Setting goals and dreaming up the life that we want for ourselves is one thing. Follow through is another. While there are excellent guidelines out there for goal setting like SMART goals, there are many things that can derail us. Often, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to making changes even though we have the best intentions. Awareness is half the battle. Here are 6 reasons why people don’t get shit done.
1. They aren’t your goals
As humans, we want to make others happy. People around us – parents, spouses, and friends – often have high hopes and expectations for us. It can be easy to adopt other’s goals for us as our own without even thinking about it. “Mom and Dad want me to be a doctor…I want to go to med school!” “My husband thinks I should get my real estate license…I’ve got to study for that test!” “My friend wants to go to Vegas; I’d better start saving for that trip.” Sure, sometimes other’s goals and aspirations do align with what we truly want for ourselves…but sometimes they don’t.
If I’m not feeling motivated or excited about a goal I’ve set for myself or a change I want to make I stop and check in. Does it align with my values…my overall vision…my purpose? Or did this come from someone else?
2. Resistant to change
Change is scary. Often, there can be a mental block to accomplishing goals where people want the result, but are resistant to the actual actions that the change requires. Think wanting to save for a down payment on a house, but being unwilling to give up impulsive spending sprees or fancy coffees at Starbucks. We say to ourselves, “oh just one more time…” but several months later we’re still doing the same thing that works against our goals. When it comes to getting shit done, there is often a compromise or trade-off involved that comes with delayed gratification.
In addition, there is risk associated with change. You may not fear change itself, but simply fear the risk that the change represents to you. There are ways to manage risks and become more open to change. Here’s 12 ways to overcome your resistance to change.
3. No system
We are creatures of habit. The problem is, our old habits aren’t going to get us new results. When setting goals, many people simply write down a list of goals or changes they want to make and leave it. They have no plan or system to help them take consistent action that will result in the desired change. To succeed, you need a way to break down your goal into bite-sized actions, schedule them into your daily life, and measure your progress over time.
How do you do this? I’ve created a simple system to help my clients set, track, and measure their goals using an excel spreadsheet or Google sheet. Stay tuned for a free downloadable template coming soon!
This is a sneaky, slippery thing. In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks writes about a glass ceilings. We get to a certain level in our journey of growth and then, BAM! We hit a glass ceiling we didn’t even know we had. Fear takes over and we sabotage ourselves. We subconsciously believe that we are not worthy or deserving or capable enough to rise to the next level, and so we shoot ourselves in the foot. Ouch.
The trick is to get wise to yourself. Often, if we look closely, we can see our personal pattern of self-sabotage in our past. Everyone does it a bit differently, but the result is always the same. We sell ourselves out. Here’s an example:
After four years in business an entrepreneur is finally making a name for herself in her industry. She gets a big break, with her company profiled by a major media outlet. Then, she meets “Mr. Right” at a party. She’s smitten. Soon, her focus is shifted off her business and onto her relationship with the man. He becomes her priority and she begins to neglect the business. She blows off team meetings and calls with potential investors for two hour lunch dates. She comes into the office late and exhausted after staying up all night with him. Within a few months, the business begins to take nosedive.
We can use all kinds of things to sabotage ourselves. Other people, alcohol, drugs, food, toxic negative thinking, impulsive decision making, etc. Often it comes wrapped in a package that is socially acceptable, at first. A new love! A few drinks with the girls after work. Putting your spouse first. But then it crosses the line and throws your life wildly out of balance. Coming to terms with family and loved ones that may be involved in our self-sabotage can be one of the hardest things to deal with. People can still love us, but also hinder us. Only we can set those boundaries against self-sabotage.
5. Fighting the flow
We aren’t robots. We are spiritual beings who are affected by all kinds of ebbs and flows, from nature’s seasons to physical changes in our bodies, emotional ups and downs, and shifts in interpersonal relationships. Being aware of our ups and downs and when we are at our best is crucial for productivity. Everyone is different. Keeping a journal and tracking your daily, weekly, or monthly ebb and flow can provide good insight into optimal times for you to work on your goals.
You can also learn to avoid pressure cooker situations. “Why in the hell did I decide to have a launch for my business on the same week I booked five new client calls, my relatives are coming to visit, and I have dental surgery?!” Ok, that’s a bit of an extreme example. But, we’ve all been there to some degree when you’re kicking yourself for a schedule you said “yes” to. Be kind to yourself.
6. Excuses, not solutions
“I don’t have enough time.” “I had to take my kids to soccer practice.” “I don’t have the money.” “I’m too old.” “I’m too young.” “I’m not experienced enough.” “No one will take me seriously.” “My dog ate it.” “I have bad hair.” “It’s his fault.”
If I had a dollar for every excuse I’ve ever heard, I’d be filthy rich, LOL. I really believe that excuses are a waste of breath, not to mention time and energy. The brain power we use coming up with a clever excuse could be channeled toward a solution. There is always a choice, a way out, or a way through. It’s not always easy, but it is possible with the willingness to change (see #2 of this post).
There’s a reason why my motto is “No excuses, only solutions!”
Do any of these reasons resonate with you? I’ve been there, and I’ve done a butt load of work to grow past these limits so that I can help others do the same. I offer one on one coaching and courses to help you shift out of self-sabotage and resistance, build a system, and start getting shit done! Learn more here.