Ways you are preventing success.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Roadblock to goal

Roadblock to Success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many ways are you standing in the path of becoming successful?

Some people rack up a lot of successes in life, other people find that mostly they fail.  Successful people always have a few failures.  But if you find that mostly your life has been a string of failures with few successes you may want to look at what is causing that.  There are some habits, which some people have, that we sometimes call self-sabotaging.  Some people are able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  If you find that the dominant theme in your life is failure, you may be engaging in some of these success preventing behaviors.

You blame others for your failures.

The road to success involves taking a lot of personal responsibility.  If you find that when you fail you are always blaming someone else, your lack of looking at your own part in these failures may be creating a repeating pattern.

You spend a lot of time doing things you don’t care about.

To be successful you have to put in the work.  Doing the practice that is required to develop skills takes time.  If you find that you are spending a lot of time to doing things that aren’t important and you don’t really care about, you are wasting valuable practice time on things that don’t add to your success.

You let your fears keep you from trying.

It’s possible to try and fail.  But you will fail at 100% of the things that you don’t try to do.  You will never have any big successes if you let your fears keep you from trying things in the first place.

You make a big deal out of your failures.

The more time you spend focusing on the things you fail at, the less time it leaves you for planning and executing possible successes.  Don’t stay focused on the things that didn’t succeed.  Devote your energy, your time and your thinking on planning for the projects of the future.

You spend a lot of time regretting the past.

People whose life theme is failure spend a lot of time rehashing the past.  To increase your success percentages, focus your time on planning for the future and work on your projects in the present.

You constantly worry about future.

It’s important to consider the future, to plan for it and to plan for all eventualities.  But there’s nothing you can do today but today’s work.  Worry doesn’t keep you safe.  Working, planning and preparing for the future increases your chances of success.

You can see the negative in everything.

The pessimist sees the negative everywhere they look.  Pessimists don’t create grand successes.  If you spend all your time focused on the negative, you have no time to create a positive.

You try to please everyone all the time.

Trying to please everyone all the time is playing to the lowest common denominator.  You can’t please everyone.  Innovative ideas require taking chances.  If you are creative few people will have thought of your idea before you.  Successful people get off the beaten track and do new novel things.

You believe goals are waste of time.

If you believe that goals are a waste of time you are not going anywhere.  Successful people have goals to direct their path.  The goals keep you from spending most of your time wandering aimlessly.  If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t recognize it when you get there.  Is your failure to plan a planning for failure?

You have forgotten how to have fun.

If the life you live is a life of drudgery, nothing will make you feel successful.  Life has its ups and its downs.  Make sure that you enjoy the journey or you will arrive at the destination worn out from the road.

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.

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Unhelpful thoughts that are holding you back.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Negative thoughts

Unhelpful negative thoughts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many of these unhelpful thoughts are you holding onto?

Most people have a number of negative dysfunctional thoughts that get in the ways of having the happiest life possible. Some counselors call these thought patterns self-defeating thoughts or self-sabotaging.

Recently I have come to think of these thoughts as hugely unhelpful. Calling them unhelpful thoughts makes them easier to transform. If you have any of these unhelpful thoughts filling up your head and getting in the way of you being the person you want to be, if these kinds of thoughts are between you and your happy life, then now is the time to change these thoughts.

I should never make a mistake.

Do you think it is wrong to make a mistake? Making mistakes is a part of doing. The only way to avoid mistakes is to do nothing and that is a mistake. Cut yourself some slack and stop trying to be something you are not. No one is perfect. Accept this and let your best be good enough. Insisting on perfection keeps you stuck in mediocrity.

I am right and they are wrong.

This is sometimes called “right fighting.” Insisting on being right does not foster better communicator or move things along towards a resolution. It does not matter who is right. Rarely will continuing to insist that you are right, make any difference. Let other people have their own opinions. Just because others may not agree with you should not diminish your view of yourself.

There is something missing in my life.

You have what you have. Continuing to focus on what is missing keeps you stuck. Really believe you need something? Then go out on a quest and find the missing element. What happens to so many people who spend their lives looking for that one missing element is that when they find it, it turns out the search was what they needed not the thing.

More money will fix what is wrong.

Money helps sometimes. More money creates more options. But most of life’s really major problems can’t be solved by money alone. If you put off action thinking that only money will make a difference you will miss out on a lot of other possibilities in life. Having money rarely happens all at once. People who have true wealth build it a little at a time over the long haul. Invest in yourself and the rest will follow.

Others need to change before I can.

Making others change is really hard. Most of the time you will not be able to make them change. If your reaching your goals requires others to change you are out of luck. The best way to create change in others is to change yourself first and then see how that puts others in a position to change in response.

My problems are someone else’s fault.

People can ease your path or make it more difficult. Continuing to blame others keeps you stuck in the past and in the problem. While others may have contributed to where you are, for good or bad, you are the one deciding whether to stay stuck in the past or move forward in the present.

Accepting that you are responsible for your choices and taking back your power over your future is on the path to recovery. Want to get unstuck? Start making your own choices. Stop looking over your shoulder at what others did to you in the past and start to look forward to what you will do for you in the future.

Things should not be this way.

The world is as it is. Energy focused on the problem is energy diverted from the solution. Dwelling on all the things that are wrong and insisting that things be the way you wish them to be will not change them.

Don’t like the way things are? Go about making changes. Start by changing you and then work on being of service to those around you.

I must have someone to love me.

To attract love into your life you need to be someone who loves themselves. Work on being the best you possible. Be your own best friend. Do kind loving things for you and those around you.

A partner can’t overcome the things you do not like about yourself.

 Other people must like me.

No one is ever liked by everyone. The more people do the more others will criticize them. Do what is right. Do what pleases you. You cannot please everyone all the time. If you please, one person, you may displease others. Focus too much on pleasing others and you will lose yourself.

I need to prepare before I can do something.

You are always doing what you are doing. You will not start out being perfect. Life is about growth and learning. Becoming good at anything requires practice. If you never begin because you are waiting to be fully prepared you will never get started.

My past controls my future.

Your past may have made you who you are but what you do now will make you who you will become. Every moment of every day we have choices. Some are small choices and some are larger. Those small choices can add up to large changes over time.

Which of these unhelpful thoughts are holding you back? Which will you begin to change today?

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.

12 ways you are self-sabotaging.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Comment

Bad neighborhood.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many of these self-sabotaging things do you do?

1. Hold onto the past.

Most people know they have baggage, resentments left over from the past. You can choose to hold onto those resentments as a justification for your failures or you can decide to toss those bags, unpack that baggage and lighten your load. You can’t change the past but you can stop letting it dictate the future. Put those old hurts in the coffin and bury them.

2. Unfinished business.

You should have been something, you were supposed to get something but it never happened. You can stay hung up on those failures or you can finish off that leftover business. Didn’t get to finish that schooling you wanted, go back no matter what the age and finish up. That or decide that even if you had that education you never finished it would not be helping you today.

Those first loves that got away, those were fairy tales. Those people who bullied you or rejected you are long gone. Resolve what you can and let the rest go. Continuing to brood over the unfinished business of the past keeps you from living the life of today.

3. Lie to yourself.

Do you have lies you tell yourself so often that you have started to believe them? You have to do this and you can’t do that. If you tell yourself so you make it true. You can make up excuses for your setbacks and failures that only you believe. Blaming others for your troubles may feel good now but it does not change anything. Blaming others keeps you stuck. Take responsibility for what you can do and move forward.

Of all the people you need to get honest with, getting honest with yourself is the most important one.

4. Wreckage – Clean up your messes.

If you have wreckage get it cleaned up. People often have unpaid fines or tickets. Bills that are still due and relationships that ended in disaster. Whenever possible clean up that wreckage. Do what you can to get those old debts, financial and emotional cleaned up so that you do not have to continue to pay on them well into your recovered life.

5. Hold on to harmful and hurtful people.

Are there people in your life that are harmful or hurtful but you just can’t seem to give them up? Just because they were there when you were down, does not mean you need to stay down with them. True friends will want to see you succeed. If you have to hold yourself back and be less than the person you were meant to be because of someone in your life these are not healthy relationships and they are not true friends.

6. Try to be perfect.

Perfectionism is the enemy of getting things done. You can tell yourself you never will be perfect and that excuses not trying at all. You miss out on all the things you never try. Students find that the pursuit of all A’s may keep them from graduating. If you insist on being perfect or not doing things at all you will keep quitting things that could have benefited you.

Do your best and call that good enough.

7. Doing nothing.

Doing nothing is a sure way to fail. Trying to be perfect is one way of alibiing your lack of effort. There are lots of other ways you can talk yourself out of ever trying.

The process of building the happy life begins with those first small steps. Get moving and the momentum will build.

8. Looking for happiness in all the wrong places – drugs – sex.

In the beginning, these crutches seem like ways to get by. You use drugs, alcohol or other addictions to try to be enough. Eventually, those addictions become all you can be. Do not get fooled by an illusion that more of an addiction will cure the emptiness inside.

9. Thinking money will buy happiness.

Money buys things. Having some things is better than having nothing. Things alone will never make you happy. Too many things will bury you. Make sure that in your pursuit of money you do not leave family, friends and your true self behind.

10. Beat yourself up.

There is no evidence, that I have seen, that beating yourself up makes you try harder. Love yourself and do your best. Be kind to yourself. Find the good in you and in others. Constantly reliving your failures keeps you stuck in failure.

11. Thinking you can control everything – worrying about things outside your control.

Most things in life are out of your control. You can’t make it rain. We have little control of the weather, who will get sick and a host of other things. Rather than fussing and worrying about things that are far beyond your control put your efforts into the things that you may be able to influence, that will mostly be your actions and your attitude. Catch your children and yourself doing things right and give yourself credit for the things you do well.

12. Do not accept credit for things done well.

Is it hard to accept a compliment? Do you find you can’t please yourself? Learn to give yourself credit for things well done. Be ready to give and receive compliments.

Compliments are an antidote for that feeling of failure that can creep in when all you ever hear and think is the things that you have been able to do in a less than perfect way.

How many of these 12 self-sabotaging practice do you use? Creating that happy recovered life may be largely a matter of discontinuing these self-defeating behaviors.

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.

Creating failure from success – 9 ways to Self-Sabotage

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Roadblock to goal

Roadblock to Success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How to self-sabotage.

Many people seem to get right to the threshold of success and then suddenly do exactly the wrong thing, the one action that is likely to create failure.  Here are ways that you might turn your potential success into a failure and some reasons why you might be doing just that.

1. Don’t believe in yourself.

The belief that you don’t deserve success can undermine any effort to improve your life. People who tell themselves they don’t deserve things can’t accept success even when they achieve it. Believe that you are worth having happiness not because you are more special than someone else but because you are the only unique you there is. You are special just like everyone else.

Saying positive affirmations and working on your belief that you deserve success can help this.

Believe that if you try you will be more successful than if you don’t try.  Self-efficacy is the belief that if you make the effort you can do this. Foster that belief in the “Yes I can” times of your life and in the lives of your family and children if you want to risk success.

2. Underestimate yourself and aim low to create failure.

People who believe they can’t do something are rarely surprised. If you aim low enough you will not be disappointed. You can’t hit a target if you don’t aim for it. Closely related to the belief “I can’t do it” is the belief that it is better to not try.

People who set high goals for themselves and then accept that what they achieve is better than not trying are happier and more productive than those who never try for fear of failure. Failures are required for learning and growth. Make lots of mistakes, learn from them and grow. Try to not make huge costly mistakes or repeat the same mistake over and over. But when you do fail, dust yourself off and try again.

Not trying at all will guarantee failure.

3. Accept nothing short of perfection.

Lots of people see things as black and white. They think that if they can’t do something perfectly they are a failure. If you require perfection from yourself eventually you will fail and that just confirms that you are no good and shouldn’t try.

Great basketball players do not hit every shot but they do keep putting the ball up there. Unless you are aiming for failure you need to cut yourself some slack.

Not trying at all is a sure shortcut to failure.

4. When things are going well look for something irresponsible to overdo.

You can work hard for months to become successful and then if you work at it, you can destroy all your progress with a single act.  People, who are working on their finances, trying to get out of debt, can always find something to splurge on and put themselves back in debt.

Have you been looking for work for months? Finally got that interview for a wonderful job? The night before the interview did you go out and get drunk? If you have a really bad hangover you can flush that interview without even trying. Showing up late and hung over eliminates the worry of getting that job.

Better yet, call that prospective new employer from jail. Apologize you can’t see him until you get out, ask for help with bail.

5. Keep testing yourself – find a way to fail.

Trying to stop drinking? Go visit your friends at the bar and see if you can spend the whole evening there without drinking.

On a budget, do lots of window shopping, check every sale and see if you can resist.

Test yourself with temptations you known will sabotage your life reputedly. It is nice to known that it is too hard staying on track and it was not your fault that you yielded to temptation.

Repeat this mantra – “The credit card made me do it.”

6. Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow, or the day after.

Always show up late. Put things off until they are no longer an option. When your ship comes in make sure you are still in bed asleep.

Procrastination is the enemy of success. We all do it because it avoids pain. Sometimes progress is painful. If you are looking for failure you will want to practice procrastination.

7. Never prepare for anything.

People who plan ahead run the risk of accomplishing something. If you fail to plan you have a great plan for failure. Never research anything. Make all decisions impulsively and based on ignorance. Why confuse yourself with facts when you can make lots of mistakes based on no information.

Practice in sports and in life is for winners. If you want to fail, avoid this one.

8. Spend as much time as possible worrying and brooding about your problems.

If you concentrate on worry you can allow your problem to grow while you stay stuck in inactivity. A worried about problem expands until it is impossible to solve. This avoids the need to actually take any action.

Frequent long worry sessions will keep you too busy to do any problems solving.

9. Never evaluate or revise a plan that fails. You knew that nothing was going to turn out all right anyway.

Successful people are constantly reviewing and revising their goals and plans. You don’t want to be like that, do you?

Could you be your own worst enemy?

FINAL THOUGHT

If all of these ideas on how to self-sabotage and prevent success won’t work then you just may be stuck –  Planning ahead, taking action, aiming high, accepting yourself and your successes, learning from and forgiving the times you fail and revising your plans to increases you rate of success.

Best wishes on creating the happy life you deserve.

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.