20 Reasons you’re not reaching your goals.

By David Joel Miller.

What is getting in the way of reaching your goals?

Finish line

Reaching Goals.

You started out with a lot of goals you wanted to reach, but along the way, something went wrong.

Things are not turning out the way you wanted them to and are taking longer than you expected.

Sometimes you may feel like that hamster stuck in the wheel, running harder and harder but getting nowhere.

What can you do to finally reach your goals?

Here is my top 20 list of reasons you’re not reaching your goals.

1. Chasing someone else’s goal takes you in the wrong direction.

Make sure your goal reflects your passion in life. Pursuing someone else’s dream for you results in you neglecting your own dreams. Examine the goal you are working towards, are you the one who selected this goal and will reaching it satisfy you. If you are pursuing a goal to make someone else approve of you, it’s not your goal. You won’t be able to put your all into building something that’s not meaningful to you.

2. You’re pursuing the wrong goal.

Chasing money will not get you to love or happiness. Don’t make the mistake of pursuing one goal when what you want is something else. Many people make the mistake of pursuing money thinking this will get them the love and respect of others. Everyone needs enough money to meet their basic needs, but beyond that more money will not necessarily make you happier. Don’t tell yourself your pursuit of money is for your family if it takes you farther and farther away from them.

3. Your goals are fuzzy.

Beware of nebulous goals that are hard to define. You need to write goals down and research them. If your goal is success, you need to know how that success will be measured. Do you want to have a lot of friends? Do you want to do important work? Which would more say success to you, spending years alone in a lab in finding a cure for a rare disease or spending night after night on stage with people laughing at your jokes?

4. You’re waiting for “someday.”

Make inertia work for you. A body at rest requires a lot of energy to get it moving, once you start moving it takes a lot less energy to keep the progress going. Most people, when they reached their retirement years, find that their greatest regrets are not the things they did that didn’t turn out well. The biggest regrets with the things they said they would do something but never got around to doing them.

5. You’re not clear on your priorities.

If the goal you are working towards is not your top priority, it’s likely to keep getting pushed back. What you spend your time on each day is how you spend your life. As the time passes, if you’re not working on the thing you say is your goal, you haven’t made it your top priority. If you’re too busy to act on reaching your goal, then what you have in mind is a fantasy, not a goal.

6. You’ve left out some steps.

You tell yourself your goals to become a professional, a doctor, nurse, or lawyer but you have left school. Before you can be a teacher or any other professional you first must learn. If you don’t seem to be making progress toward your goal, re-examine your plan and see if there are any steps you need to take that you’ve left out of your planning.

7. Trying to do too much.

Trying to rise to the top of a profession requires you to start at the bottom. Whatever you want to accomplish, you must put in the time practicing. Working on too many things at once dilutes your effort. Highly successful people weed out the unimportant things and focus on their top priorities.

8. Trying to reach your goals too fast.

When you look closely at overnight successes, what you often find are people who spent years learning and honing their skills. Don’t be disappointed when reaching your goals takes longer than you expected.

9. You’re using the wrong tools.

Looking for a better paying job, when you require more education or training won’t get you where you want to go. Are the skills you have the ones you need to reach your goal? The world keeps changing. If you’re not updating your skills, they are becoming obsolete.

10. Your goals are negative and punitive.

Set positive goals. The evidence doesn’t support the helpfulness of using negative self-talk or punishing yourself in reaching positive outcomes.

11. You failed to develop your team.

Everyone needs a support system. The journey to reaching goals involves many people. If you want to reach goals, look for teachers, mentors, and companions for your journey. Some things you will need to become an expert on, for other tasks you will need to learn to identify the experts who can support you in your quest.

12. The closer you get to your goal the stronger resistance becomes.

Don’t slack off when you get close to your goal. If you go to college for three years and then quit what do you have? You don’t have a degree. In my lifetime, I’ve known several people who always wanted to write a book. Some of them even had a manuscript tucked away in a drawer. What they didn’t do was write that last chapter, send that book off to the publisher, or learn the skills they would need to publish it themselves. In the early stages of your journey towards your goal you can see the progress but the closer you get to your goal, the more effort it takes to break through that resistance and reach the finish line.

13. You aim low and hit the mark.

Your goals should encourage you to stretch. Many people self-handicap. The set their goals so low that they can’t possibly fail to meet them. If you repeatedly set low goals, you are planning a life of low achievement.

14. You’re not reviewing and updating your goals.

The goals you set in middle school won’t mean much when you are middle-aged. Some of the goals no longer fit you. Reevaluate those goals. If you are no closer, revise your plan. If you met them all, you might have set your expectations too low and need to raise the bar.

15. You’re using the wrong “worry process.”

Some people try to protect themselves from failure by considering every possible thing that could go wrong. They worry endlessly that they’ll make a mistake or something bad will happen. The worry-about-everything approach leaves you paralyzed in inaction. People who reach their goals consider the big possibilities. They use a “worry-enough” process. Once they have thought it through enough, they stop worrying and take action.

16. You talk about your goals rather than working towards them.

Psychologists discovered that people who talk about their goals a great deal get their satisfaction out of discussing those goals with others. As a result, they rarely take significant action. People who reach goals discuss them with fewer others. Limit your discussion of your goals to mentors, advisers and those who can support you in the process. Don’t tell everyone, but do have a few accountability partners who will encourage you to keep working towards your goals.

17. You don’t recognize what you accomplish.

Many people who feel they’re not reaching their goals have failed to recognize all the things that they have accomplished. Your big goals need to be broken down into smaller segments, and you need to recognize each of those smaller goals as you accomplish them. You don’t get a college degree by taking all the classes at once. You take a few classes each semester, and at the end, your payoff is the degree. If you’re writing a book, you write it one chapter, maybe even one paragraph at a time. Pay attention to the things you accomplish. Don’t dismiss your achievements as unimportant. Not giving yourself credit where credit is due will leave you too discouraged to continue your journey towards even larger goals.

18. You have not learned from the mistakes of others.

Whatever goal you are pursuing, make it a practice to look at how others have tried to reach similar goals. Learn from their mistakes, so you don’t have to make them all yourself.

19. You can’t picture what reaching your goals would look like.

High performers can picture what their life will be like once they reach their goal. Olympic athletes practice imagining that perfect performance, then standing on the gold medal stand. If you don’t believe you can succeed, you sow seeds of doubt in your mind. Your mind is likely to protect you by creating that failure you imagine. Avoid fantasy images of sudden wealth and fame. Picture the very real results of long, hard, work towards your goals.

20. You haven’t become your own best friend.

If you don’t like yourself, no matter how many goals you reach, it will never be enough. Spend time getting to know who you are and work on accepting that how you are right now is adequate. Self-acceptance doesn’t lead to complacency. Negative self-thoughts become obstacles in your path to reaching your goals.

Take another look at your goals. Re-examine your plans and your attitudes. Change the things you’ve been doing that are not working and head back out there in your pursuit of the life you want to have.

You will find related posts under –

motivation 

success

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Why the B student is happier – good enough is often better

By David Joel Miller.

How perfect do you need to be?

schoolroom

School classroom
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The connection between grades and happiness is a lot more tenuous than we used to think. A recent survey concluded that by and large students with a B average were a lot happier than those who got A’s.

Now, this was not a perfect correlation. Some A students were very happy and some B students were miserable but overall, a B just might make you happier than an A.

Why do B’s make you happier than A’s?

This is another example of that old 80/20 rule. Getting to be perfect at something takes a lot of your time. If you focus on doing one thing perfectly you need to devote large amounts of time to that task. The result is this one thing begins to take over your life. You need to ask yourself is this thing worth it?

If to get A’s a student has to give up sports or a club that they truly love, will they be better off with the A and no participation in that sport? This goes to goals.

If you want to get into a prestige school, then those A’s might be a minimum. You may also need to be in advanced placement classes and to have participated in a lot of extracurricular activities. That push to meet these requirements may keep you from many other things you want to do.

So ask yourself how important is that goal of making it into a particular Ivy League school worth? If it is not something you really want, then consider that spending less time on studying and more on other activities may optimize your happiness.

There is a more adult corollary to this. If you spend 20% of your time and do an 80% job you may optimize your happiness. I am not suggesting you will be happier if you do shoddy work. But sometimes that extra effort to be 100% perfect, results in taking too much time on a task, getting nothing else done, and in the end, this perfect job has sabotaged your career or your relationships.

Try to get your life in balance. Spend the time you need to in order to make something “good enough” without putting yourself in the place of being stressed out or having to neglect other things.

Trying to be perfect can be crazy making.

One author reports that to perfect a skill requires 10,000 hours of practice. You can do that for one, maybe two things in your life, but you can’t do that for everything. Some of your life roles need to be relegated to that “good enough” category where you do enough to get 80% of the project and then let the rest of it go to make room for the balance of your life.

What are the things in your life that you need to lighten up on and go for the B grade so you can concentrate on getting an A in the things that really matter to you? Have you spent the time to set goals and prioritize so that your time can be invested in what really matters?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

I could never do that – Talking yourself out of success

By David Joel Miller.

When we talk to ourselves our brain believes us.

Ever wondered how someone achieves something great despite overwhelming obstacles? The secret to those high achievers is that they believe in themselves.

Tell yourself that you can’t do something and the chances are you won’t be able to do it. Tell yourself that you can be successful and the chances you will become successful increase dramatically. Tell yourself you “are a failure” and you will become one.

Tell yourself often enough that you can’t accomplish anything in your life, that you don’t deserve success, and your brain will start believing you. It will make sure to pull back just as you get close to your goal.

Your brain can actually begin to protect you from success. It knows you “can’t do this” and it makes sure you can’t. Since you have trained your brain to serve you it is hard for it to disagree with the “fail” instruction.

The salesman who goes to work thinking he will make a big sale that day has a better chance of making a sale. It may not be the big sale he expected, but it is something.

The salesman who expects to fail will probably fail to make a sale most of the time. More than once in my life I have gone to a store expecting to buy something and left without making a purchase because the person who was supposed to be helping me was so negative about everything they deflated my desire to buy.

Negativity can be contagious. So can positivity.

One way to improve your chances of success is to begin to believe that you can do it. You also need to believe that you deserve it. We all deserve to have a happy life. The important thing is to define what that success, that happy life, would look like for each of us individually.

When we don’t feel worthy, that this last success was an undeserved fluke, we can stop trying, not expecting anything to go our way again. We can also self-sabotage because we don’t feel that we deserve this benefit.

Many of us learned these negative “fail” messages early in life. We were told we were “stupid” or “worthless” and we began to believe these messages. We repeated them over and over and eventually our brains stored them away as a way to explain life. We avoided trying because we expected to fail.

Sometimes people break out of this trap of negativity and self-doubt because someone else believes in them. One teacher or counselor who believes in a child can make a world of difference in that child’s life.

Other times people find they have to become their own cheerleaders. They begin by telling themselves positive things each day. We call those thoughts positive affirmations. Giving the brain the same message over and over will cause it to believe that message.

Repeatedly I have seen older students who didn’t believe they were that smart, return to school out of desperation. They needed to get a degree that would lead to a job, any job. Along the way, to that degree, they discover that they are a lot smarter and a lot more capable than they ever thought.

They had stopped telling themselves they couldn’t and started telling the brain they had to and the brain came through for them. They did succeed.

Every therapist could tell you stories of clients who came to therapy defeated and discouraged. They believed they couldn’t. Over the course of therapy the client’s perception changed first to maybe I could, and then to I think I can.

As a result of that change of thinking people have gone on to achieve great things. They have finished school and gotten a degree, found jobs or established and improved relationships all while staying clean and sober and out of their depression.

All these things happen when you begin to believe in yourself.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Success or failure?

By David Joel Miller.

Are you a success or a failure?

Success and Failure

Success and Failure

Men and women seem to understand success and failure differently. The kinds of things that most men see as successes and failures are different from those experienced by women.

I know those old gender stereotypes are not always true and things are changing, but when it comes to issues of success and failure the problems that bring men and women to the counseling room are usually different. Men in counseling may say they are not very successful. They want to be more successful. Women rarely say that.

When men say success they mean money or accomplishment.

Men talk about not being successful in terms of money, income, being a good provider for their family. They also think in terms of accomplishment. Men feel good about themselves when they win a contest, are famous for some sport or activity or because of education and promotions, they assume a position of authority.

It doesn’t always have to be about the money, it can also be about the position or the activity. A pastor, priest or director of a nonprofit may not make a lot of money but they can think of themselves as successful if they are able to see their organization accomplish its mission. If they feel that the role they fill is important.

Women worry about relationship failure.

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to see their therapist because they perceive that they have “failed.” They report they have “failed” at marriage or “failed” at motherhood. Traditionally men and women have evaluated themselves differently.

Men think they need to have things.

Men are most likely to evaluate themselves based on what they have or “are.” They have a nice house, they drive a new prestigious car, they have a good-looking “trophy” wife. Lacking a lot of expensive toys a man can still feel good about himself if he believes he “is” something worthwhile. He can be poor and still have “status” if he is a priest or pastor, a doctor or a professor.

Women tend to evaluate themselves based on their relationships. They can feel like a success if they have good children who love them. The love of their husband is likely to be more important than his income. Women have told me they don’t care if they have to live in a car as long as they know their man and their kids love them. Now clearly there are materialistic women just like there are men who are more motivated by love. But overall women may look for a man who can be a good provider for them and the children, but having made their choice they are most likely to feel they are successful if the relationship is going well rather than if he sends the money home from a place where he lives with someone else.

In therapy, people get a chance to take another look at their understanding of success and failure. They decide just what they need to do to feel successful and they learn new skills to move to the position of feeling good about themselves. Sometimes they discard the yardstick they have been using to measure success and get a new understanding of what success and failure mean to them.

Whether you feel like a success or failure then is not all about the money or the relationship. It is mostly about the yardstick you are using to measure success or failure. How do you measure your success or failure? What would you need to have or accomplish to feel successful and what are you doing to get there?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.