8 Mistakes Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals

From time to time I find myself in this inconvenient spot where just nothing is working. This week is definitely one of these “precious” time periods. Everything I planned to achieve turned out differently or worse than expected. The next thing I do whenever such big obstacles or tough situations show themselves is me literally breaking down. I feel crushed, disappointed and I begin to question my motives (at least that’s how bad it turned out this week:)). I break down for some moments (or hours) wishing I never set out to start tackling these goals in the first place. I would just love to quit and stop all the struggles!

“Just give me some peace! You won!”

But then I take a step back or two. I force myself to keep my focus on the bigger picture (meditation helps tremendously here). I then realise that I would just give up too much when I now stop doing what I am doing just because it is hard. I do not want to waste my time here doing less than I am capable of and me now just dropping out of it right in the middle feels a lot like “taking the easier way out” to me. Nope, we don’t do this!:)

Soon I begin to recover from this little emotional spike and see every setback simply as what it is again: a little challenge which might require some creative thinking from my part. When I concentrate on my grand vision for myself again, these little setbacks are not even worth getting angry about and they no longer have the power to push you off your very own path.

So, in this regards, here are my 8 thoughts on why some people have troubles pushing their limits until they finally achieve their goals and others don’t:

1. You are unsure about why they are doing it in the first place

There is a good reason why I emphasize it so much to really think about your motives on why you are doing things. It is the only thing that keeps your mind together when your external world goes crazy (and it will at some stage of the game). You will never be able to control all the external factors which come across your journey but you can always define how you decide to react to them.

If you are NOT sure why something is important to you and why it is of extreme significance to you to make this dream of yours come to reality, you will never have enough “motivation” or willpower to push through the tough times! You will give in. And your dream dies. RIP. If you DO, nothing can stop you. So try to focus on the aspects of your life you CAN control instead.

Always remember that “Event + Response = Outcome”. You definitely cannot change the events that pop into your life (good or bad). And you also cannot change the outcome you think you want or desire. Therefore the only thing that is within your control is your response to the events. Whenever something happens it is you who is in charge to make the right decision and follow through on the actions necessary to get the outcome you want for yourself.

2. You believe that there is no time (anymore)

A lot of “older” people I talked to usually tell me stuff like “well it is easy while you are young, like you are, but I am just too old to start this business! (or any business)”. It is funny because the people I talked to where like 40-50 something years old, far from “being too old” by my definition. For me it is pathetic to think that “it is too late”.

The little personal experience I gained in the last couple of years alone is proof enough for me on how much is possible in just some dedicated years of commitment. There is no difference to me to invest these years into yourself while you are 20 to while you are 60. In the latter you might have to be a bit more resourceful with your time tough. But saying “I am too old” is just another excuse. And I don’t like excuses that much:) Being literally not able to move for two weeks, my body literally forced me to reevaluate my priorities:

  • I had to say no to a lot of stuff (projects, meetings, people, even my job).
  • I had to outsource a lot of my app development because I simply could not spend a lot of time sitting in front of the PC without my back beginning to hurt.
  • I had to spend a lot of time in the bed (which greatly helped me to think about new ideas on how to start my new business and evaluate some of the weird concepts I had in my head)

In the end it doesn’t matter how much time you have because everybody has the same 24 hours. You can either cut back on sleep and get some extra hours for yourself (which is a very bad option and yes I tried that one too) or you can just work more efficiently (which is the smarter way to do).

3. You need help but are not trained in getting the right people to support you

When I first started out I literally thought I have to do it all. It is just what everybody tries to tell you. “As an entrepreneur you have to be responsible for EVERYTHING! Marketing, accounting, development, leading, researching, laws, etc.”.

At first I believed that myth too and I have put in an enormous amount of time to push my literally not existing skills in these areas of business. Soon I realised I simply cannot do everything by myself and my body kinda broke down after endless weeks of 18 hour workdays. I had to admit that I needed help with these things (although I wanted to just to do it all by myself and prove everybody else wrong. Well, I had a little ego issue there back then:))

So me trying to do everything on my own was definitely not something I would consider “working smart” or “efficiently” like I said before. It was actually pretty dumb.

I soon started to outsource all the stuff I had no idea of. First I got an advisor for my law stuff. He set me up a non-disclosure agreement template for my hired freelancers to sign. Immediately I had one problem less on my list and an expert took good care of it. That whole thing cost me literally nothing but a 10 minute Skype call and the willingness to boldly ask for help. At first, it was a big problem and caused me huge amounts of stress. Now, after taking a step back and accepting some external help, everything of this stress is gone, the problem is solved and everything is cool again.

I did the same with every other area in my business I had challenges with and I didn’t feel capable of handling all by myself. I literally outsourced all my problems to India, China, Australia and the Philippines! Fun stuff:)

4. You are not willing to put in the time

Ok, I never would advise anybody to do it the way I did it while I was burning myself down working these endless working days and completely skipping sleep for one day per week! I mean it, don’t do it! I just did it because I didn’t know better.

Usually when you are burning yourself down while working too much, it is a sign that the kind of way you work is not effective enough. Maybe you are not delegating enough tasks to other people and put some of the burden off of you. Maybe you are not in an area of expertise which is not in correlation with your inner purpose, so everything you do feels just wrong and therefore makes the task itself super hard. Maybe you are just not working smart and you are lacking some simple tricks on how to tweak your performance (think about the Pareto principle).

I usually ask myself: “What would I remove from my daily processes if somebody puts a gun to my head and says I have to work 3 hours less this day!” Somehow my priorities show up very clearly afterwards! I am definitely a fan to put in the time into some project that is of importance to yourself. I really do. But don’t overdo it. Pick your tasks in the beginning of the day. Do it. And then be done with it. Recharge and do the same the next day again.

5. You are living on a very short time perspective

Always look on the bigger picture. I heard once a story that big Japanese companies have a 500 year business plan. WHAT!:) Now that is what I call a long time perspective. Looks like they see the “bigger picture” for themselves. Well, I wouldn’t go so extreme (yet), but I do have a clear “direction” where I want to be heading and where this direction might be leading me in the next couple of years. It is helpful for you in order to stay on the narrow road which is leading you towards achieving your goals.

6. You want instant success and therefore burn yourself out

Everyone who wants to do this ONE BIG THING and tries to “make it” with it is just another person on my “pathetic people list”. Nothing big comes from a one hit wonder. And you definitely don’t want to be one of them. Society wants to sell you the dream of getting rich fast or instant success, but there is nothing like that out there. And if there is, it is not sustainable or healthy.

I don’t know about you, but I better build something from the ground, something that has a solid foundation and that can last a lifetime. 

Therefore, do your little steps everyday and see where it might be leading you.

7. You do not track your progress and are therefore unsure of your overall progress

Because the steps you take towards achieving your goals are so tiny in comparison to your big dreams you might find yourself in a place where you easily lose track of where you are heading or how far you have come so far. I definitely did.

Therefore head over to Google Docs or something, create a new file and write everyday what you did in order to get closer to your goals. Write down all accomplishments and little tasks.

It costs you nothing but one of your time every day but it can give you guidance, control, overview, persistence, motivation, willpower, direction, vision, a sense of accomplishment, gravitate, and a lot of other cool emotions!:)

8. You stop when it gets “hard”

If you are serious about something, just don’t stop until you get there. You just go. Everyday.

But if you still feeling like throwing it all away, maybe you should! I am serious. If you are unsure why you are doing something and why it is worth all the struggles and pain which comes with getting there, maybe it is not meant for you. Maybe you are making it yourself too hard because you force yourself in a direction you are not meant to go. Either do it or leave it. But once you commit to doing something because you searched your inner purpose and your desires to do this very thing, just do it. Don’t even consider considering to stop lol. Otherwise you are just betraying yourself. And we don’t do that either!:)

(Photo: Flickr)

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  • Michelle

    I am at a very challenging phase of my career as freelancer, and upon reading your blog you gave me a very optimistic reason to keep my life moving. Realizing that there are hundreds of reason for me to stop hoping to achieve my goals BUT there are millions of ways on how I can achieve it. Thanks for refocusing me to my goals. Keep on sharing your wonderful outlook in life.

  • Thomas Mondel

    Cool. I am happy you found something useful in this article!