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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Results

11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Results

All of us have goals. Goals like losing weight, earning more money, finding a life partner, setting up our business, achieving performance targets, being fitter, building better relationships, and so on. Some people seem to have no problem achieving their goals. Some, on the other hand, don’t seem to be able to make any progress.

I’ve a good amount of experience with goal achievement, having been actively setting goals since 10 years ago. I’ve experienced setbacks and successes in my goal pursuits. Running The Personal Excellence Blog (which is all about how to live in excellence and achieve our highest potential), I often receive reader mail seeking help for situations they are stuck in. I work with clients who are not getting results in life and want to turn things around. This has given me a lot of insights on what keeps people from success.

At the end of the day, if you find yourself stuck in your goals, it boils down to one (or some) of these 11 reasons:

1. Procrastination

You keep putting things off. You talk about how you want to do something but you don’t act on it. You are like the howling dog.

I recently wrote the story of the howling dog at The Personal Excellence Blog. The story refers to this dog, who keeps howling because it’s sitting on a nail. However, he refuses to get up from the nail. Why? Because it’s not painful enough.

You procrastinate on taking action because the situation is not painful enough for you yet. However, the times when it does become painful enough are often the times when it’s too late to do anything. Either you start taking action, or you forever lay in peace. Your call, I’ll leave it to you.

2. Underestimating Your Goal

Achieving a goal is about getting from point A to B. From point A, you create an action plan that gets you to point B. Sounds foolproof, except the action plan isn’t 100% valid.

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That’s because you’re setting the plan from point A. You haven’t even been to point B, so how do you even know if it’ll get you to B? At most, it’ll be help to bring you closer to point B, but it’s not going to be 100% accurate.

Almost all the time, people fail because they underestimate what it takes to achieve their goals. What should you do then? Over-commit your resources and review your progress constantly. (See Step #11 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity). Adjust your plan of action and adapt accordingly.

3. Spending More Time Defending Your Problems Thant Taking Action

You complain how you are not getting XYZ results. When people try to give you suggestions, you spend more time justifying why their suggestions will not work and defending your lack of results than brainstorm with them on how to get out of your rut.

Spend less time talking about your problems and use that time to think about solutions. Then act on them. You’ll get a lot more results this way, and you’ll be happier.

4. Being Too Enclosed in Your Own World

You don’t venture out beyond your normal routine. You do the same things, talk to the same old friends, act the same way, circle around the same issues. It’s no wonder you stagnate.

Open yourself up – take active steps to grow. Get to know more people – people who are driven, positive and focused. Get new, refreshing perspectives. Read new books. Add new blogs to your subscription. Ask for feedback on how you can improve. Read my other article for more ideas: 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself

5. Not Working Smart

You do the same thing over and over, even when you don’t get results. You apply brute strength to your goals, without strategizing how you can apply this strength more effectively.

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If you are not getting what you want, it’s a signal it’s time to change what you have been doing. See how you can do this in a different, smarter, more effective way.Look at people who have achieved the same results before, and learn from them.

6. Avoidance (Fear)

You avoid taking action because some of the things you have to do intimidate you. You rather delay the process as much as possible.

Unfortunately, results are not going to come automatically from delaying. Results come to people who pay their dues, not people who avoid the work. The fear isn’t going to go away by waiting it out. Face the fear and do it anyway.

7. Getting Distracted Easily

You get distracted by things thrown in your way. Your attention gets diverted from your goals. Your ability to stay focused is instrumental to achieving your results.

Be clear of what you want and stick to it. Don’t let anything (or anyone) distract you. These are the obstacles the universe sends your way to see how serious you are about getting what you want.

Learn How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus.

8. Overcomplicating Situations

Common among the neurotic perfectionists. If you are a neurotic perfectionist, you blow the situation out of proportion and create this mental image that’s so complicated that it’s no wonder you don’t get anything done.

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Things are usually simpler than you think – be conscious when you are adding unnecessarily complications for yourself. I wrote about this in detail in Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

9. Giving Up Too Easily

You give up before you even get anywhere. If you read The Dip, you’ll know all big goals comes with a dipping point – a chasm where it seems nothing you do is giving you results. It’s normal.

This is the point that differentiates those who deserve the goal and those who are just taking a casual stab at it. I’ve a client who has a penchant for giving up in his goals early on. He realized soon that there’s no “easy” way out, and all goals have their own set of obstacles to be overcome. Persevere, press on, and it’s a matter of time before you reap the fruits of your labor.

10. Losing Sight of Your Goals

You settle for less, forgetting the goals you once set. That’s bad because then you are just stifling yourself and making do with what you have – and this isn’t who you are meant to be.

You have to first reconnect with your inner desires. If you cannot fail at all, what would you want to do? What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your future? What is the future you want to create for yourself?

Reignite your vision and don’t ever lose sight of it. It’s your fuel to your success.Read more about goal-setting in Step #1 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

11. Being Stuck in Your Way

You insist on doing things a certain way. You don’t open yourself up to new ideas.

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Guess what? You’ll remain stuck in your situation, too.

Open yourself to new methods. Experiment. You can only improve if you are willing to try new things.

Try these 5 Ways to Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Self Improvement.

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t noticed, these 11 reasons are self-created problems – you can easily dismiss them just as you have created them. The more accurate title for this post should be “11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Successful – Yet“.

Your goals are in your hands – you can achieve them as long as you strive for them. Address the 11 things blocking you from your success, and it’s a matter of time before you achieve results you seek.

More Tips for Making Goals Happen

Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

More by this author

Celestine Chua

Celestine is the Founder of Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to boost productivity and achieve excellence in life.

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 42 Practical Ways to Start Working on Self-Improvement 5 Reasons Why Being a Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

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Last Updated on May 6, 2021

How to Be More Assertive and Go After Your Goals

How to Be More Assertive and Go After Your Goals

Life can be tough sometimes, which is why we need to be tough sometimes, too. Learning how to be more assertive is a great way to tick off your tasks and go after your goals and dreams.

It’s not always easy being assertive, especially if you’re used to being a people-pleaser. You might fear that if you act assertively, you’ll be regarded as a demanding and unkind individual.

However, as I’ll show you in the next few minutes, you can be both assertive and kind-hearted. Most importantly, if you sincerely want to achieve your goals, then it’s essential that you call upon the power of assertiveness.

Having an assertive nature will help you overcome obstacles and reach your goals quicker than you may have imagined possible. Assertiveness is a core communication skill[1], one that allows you to stand up for your beliefs and to express yourself effectively.

Of course, there are other advantages to being assertive:

  • Earn other people’s respect
  • Boost your confidence and self-esteem
  • Create win-win situations
  • Gain more career satisfaction
  • Create open and honest relationships

At this point, you’re likely wondering what it takes to learn how to be more assertive. It will take some work on your part, but with a little effort, you can tackle this powerful skill.

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1. Be Direct

The first suggestion I have for you is based on the classic “less is more” philosophy of effective communication.

When it comes to being direct, you shouldn’t make accusations or cause the other person to feel guilty or wrong. There’s no need for long-winded explanations, which can be misleading or confusing for the recipient. Offer a simple answer that doesn’t go too deep into unnecessary thoughts and feelings.

Instead, get straight to your point as soon as you can. For example, instead of making excuses for why you can’t help a coworker on a project, simply say, “I’m really busy right now, so I can’t help with this. But please ask me again next time!” It’s direct, as well as kind, which makes both parties happy.

Being direct will also help you avoid procrastinating when it comes to offering someone an answer. Instead of waiting to say no, you’ll learn how to offer the no immediately. If you find you struggle with procrastination in this area, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.

2. Stay Calm

Another key component of learning how to be more assertive is having the confidence to keep your emotions in check when you need to convey something to someone. This helps in avoiding conflict while various points of view are being discussed.

The trick is to detach your emotions from the situation and think logically. This will help make it easier to come across as in control, and it will inevitably gain a more respectful response from the other party.

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3. Use “I” Statements

Make it a habit to use statements like “I feel ” or “I believe.” Avoid phrases like “you never” or “you always,” which put people on the defense immediately and can lead to poor communication and shutdowns.

“I” statements make you come off more confident and don’t make the other person feel as though you’re attacking them. In other words, state why you believe something rather than criticizing the other party’s viewpoint. 

4. Say “No” More Often

There is a great way to practice assertive behavior, which only requires you to utter a 2-letter word: no. 

By practicing saying no to things you cannot or don’t want to do, you’ll be exercising your assertiveness in a simple but effective way. You don’t need to feel that saying no is selfish; it’s simply a way to make sure you’re putting your energy toward things that matter to you.

5. Don’t Apologize 

Many people have the tendency to begin every potentially assertive statement with an apology. For example, you may say something like, “Sorry to bother you, but could you…” 

These come across as weak and passive — and certainly not assertive. 

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There’s a time and place for being apologetic (e.g., when you’ve accidentally knocked over someone’s drink), but when it comes to being assertive, don’t let an apologetic tone get in the way of what you want to say.

Studies have found that women are more likely to begin statements or requests with apologies[2]. This is because they have a lower threshold than men for what they consider offensive. This means that women need to be more aware of their tendency to do this, but men should also catch themselves before apologizing when it’s unnecessary.

6. Your Body Language Should Match Your Words 

When was the last time you paid attention to your body language and facial expressions?

If it’s been a while, then I suggest you keep a close eye on it in the next few days, particularly when it comes to talking to someone in person.

To come across as confident and assertive, your body language needs to match your words. For assertive people, this means not slumping your shoulders and avoiding eye contact. Instead, it means standing tall and erect, and looking directly in the person’s eyes.

This will serve two purposes. It will consciously and subconsciously impress the person and help them have faith in what you’re saying, and it will make you feel strong, assured, and confident.

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You can check out this TED talk from Amy Cuddy to learn more about how body language shapes the way we feel and speak:

The Bottom Line

Learning how to be more assertive comes down to the simple tips above. However, knowledge is useless without action. So, next time you need to make a request of someone or say no in order to make room for time to achieve your goals, put one of the above tips into practice.

Within a few weeks, you’ll notice you’ve become a stronger, more assertive, and more dynamic person. Furthermore, with these enhanced traits, you’ll find that reaching and exceeding your goals will become second nature to you.

More on How to Be More Assertive

Featured photo credit: Cytonn Photography via unsplash.com

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