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Last Updated on June 26, 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 Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

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Last Updated on November 5, 2020

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. A rut can manifest as a productivity vacuum and be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. Is it possible to learn how to get out of a rut?

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, or a student, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on Small Tasks

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks that have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate positive momentum, which I bring forward to my work.

If you have a large long-term goal you can’t wait to get started on, break it down into smaller objectives first. This will help each piece feel manageable and help you feel like you’re moving closer to your goal.

You can learn more about goals vs objectives here.

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2. Take a Break From Your Work Desk

When you want to learn how to get out of a rut, get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the bathroom, walk around the office, or go out and get a snack. According to research, your productivity is best when you work for 50 minutes to an hour and then take a 15-20 minute break[1].

Your mind may be too bogged down and will need some airing. By walking away from your computer, you may create extra space for new ideas that were hiding behind high stress levels.

3. Upgrade Yourself

Take the down time to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Go to a seminar, read up on a subject of interest, or start learning a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college[2]. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a Friend

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while. Relying on a support system is a great way to work on self-care when you’re learning how to get out of a rut.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget About Trying to Be Perfect

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism can lead you to fear failure, which can ultimate hinder you even more if you’re trying to find motivation to work on something new.

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If you allow your perfectionism to fade, soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come, and then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

Learn more about How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up.

6. Paint a Vision to Work Towards

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the ultimate goal or vision you have for your life?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. You can use the power of visualization or even create a vision board if you like to have something to physically remind you of your goals.

7. Read a Book (or Blog)

The things we read are like food for our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great material.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. You can also stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs and follow writers who inspire and motivate you. Find something that interests you and start reading.

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8. Have a Quick Nap

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep[3].

Try a nap if you want to get out of a rut

    One Harvard study found that “whether they took long naps or short naps, participants showed significant improvement on three of the four tests in the study’s cognitive-assessment battery”[4].

    9. Remember Why You Are Doing This

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall your inspiration, and perhaps even journal about it to make it feel more tangible.

    10. Find Some Competition

    When we are learning how to get out of a rut, there’s nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, and networking conventions can all inspire you to get a move on. However, don’t let this throw you back into your perfectionist tendencies or low self-esteem.

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    11. Go Exercise

    Since you are not making headway at work, you might as well spend the time getting into shape and increasing dopamine levels. Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, or whatever type of exercise helps you start to feel better.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

    If you need ideas for a quick workout, check out the video below:

    12. Take a Few Vacation Days

    If you are stuck in a rut, it’s usually a sign that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange one or two days to take off from work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax, do your favorite activities, and spend time with family members. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest.

    More Tips to Help You Get out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Ashkan Forouzani via unsplash.com

    Reference

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