Why do so many self-improvement projects fizzle away? The best of our intentions sometimes seem to dwindle away within weeks. Why do we start only to quit? What is it that stops us from improving? Below we will explore a few of the many blocks and pitfalls.
Fear or Uncertainty
Fear is can be a subtle culprit. It could be a fear of failure, “If I don’t try then I can’t fail.” It could also be a fear of success, “If I lose all that weight, then have to keep it off.” Another fear may be, “What will people think if I fail?” The fear could also be the uneasiness of doing something new or going into unexplored territory.
Thinking it will be Easy – Unrealistic Expectations
Sometimes an idea sounds great, but the reality is that it takes work. Say you go to a jam session and get inspired to start practicing that old saxophone or guitar in your closet. It will be great. Maybe you decide to start painting again. You daydream about how great it will be, but the daily repetition of practice soon puts the dream to rest. Things often look easier when some else is doing it.
Getting Caught Up In the Euphoria – a Common Pitfall
Maybe it’s a book. Maybe it was a video. Sometimes people make rash decisions then do something foolish. An example is Mike wants to lose some weight so he spends $375 on a one-year health club membership that he only uses for 2 months. Maybe Jan decides to write more on her blog and after a free webinar, she spends $550 on a writing course that she only one-quarter way completes. Generally, it is not wise to purchase anything until you are already in motion with a track record. Otherwise, it often leads to waste.
Rather than getting started, some people just keep going to every class and seminar they can find on a given subject. They love the seminar highs but never get to the real work. Lodging for out of town weekends can also be costly. If you purchase any materials they are selling the cost increases even more. The seminars become a substitute for doing what needs to be done.
Preparation and the Leaning Addiction
A person may buy some used books and start reading. Next, he finds free videos on the internet. The reading and videos continue as the learning becomes more interesting than the original goal. He becomes an expert on the subject but never takes action, much like an expert in gardening who has no garden. Preparation and learning are important, but often they can be tools of procrastination.
Stuck at a Phase
May people reach a plateau and stop. It is easy to find a new discovery or make a certain accomplishment then stop. Often in therapy, for example, a person becomes mesmerized by some new discovery and never goes beyond the point. They become experts on their condition but do little to get past it.
You need to decide what is important and what is not. You may need to cut down on some comfortable but non-productive activities such as television, watching sports, drinking, or even socializing. You need to look for things of lesser importance and cut them out.
Not scheduling – Not Pacing
Scheduling solves many of the problems listed in this article. “What gets scheduled, gets done.” If you schedule it and stick to it, you will eventually make progress. Don’t try to do it all at once. Always start out slow then build on that foundation once it is solid. Start with smaller increments of time than increase gradually.
Not Getting Back up After a Setback or Fall
Sometimes we just fail. No matter how good a try we give some things, we will at times fall flat on our faces. That is just how life is. There can be any number of reasons for a failure, but that does not mean you need to just give up and quit. That leads us to the next pitfall, giving up.
Maybe its discouragement, maybe it is difficult, but don’t quit. A setback or a fall is not a failure until you quit. In other words, you have not failed until you have given up.
Not Enough Time
The not enough time trap is one of the most common. It is an excuse. The truth of the matter is you have no less time than anyone else. We all get 168 hours in a week. Do you want to do it or not?
Speaking of excuses, there are more than a million reasons not to start or to just give up – the job, the family, your mother, the kids, your age, headaches, or any other number or things. You can use almost anything on this list as an excuse. The question is – Do you want an excuse, or do you want results? The choice is yours.
In closing, you need to think things through, make a plan, and have a schedule. Think before spending any money. Always give things a couple days to cool down so you don’t make emotional decisions that will cost you. Dream a little but do the work. If the cause is good, don’t let anything defeat you. Winners rarely quit.
Article by Paul Nieto – Old Dirt Road
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