What to do when you're the obstacle to your own success
We often set goals with the best of intentions, but a lack of confidence can cause setbacks and make it tough to attain what you want. To help make sure you're not standing in the way of your dreams, we're getting expert advice for going after what you want and for sidestepping any insecurities along the way to success.
We asked Christina Steinorth, licenced psychotherapist and author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships, for her insight into getting out of your own way when it comes to achieving your goals.
Don't get overwhelmed
Having goals is a good thing and an important part of moving your life forward, but achieving them can often feel overwhelming if you focus more on the end result than the steps it will take to get there. "So many people never reach their goals because they look at the entirety of what they need to accomplish to achieve them," says Steinorth. "Reaching success can be an enormous if not daunting task, but if you just take little steps every day toward reaching your goal and keep everything moving in a forward direction, eventually you'll get there." For example, if you want to lose weight, then rather than simply telling yourself you want to lose 50 pounds in six months, Steinorth suggests starting with small lifestyle changes. "Tell yourself that instead of fried chicken, you'll eat roasted chicken. Instead of french fries, you'll have a green vegetable. Every little step will get you closer to your goal, and it won't seem so overwhelming."
Tune out all the naysayers
Letting someone tell you that what you want to do isn't possible — and believing them — instantly minimizes your chances of success. If you want to succeed, then tune out the naysayers, advises Steinorth. "When you're constantly told by others why you can't or why you shouldn't pursue your success, you will eventually start to believe those comments," she explains. Instead, surround yourself with people who encourage you, which will help you believe in yourself even more. The key is to look beyond negative feedback and continue on your path. "Remember, if success was easy, everyone would be successful. Stay focused on your goals, and tune out the negative noise," Steinorth advises.
Lose your ego
Having confidence is an essential ingredient in achieving what you want, but don't let your ego get in the way of your goals. "Don't ever think you are too good or too smart to do or learn anything. There is value in everything we learn in life and on our road to success," explains Steinorth. "A lot of people don't want to do the grunt work when they work toward success, but grunt work is 90 per cent of success." If you want something, then be willing to put in the work required to get it.
Don't take shortcuts
As much as we'd all like to see success come sooner rather than later, trying to find shortcuts will ultimately hinder your progress. "Simply put, there is no short path to success," says Steinorth. "If you need certain credentials to do what you need to do, get them. If you need certain skills to reach your goal, learn them," she advises. The alternative — skipping important steps that you're going to need anyway — could end up setting you back even further. "People often want instant success, and in such, they sometimes will inflate their experience in order to get to the next level of their goal, but at some point, a house of cards will topple. Build your success on a solid foundation."
Don't give up
Not seeing results can start to wear on a person's resolve, but if you really want to achieve success, then you can't give up. "It's amazing how many people give up on their goals when they're very close to achieving them. Keep going, and you'll get there," Steinorth advises. If you're not making the progress you want, then look at what might be slowing you down, and find ways to continue moving forward.