If you don’t know exactly where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Having a clear direction does not only lead to targeted actions, but it serves as a visual goal, which will give you added motivation. The clearer your goal, the more motivated you are to achieve it. See your goal as a crystal clear image in your mind’s eye, and you will be drawn towards it.

8. Always expecting the worst

Henry Ford famously and so truthfully said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” In other words, If you expect the worst, you will most likely get the worst and if you expect the best to happen, you will most likely experience that. Why waste your energy on thinking about things you don’t want to happen and start to think about the things that you do want to happen. What you focus on expands, so think about those things which you want to expand.

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9. Doing what you think you should and not want you want

When you set goals that you don’t really want to achieve, but feel like you should, you won’t be so inspired to take action and you will feel a resistance. Likewise if you set goals because somebody else wants you to, you will find them hard to accomplish. Do what you really want to do, not what you think your family, partner or friends want you to. Doing what you love and really want to do is the best motivator ever.

10. Not dealing with obstacles

Obstacles are bound to come up, but if you give up at the first sign of an obstacle, you will find it difficult to achieve most your goals. When you are goal setting, you should identify your anticipated obstacles and plan ways to overcome them. There will always be obstacles, but the most important part is how you deal with them.

Goal setting doesn’t need to be difficult, to be tedious or fruitless. If you set and achieve goals that really mean a lot to you, you will literally change your world around! You have all the power inside you‒you just need to tap into it.

To your success!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

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