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5 Reasons Why Your Goals and Plans are Stopping You From Succeeding

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5 Reasons Why Your Goals and Plans are Stopping You From Succeeding

Fail to plan and you’re planning to fail, says conventional wisdom.

Conventional wisdom is to thinking what the pop-tart is to breakfast—something easy, simple, quickly digested and lacking any real nutritional value. I like something more substantial, and I have little time for conventional wisdom. Truth is, goal-setting and plan-making might just be getting in the way of your real success rather than taking you towards to the bright and prosperous future you’re hoping for.

fail to plan

    Here’s why.

    1. Plans don’t need meaning

    You can spend a lifetime making plans, but they won’t necessarily amount to a hill o’ beans. Anyone can make a plan and anyone can set a goal; not everyone bases these things on what they really want or even the things that mean something.

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    Why not?

    Because it’s easier to make plans based around easy things and let the details occupy your focus than to ask the big questions. No plan should divert you from what really matters, and no plan should consume you with detail so that you forget all about what the plan meant to you in the first place. It’s vision. It’s beauty. It’s difference.

    Keep on planning without meaning and you’ll keep on seeing the detail—never the big picture.

    Are you going after what matters to you?

    2. Life doesn’t go to plan

    What happens when life gives you lemons, but you’d set your heart on a whole load of apple pies?

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    Life will always have something up its sleeve to throw your fool-proof plan off track, but with a carefully-laid plan there’s a real temptation to either just “stick with it” (you can just use lemons instead of apples, right?) or turn back around and head back to where you came from.

    Following a plan or structuring a goal can be enormously comforting, but perhaps the most essential ingredient to any great plan is to have it be flexible enough to throw away if you need to.

    Are you adapting as you go or embracing inflexibility?

    3. You can hide behind a plan

    Creating a solid plan and executing it sure takes some of the pressure off, doesn’t it?

    It makes it feel like you’re on the right track, and should something go wrong the plan’s right there for you to blame. You can hold up your shiny plan or snazzy goal to show people how prepared you were, then point your pinky at the “unknown quantity” that scuppered things.

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    Or perhaps, if a new opportunity arises that scares you half to death, but it isn’t in your plan, it’s so much easier to say no to it and keep on plugging away as you were, right?

    It’s a rare plan that embraces vulnerability, but true, meaningful success will always require you to step out, stand up, take off the armour and be vulnerable.

    Are you hiding behind a goal or plan?

    4. Plans prioritise logic

    Among all the details, strategising, prioritising and scheduling, where’s the room for magic?

    Where’s the room for something wonderful to happen? Where’s the room for something amazing to reveal itself? Where’s the room for a truth to be discovered? Too often plans and goals become rigid, inflexible entities that hold you back from innovation and spontaneity—the very things that add extraordinary texture to your life and fuel real success.

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    Are you stifling magic?

    5. You don’t grow by hoarding

    What you want now might not be what you want next year, and I very much doubt it’ll be exactly what you want five or ten years from now.

    Things change.

    Hearing what’s next in your life can be impossible when all you can hear is the hum from the plans and goals you’ve created.

    Sometimes you need to add things to your life or make plans to move it forwards, but other times it’s what you take away—assumptions you made, things you believed, expectations you had, rules you followed, plans you made and all the other things you’ve accumulated but that no longer serve you well—that allows your life to flourish. Letting go is how you get the best shot at the life you really want.

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    Are you clutching on too tightly?

    Yes, stepping out from underneath a plan or a goal is one of the scariest things you can ever do in your life, but sometimes, your plan is the very thing that keeps you from the life that’s waiting for you.

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    Steve Errey

    Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

    how to be confident How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence New Years Resolutions Don’t Work – Here’s Why 7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat I Like You a Lot How To Muster Your Confidence And Tell Someone You Like Them Stuck in Rewind. 7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2021

    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

    We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

    A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

    So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

    • honest
    • reliable
    • competent
    • kind and compassionate
    • capable of taking the blame
    • able to persevere
    • modest and humble
    • pacific and can control anger.

    The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

    1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

    All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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    But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

    2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

    How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

    I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

    “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

    Abigail Van Buren

    3. How does this person take the blame?

    Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

    You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

    5. Read their emails.

    Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

    • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
    • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
    • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
    • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
    • Too many question marks can show anger
    • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

    6. Watch out for the show offs.

    Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

    7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

    A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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    Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

    8. Their empathy score is high.

    Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

    People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

    9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

    We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

    “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

    Stendhal

     10. Avoid toxic people.

    These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

    • Envy or jealousy
    • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
    • Complaining about their own lack of success
    • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
    • Obsession with themselves and their problems

    Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

    Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

    Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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