5 ways Your Self Help Goals kill your Success

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Got lots of big hairy audacious goals? Read on.

Time and time again, I’ve seen super motivated, fantastically talented people just like you completely bust their ass working toward their goals, and the one thing they managed to do successfully was burn out, or worse yet, feel like a failure so much that they quit. 

We live in a society that tells us we can have it all; success, fame, money, the perfect spouse, career, kids, whatever. We believe that success comes to those who work hard and take charge of their life.

Walk into any bookstore and take a gander at the self-help section and you’ll see thousands of books claiming to teach you how to achieve this. Books like “The Law Of Attraction” and “The Secret” are in practically everyone’s library.  We love learning about how to create a better life for ourselves and others, and in general that’s a great thing.

So what’s the problem? 

If we are here to self-actualize and have the inner drive to do it, why aren’t more of us achieving? Many of us are still in the same place day after day despite our best efforts. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not into desperate acts of futility.  If something isn’t working then continuing to do it makes about as much sense as letting Bernie Madoff plan your retirement.  The main problem with being super-self-improvement focused is the fact that we are super-self-improvement focused.  

In other words, we’ve taken the means and turned it into the end.  Because of this, we can’t find the inner state of being that allows us to own success. So to help with this…

Here are the top 5 reasons why your constant self-help goals are killing your ability to be successful and what you can do about it. 

1.  It implies where you are right now isn’t good enough.  You are at this particular point in your life for a very important reason.  Everything you have ever experienced has lead you to this very point in your life. That deserves to be honored.  Where you are right now is perfectly fine.  Sure, you want to improve and make changes.  That’s great.  But, don’t be so focused on climbing the ladder of personal awesomeness that you begin to feel inadequate about who you are and what you’ve accomplished.

What you can do:  Realize that you rock just the way you are, and perfection is boring.  Even your failures and shortcomings are purposeful. Take the time to see the lesson. Which leads me to my next point.

2.  It prevents you from being able to see the lesson.  The easiest and swiftest way to make progress is to focus on the lesson at hand. You cannot move from one place to the next if you can’t figure out why you have the challenge to start with.  Learning the lesson moves your forward. Period.  So stay focused on that and let the next step come naturally.

What you can do: Honestly ask yourself why (Insert-whatever-it-is) is in your life and how you can learn from it.  Let go of outcomes and for God sake, try to have a little fun.

3.  Success becomes a moving target.  This one is a biggie.  It seems that no matter how much you achieve, you want to more more more. Your previous accomplishments are quickly forgotten and you’re on to the next big thing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as it provides you with a sense of fulfillment and you stop to recognize your success.  The danger of this is that no matter how much you achieve, you will never truly be satisfied because you are future focused on some perceived “end-point” of subjective achievement.

What you can do: There is no one thing you will ever do that will make you feel like you’ve “made it.” Learn to enjoy the journey because it’s all you have. Life is lived in the now.  You’ve probably already succeeded at things that you never thought you would ever accomplish.  The truth is, you have already arrived!

4.  The process is ass-backwards.  In order to get where you want to go, you have to understand where you are.  It’s a lot like taking a trip.  You can’t get to San Francisco if you don’t know what city you’re starting out from.  It’s the same way with personal goals.  You have to have at least some idea of where you are before you can create a viable plan of action to take you from A to B.  The vast majority of people skip this crucial step.  Even if they end up accomplishing their goal, many times it isn’t something they actually want.  It reminds me of the doctor who graduates from medical school and realizes the last thing she wants to do is be a doctor.

What you can do:  Take the time to do an honest assessment of where you are right now and why you want what you want.  Does achieving this goal truly honor your higher purpose and life mission, or do you want it for some other reason? Make sure you understand what is motivating you.

5.  It produces change that doesn’t last.  True change begins from within.  In our fast-paced world, we want to see results quickly.  That’s not conducive to inner reflection which usually happens at a much slower rate than what our hyper little attention spans are used to.  In all honesty, some people spend their entire lives learning how to overcome only one or two inner wounds and challenges.  If you don’t take the proper amount of time to thoroughly work through your bag-o-crap, your success will be short-lived.

What you can do:  Ask yourself, “What’s the rush!? What will happen if I do not accomplish this thing within the next six months or year?”  The answer is probably nothing! So hold your horses and try to enjoy the process.  You are much more likely to stick to the changes you make if you are enjoying yourself and having fun.

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • Which one of the 5 reasons resonates with you the most?
  • How do you think you’ll approach your goals now, with these thoughts in mind?

Let me know in the comments!





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