Why We Fail it's all in our mindset!
Training and coaching many amazing clients over the years, we’ve seen a few common mistakes when it comes to making changes.
We’ve wrapped them up in 7 key reasons why we fail because sometimes getting clear on what doesn’t work opens us up to what does.
Each reason for failure can usually be traced back to mindset (fundamentally). So how important is mindset?
It really is EVERYTHING isn’t it?
We know it. You probably know it. Henry Ford certainly knew it – he was famously quoted saying: “Whether you think you can or can’t you’re right.”
So, there’s no arguing it’s pretty important right? Yet isn’t it strange how we never really get taught or shown how to influence our mindset to ensure we stay positive and productive?! This is the very reason we created our 6 week online mindset program! Whether conscious or subconscious ultimately our mindset comes down to choice. We have no magic pills, our program introduces techniques, tools, exercises and information to help prompt mini mind-shifts, increase positivity & productivity, as well as treating yourself (& your body) with a little more love and respect. If you’re keen. Check out the details here.
REASONS WHY WE FAIL
1. Our goal isn’t properly defined.
Lofty goals with unclear outcomes are near impossible to achieve, but often we don’t take the time and thought to properly define our goals.
For example, say the goal is to meditate every day.
Sounds simple enough right? But what does that actually mean? How long do we want meditate for in each session? What type of meditation? Is this an on-going goal? 30 days? For a year? Will we try and increase the time per day as we go? What are we looking to feel during and after we meditate? Do we really think it’s realistic to meditate each day from nothing? What will we deem as a success if we manage to achieve it? If we meditated 5 out of 7 days would that still feel like success to us?
Whoa – a lot of questions there right!? But you get the gist, the clearer we can get on what we’re trying to achieve the better.
If you don’t define exactly how and what you want, how will you know when you get there? How will you even know how to get there?
2. We haven’t chosen the best way to achieve our goal.
We can also fall into the trap of thinking we’re going after something, but that something can actually be the medium to get us to the thing we really want – our actual goal.
What does that mean? Well, using the “meditating everyday” example we might think that’s the goal, but when we dig down we find we’re actually looking to feel inspired – for a source of inspiration – which we have assumed is meditating (the medium), but that might not necessarily be the best way to feel inspired for us.
For example, we could watch a TED talk, dance to a favourite track, watch inspirational documentaries OR mediate – the list is endless so why box ourselves in to one medium?
By stating the medium as the goal, we limit ourselves to a single option to achieve our goal and we have missed an opportunity to get clear about what we really want.
The less flexibility we have with the goal, the less likely we are to achieve it.
We would redefine this goal more specifically as; finding at least ten minutes a day to do or absorb something that makes us feel inspired.
See how much easier and flexible that sounds? But more importantly we’re still achieving the actual goal! And MOST importantly – going back to our previous point, we’ve tangibly defined what success means for us in this goal by getting specific on the how and the what.
On another note, sometimes we can set ourselves up to fail, by structuring the goal/s so they work against our natural style/habits/inclinations.
It’s worth considering… What type of personality you have? Do you know you work well being held accountable?! Or does that scare you? Would you rather achieve things in block time chunks or little actionables everyday? Do long term goals work for you or do you find you need lots of short term check in points/feedback?
Find out what your strengths are and what drives you. Structure your goals to work to your strengths and motivations. Set yourself up to win!
3. We don’t consider our mindset.
Often, we jump straight into the action & get caught in the doing, doing, doing and don’t take stock of where our minds are at, let alone take the time to check in on how we are feeling and introduce tools & techniques to keep our mindsets positive and productive. Our minds are our most powerful assets and fundamental part of achieving any goal – big or small!
We’ve all probably had the experience when we go to do something and totally bum out because of doubtful, negative, mind chatter or because we weren’t really all in from the start.
No matter what we’re doing, if our minds aren’t in it – it’s impossible to win it!
Even if sometimes it might not feel like it, we CAN choose which thoughts we focus on and certainly which ones we act on… It just requires a little awareness and discipline – extra tools & techniques can certainly help!
It’s interesting to think our thoughts ALWAYS fit into 1 of these 3 categories: negative, neutral or positive.
It might help to view these thoughts as “thought gears”, we can look at negative as reversing – drawing us away from our goals and tearing ourselves down; we can look at neutral as sitting at the lights – idling with our thoughts – kind of like space fillers if you will – and positive as taking off, steering you towards your goals and building you up.
Be aware of your thoughts and which direction they’re taking you in. If they’re not taking you in the direction you want to go in, can you change things? If not, can change the way you think about them?
4. We don’t think about how we feel.
How we feel influences EVERYTHING and our goals are no exception.
There are two key things when it comes to how we feel and our goals: the first is that we don’t consider how we’re going to feel whilst we’re achieving our goal/s and the second is that we don’t consider how we’re hoping to feel once we’ve achieved our goals.
In the first category, if we’re not having fun, feeling inspired or a sense of progress/fulfilment along the way, we are unlikely to stick with our goals. It’s so important to make sure we enjoy the process. And if we’re not, what can we do to make sure we do?
If you find yourself in this category brainstorm at least 10 things you can do to make it more fun and choose the one you feel most drawn to. If you’re feeling stuck, ask a friend for some creative input!
After all, it’s not about the destination, but the journey 🙂
In the second category, usually if we explore the underlying reason for wanting to achieve a certain goal, it comes back to chasing a feeling. For example, someone wants to lose weight to feel attractive; someone else might want to change their diet to feel more energised; someone else might take up painting to feel expressive.
If we can get clear on how we want to feel we can get clearer on all possible ways of getting there and can likely introduce little ways to feel – that – way along the journey.
For example, if I want to lose weight to feel attractive – perhaps whilst I’m losing weight I could dress differently, dress the way I think I will when I achieve my goal (or some close variation), I could try a new hairstyle or fitness class… Dancing – anything that’s going to get me in that feeling zone!
Get creative with it. Getting clear on the feeling is the hard part, finding ways should be easy! Have fun with it 🙂
There are so many things that we have to do in life, but our goals shouldn’t be yet another one! Never underestimate the importance of having fun! NEVER!
5. We don’t want it enough.
Often we set goals we don’t deep down want! Sounds strange right?! Why on earth would we do this?!
Well, sometimes we find ourselves chasing goals we think we want or think we “should” be chasing, based on what we feel others/society measure us by or even by the measurements we impose on ourselves (funnily enough – usually based on what we think others/society measure us by).
There’s no quick fix to this one, we need to take the time to get clear on what’s motivating us to achieve our goal/s and spend some time with ourselves getting clear on what success means to us in our lives, in eyes, on ours terms.
If you’re really stuck on this, try take some time out to do what makes your soul happy and hopefully you’ll find some clarity there. Spending time in nature, writing, meditating, walking, getting creative or simply getting some quiet time are all good ways to reconnect with yourself and what you truly want to do.
If that sounds too lofty for you… Once upon a time when I was doing a bit of soul searching, a friend of mine asked to me; “What will you look back and give yourself a high five for?”. It’s been a great decision node/framing question for me, perhaps it will be for you too 🙂
Life is short, as is our amount of willpower (for things we’re not truly passionate about). If we don’t want it deep down, we’re not going to change, we will eventually quit or fail. So, do the thing you’ll look back and give yourself a high five for!!
6. We take on too much.
We think we can go from not mediating at all, to doing hours a day like some guru yogies or monks! And get frustrated when we bail on day 3!
It’s great that you have such a drive to achieve, but if you don’t break your goals down into little actionable bite sized steps, you set yourself up to fail.
With this one, it’s about about looking at the overall outcome we’re looking to achieve and seeing what the smallest series of steps we can take to get there are. Try set goals, you feel you can over achieve. It’ll make you feel great and you can always do a little optional extra if you find the motivation, time and space.
Small tweaks, small choices daily = lasting, impactful changes.
If you’re all or nothing you miss out on being something!
Don’t be afraid to adjust the goal posts – be flexible, be realistic. Adjusting isn’t failing, stopping is failing. It’s about the overall outcome – the bigger picture!
7. We can’t see where our goals fit into the bigger picture.
Change is hard. There will always be moments when it’s easier not to do it than to do it. At these moments reframing the underlying reason why we are doing the goal and where it fits into the bigger picture in our lives can be a powerful way to keeping us on track.
A useful exercise here can be to ask yourself: how will doing this improve my life?
Answers can be as out there as you like. Write them down. List as many benefits as big or small as they might be! They all count to steer us in a positive, productive direction.
There’s something about seeing all the reasons why written down in front of you that makes it that much easier to get started and keep going – anytime you feel like giving up, just read through the list (& add to it if you can).
The more purpose fuelled reasons we have to keep going, the less likely we are to give up.
The secret to change is there is no secret. Change takes time, space and commitment, but you’re worth every second of it! Keep at it tiger! Go chase those dreams xx
P.S. If you think you’ve been enjoying what you’ve been reading and you’ve been struggling with mindset, self acceptance and self belief we’ve got just the thing for you! An online 6 week program kicking off Oct 27th. Check out the details here.