If you want to achieve your goals, you need to stop doing these six things. Many people don’t even know they’re doing them. Find out if you are.
In my last post, I gave you 5 things you need to do to achieve your goals. And today, I’m going to tell you about six things you need to stop doing.
These things are just as important. And the reason is that you may be doing all the five things I mentioned in my previous post. But if you’re also doing these six things, then you’re sabotaging yourself and ruining your efforts.
It’s like taking five steps forward and six steps back.
And I want you to move forward continually on the things that matter to you. So I had to write this post too.
Are you ready? Ok! Let’s get started.
6 things you need to stop doing so you can achieve your goals
These points aren’t in any specific order. But the first of these six things I’m looking at today is, that you’ll need to stop…
1. Over analysing
If your personality type is such that you like to analyse things really well before making a decision or acting, then this is particularly relevant for you.
I’m a thinker and a dreamer. And as such, my mind can sometimes go off on tangents examining all the possibilities that can arise from a decision.
There’s nothing wrong with analysing things. It’s of course very wise to think before you act. But it can be a problem when the thinking stops the acting.
People who analyse a lot, are more likely to procrastinate action because they don’t feel that they’ve analysed enough or considered all the options or angles.
Thus, analysing can just be another form of procrastination.
At some point, you’re going to have to put your stake in the ground and do something – even if you don’t haven’t assessed all the facts or details.
This can be scary as it can feel like you’re driving through a fog. But just as when we drive through fogs, as long as you know what your next action is, that’s all you need.
Trust that as you make progress and move forward, things will become clearer. Just take action, because you’ll be able to see further down the road, the further along the road you go.
2. Being afraid
Fear is probably the number one killer of goals. It sucks the oxygen and life out of a dream just like those dreaded Dementors in the Harry Potter novels suck the life out of people.
Fear comes in all shapes and sizes and is particularly hard to get rid of.
One of the main reasons for this is because it’s often a result of some hard-wiring on our psyche or character due to past experiences or teachings.
The good news is that whatever your past, you can overcome your present fears. It just takes some new re-wiring.
One way to re-wire yourself is to take action even when you are scared. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the decision to act despite fear.
The more you act in an area where you have a fear, the smaller the fear becomes. Ask anyone who does a lot of public speaking. They were probably terrified at their first speaking event. But over time, through continual action, their initially paralysing fears were considerably reduced.
Another way is to use affirmations. These help to re-wire our thinking. This isn’t some rah-rah idea but is a scientifically-backed method for genuinely changing how your mind processes and defines things. A good book to read would be Carol Dweck’s Mindset or The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.
Affirmations are powerful. And, when used daily, can create a ripple effect of positive change in your life.
Do you need to know all the things first?
No. No you don’t. At some point, you need to stop gathering facts, estimates, quotes and extra knowledge and just act.
This is another form of procrastination that affects those whose personality types have a thirst for knowledge.
It’s easy to say to yourself, ‘I’m gonna start next week, I just need to find out what the best XYZ is first’.
You don’t need to know everything before you begin. Just begin.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do any research. Research is a good thing. And that’s another reason why this one can be a subtle goal-strangler. You may not even realise that you’re killing your goal.
Research is good and necessary. But you don’t need all the facts.
I remember listening to a podcast for leaders, and the hosts were talking about making decisions. They concluded that the best leaders don’t act when they know all the facts. They act when they’re 70% sure of the action they need to take.
Waiting for more information so you can be 99 or 95% sure will have you waiting for a very long time. Because the truth is, you probably may never know all the facts. At some point, you need to say to yourself, ‘Based on what I know now, this is the best next action for me to take.’
Just like my foggy road scenario above, you’ll know more facts the further along the path you go. And sometimes, that’s the only way we get to know more facts! So stop your constant researching and get to work!
4. Stop perfecting
This is a tough one. And if you’re a perfectionist like me, this’ll be the one you struggle with the most.
People who like to perfect things are genuinely hard-working people. They’re busy all the time. And so, whilst it might seem that you’re working really hard on your goal and doing a lot. You’re not actually moving forward.
And this is the big difference between productive people and non-productive people.
Productive people, by definition, produce.
Perfectionists who are constantly chipping away at something to make it perfect don’t actually produce anything until they stop their constant chipping, put down their tools and call it ‘done‘.
It’s hard for perfectionists to call something done and move on to the next task because to a perfectionist, things can always be improved.
It’s a noble and good quality to have; the desire to do things with excellence. But if you’re not careful, it can just be another form of procrastination.
If you’re a perfectionist, make a decision to be satisfied to a certain point and then move on to the next thing. If it’s extremely necessary, you can come back to it and do some more perfecting later. Keep your goal deadline in mind to help you to move on from a task and bring more urgency to your actions. The old adage ‘done is better than perfect’ is true.
5. Stop waiting on…
- Jane Doe
- the right moment
- X parcel to arrive
- your kids to grow up
- your work schedule to lighten up
- an improvement to your back pain
- pigs to fly and so on and so forth
Whatever it is that seems to be holding you up, there’s always something else you can do to move you closer to your goal.
What are you waiting for?
If you’ve stopped working toward a goal because of some kind of obstacle, some huge boulder in your path, what is it?
Let me ask you a question. What happens when you put a boulder in a stream?
That’s right. The water flows around it.
Whatever that boulder is that life dropped into your stream, you can work around it. You can do something – even if it’s the tiniest action – to move you just a bit closer to your goal.
So Jane Doe hasn’t come back with those quotes for your kitchen remodel? Maybe you can look at the different costs of replacing your dinnerware or that old kettle that’s on it’s last legs.
Or that parcel hasn’t yet arrived with your new running shoes? Maybe you can download a fitness app onto your phone today so that when those shoes arrive, you’re ready to hit the ground running. 😉
Whatever it is you’re waiting on, don’t let that stop you from taking action – any small action – TODAY!
Life will put lots of boulders along the streams of your goals. With a little thought, you’ll find a tiny action you can take today to keep sailing towards your dream.
6. Using your left over time
My final point has to do with priority. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that if you want to achieve your goals, you need to schedule time to work on them.
This final point relates specifically to the type of time you schedule to work on your goal.
Are you trying to squeeze in working on your goal in the margins of your life, late at night when the kids have gone to bed?
Are you trying to research at the end of a long day? Or craft/write/design with whatever time you have left over?
If so, you need to stop doing this.
As applaudable as it is to be such a hard worker that you’re willing to burn the candle at both ends or squeeze in an action here or there when you’re tired from a long day, you’re actually making it harder for yourself.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with working into the night…. if you’re a night owl. But most people aren’t.
For the majority of people, their best cognitive hours are between 3-6 hours after waking up. And their cognitive ability to focus and make decisions decreases as the hours go by.
If you’re passionate about achieving your goal, you need to find out what time of day you’re at your sharpest mentally and energetically. Once you start using these hours to work on your goal, you’ll be surprised at how far and how fast you’ll make progress!
If you’re thinking, ‘But my best time is at 9 am and I’m at work!’ Then you may want to get up earlier so that you can get a small task done toward your goal before you begin your workday.
Imagine if you woke up just half an hour earlier. Got to the office half and hour earlier and took action for 30 minutes toward your goal each day when you were at your sharpest and most energetic.
Can you imagine what would you achieve at the end of the week?
My guess is a lot more than you would from working 2 hours each night when your brain and energy have drained down into complete exhaustion.
And imagine if you knew exactly what you’d be working on in those 30 minutes before work. How much more would you accomplish?
I’m sure you see how powerful this is.
I create a written task list for my day the night before. It gives me clarity and focus for when I start my work in the morning. And as I’m a morning person, I know that I do my best focused work in the early hours.
Identify your peak time for focus and the actions you’ll take during that time and you’ll be flying!
If you love stationery and would like to use beautiful printables to prioritise your tasks and help you get things done, be sure to check out Paper Me Pretty, a digital stationery subscription that I’m launching soon. I’m sooo excited!
So, which of these things do you need to stop doing so you can achieve your goals? Let me know in the comments.