Pitfalls, or Reasons We Fail

There are many possible reasons that explain why we set out to achieve something and fail. If you’re not achieving the goals you set, your first and most important job is to identify WHY. There is some constraint or obstacle that’s getting in the way, and you need to identify it so you can start taking steps to remove it.

Once you’ve identified the biggest obstacle to your progress and success, you must pour your energy into solving that problem. A light properly focused into a single, narrow beam is much more effective at heating a specific spot than that same beam focused on a broad area. It’s important that you identify your obstacle, and focus your attention and energy on it until it has been removed.

The following list describes my top candidates for things that interfere with achieving our goals, and below that are suggestions for ways to overcome them. See if you can identify which of these is your biggest obstacle.

  1. Lack of Focus
  2. Lack of Action
  3. Lack of Commitment
  4. Lack of Knowledge (you’re not sure how to proceed)
  5. Lack of Resources (time, energy or money)
  6. Lack of Clarity

Problem #1: Lack of Focus: Losing sight of the goal
For many of us, we are clear about the goal and are not shy about taking action, but we simply get distracted. We get pulled into daily chores and errands, start worrying the budget, preparing the taxes, planning summer vacation, whatever …..

There are a couple of closely related items that identify most of the causes for our lack of focus:

  • Allowing too many distractions
  • Letting our priorities getting “out of whack”, e.g. spending too much time at happy hour, or on the golf course.
  • Trying to do too much

Solution: To put it simply, maintaining focus requires the discipine to say “no” to distractions, i.e. anything that doesn’t move you closer to your goal. In the words of Dr. Steven Covey:

“The main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” – Dr. Steven Covey

Problem #2: Lack of Action
No amount of positive thinking, good karma or great planning will produce results without consistent, focused action. This one should probably be #1, but if you can’t stay focused on the goal you won’t remember to take action consistently, so we’ll make it #2. In terms of most frequent pitfalls though, this is it. If we don’t take action on a regular basis it simply won’t happen.

    “Nothing happens until something moves.” – Albert Einstein

This defeats more goal achievers more than any other cause, so if we clearly identify it as the problem getting in our way, we can give it the attention and focus it deserves to defeat it.

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