How many times have you repeatedly set out to achieve the same goal that you've already set for the past 5 years to eat healthier, exercise regularly, get out of debt, spend more quality time with your family, or be more positive?
If you're like me and just about everybody else in the world, I'm sure you have goals that you just never seem to get around to accomplishing. You might think about them frequently, but for whatever reason, you just can't harness the energy to get started.
In this blog, I’m going to share with you three crucial errors that may be stopping you from achieving your goals and how you can overcome them. Plus, I’ll share with you the one thing that really allowed me to start moving the needle and achieving my biggest, most important goals.
For the longest time, the goal I kept setting but not following through on was writing.
I told myself over and over again that I was going to FINALLY write a book. But the years went by, and nothing happened. I was all talk and no action.
So what was holding me back from writing?
Why was it that despite the fact that I wanted to be a published author, I just couldn’t seem to get myself to sit down and write?
After careful thought and examination, I came up with three crucial mistakes that were keeping me from achieving my goal.
3 Crucial Mistakes Keeping You From Achieving Your Goals
1. Lack of Desire
Despite the fact that I really wanted to have a published book and be a published writer, the truth was that I didn’t really want to do what it takes to be a writer. If I had, I would have sat down and started putting words on paper.
Instead of being honest with myself, I disillusioned myself into believing my excuses. Excuses like:
- I don’t know what to write about.
- There's not enough time in the day for me to work on my goal.
- I’ll work on achieving my goal tomorrow.
All that my excuses did was leave me feeling frustrated and guilty about not sitting down and writing.
Finally, one day I decided to get real with myself, and I asked myself if I really wanted to write.
Surprisingly, my answer was a big fat “No!”
I was finally honest with myself, and that was a huge relief.
Instead of beating myself up over why I hadn’t followed through on my goal, I was finally able to relax and focus on other goals in my life that I actually wanted to achieve.
How Did I Finally Start Working Toward Achieving My Goal?
Now I bet you’re wondering, if I decided that I didn’t want to write, then how did I eventually sit down and write two books? Not to mention create this blog post?
Well, a few years ago, I began getting the itch to write again.
Once again, I asked myself if I were willing to put in the time and effort it would take to actually write. And this time, I answered with a confident “Yes!”
I got excited and told myself that this time was going to be different. This time I was willing to do the work. This time I would achieve my goal and become a writer.
But there was a problem.
A month after making the decision to write, I still wasn't writing.
Every time I thought about going to my office to write, I would get an unpleasant feeling of complete drudgery. Even though I had said that I was going to write, when it came time to actually follow through and write, I would tell myself that I didn’t feel like it right now and that I would do it later.
Again, I was stumped.
I knew I really, really wanted to write, so why wasn’t I?
When I wasn’t writing, I felt motivated to write but thinking about actually writing led me to feel exhausted.
So one day, instead of writing, I decided to research why I was losing my motivation to write when it was time to sit down and do the work.
I eventually discovered the culprit…
2. Depleted willpower.
Psychology studies reveal that willpower is a mental energy. And like all energy reserves, your willpower can be used up throughout the day. I was trying to write after I was mentally exhausted from teaching all day. No matter how much I wanted to write, sitting down when I was tired only led to writer's block.
So if the end of the day is a bad time to start a new behavior like writing because you have depleted willpower, when do you have the most willpower?
And the answer is… When your brain is fresh, rested, and not feeling stressed and overwhelmed. And in most cases, that is first thing in the morning.
In my book, Intentional Mornings, I talk about the importance of tackling your most important goal first thing in the morning. Not your most urgent goal, but your most important goal.
To be successful, you must work on your goal before you open your email, talk to clients, or do any other energy-sucking task you may have on your agenda. And for most people, this probably means getting up an hour or earlier.
Work on your goal before you open your email, talk to clients, or do any other energy-sucking task you may have on your agenda.
I can hear your thoughts now. “Get up an hour earlier. You must be out of your mind!”
Look, I get it. I felt exactly the same way. I was already getting up at 6 just to be at work on time. So how could I possibly get up at 5?
Well, the truth is I really wanted to become a writer. I now knew that deleted willpower was holding me back. And I realized that if I were going to succeed, I would have to get up earlier.
Remember, if you really want to achieve your goal, and it’s important to you, then you can’t allow your excuses to be more important than results.
"If you want to achieve your goals, then you can't allow your excuses to be more important than results." - Robert Louis Sims
But even if you decide to make the changes needed to succeed, you must now overcome the third critical error that keeps you from achieving your goals, and that is…
3. Poor habits.
Even when I began getting up early to start writing, I still had poor habits that kept me from using my time wisely.
At first, I would get up, grab some breakfast, pick up my phone and start scanning the internet. I would tell myself how I needed to catch up on the news or the latest sports scores. Before I knew it, I had used up 45 minutes of my extra hour.
To correct this, I decided that if I were going to succeed at writing in the mornings, I would have to replace reading the news with reading a book on how to write a book.
How I Finally Started Writing My First Book
I searched Amazon and found a great little book called The 90 Minute Book Outline. What’s great about this book is that it has action steps that helped me make progress toward achieving my goal.
Making that one simple shift from reading about the news to reading about writing led me to create the change I was seeking in my life. Within just a few months, I had written my first book and created my first blog.
If you would like to learn more, I suggest you check out my book Intentional Mornings today. In it, I provide you with a step-by-step plan of how to achieve your goals and transform your life one morning at a time.
As someone once said, "If you want to change some things in your life, you've got to change some things in your life."
If you have goals you are struggling to accomplish, it’s time to stop hoping your circumstances will change and begin today making the changes that will change your circumstances.
There you have it. The three critical errors that could be stopping you from achieving your goals and how you can overcome them.
Give them a try, and let me know how it goes. Remember, achieving your goals isn’t always easy, but it can be simple.
So what goal do you really want to accomplish, and what are you going to do right now to start turning it into a reality?