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3 Common Pitfalls that Will Keep You From Reaching Your Goals

3 Common Pitfalls that Will Keep You From Reaching Your Goals

A famous study of Harvard graduates revealed that students who write down and review their goals are far more likely to actually attain them.

So, if it’s really that simple, why AREN’T we writing down our goals? Aren’t our goals worth doing everything in our power to make them come true?

Why is it then that we tend to celebrate the end of every year by tossing last year’s goals in the trash, and promising ourselves next year WILL be different?

Well, all due respect to the Harvard study, but I don’t think it went far enough. You see, I think there’s a deeper reason your goals haven’t come true (three of them, actually).

After all, if it was REALLY that simple—if all we had to do was write down our goals and review them every day to attain them—wouldn’t more people be doing it?

There is something deeper going on that’s keeping us from taking that simple action. And, when you understand what’s really stopping you from reaching your goals, you can then make the necessary changes that will help you do so in the future.

Let’s dig in:

1. Your identity doesn’t match your goals.

In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life,” Mark Manson explains how, if you want to become a writer, but you never actually sit down to write, your identity may be someone who wants to write but never actually gets anything done.

When you really think about it, this makes sense. One of the functions of the ego is to protect your core identity, because if that goes, then who are you anyway? It’s scary to lose your identity.

So, your ego is going to fight tooth and nail to keep your identity intact, even if it’s an identity you don’t particularly care for (i.e. a “wanna-be” author or entrepreneur).

And I think there’s a deeper level to this, too.

I think there are certain goals—I call them “Love-Based Goals,” that, if you want them to come true, require you to be different. They’re whispers from your soul, and they help you transform into the person your soul knows you can be.

When you become the person your soul is nudging you to be, those goals will fall into place.

But if your identity doesn’t match your goals, you’re stuck. If, for example, you’ve been saying something like, “Someday, I’m going to open my business/write that book/quit my soul-sucking job,” your identity may be stuck on some sort of future version of yourself that never comes true.

Because if it came true, you would lose your current identity, as you know it. (Paradoxical, I know. But, there are many things in our life that don’t make any sense and yet somehow, they control us, so keep an open mind.) Your ego doesn’t want to lose its current identity, so it creates a resistance to the transformation of it. Which leads me to the second pitfall that may be keeping your goals from coming true …

 2. You have a fear, a mindset block, “resistance,” or something else that’s stopping you.

(Remember, this can also be directly tied to #1—you’re blocked around your goal, and over time, your identity gradually changes to a “wanna be.”) This can show up in your life in many ways, but some common indications that this is what’s going on with you never seem to have enough time to work on your goals, or you can’t focus on them, or you experience constant procrastination when it comes to sitting down to actually work on them.

If you’re really struggling when it comes to taking action toward your dreams, you may also have some sort of fear lurking underneath the procrastination (and that fear can be totally subconscious). For instance, you may have a fear of success or a fear of failure (which clearly would impact the success of any endeavor your take on). You may have a fear of visibility or being seen, which translates to you not marketing your business enough, which results in the failure of your business. You may have a fear that your spouse or partner will leave you if you become too successful. Maybe you can’t bear the idea of making more money than your parents.

All of these are examples of what can happen when your subconscious (which is 95% of your brain) is not on board with what your conscious mind (or the other 5%) wants to do.

(Note: this one is so important, I’m going to talk more about it in future posts.)

3. The goals aren’t yours.

In some ways, this is the easiest of the three pitfalls to handle, but it may also be more deflating than the others, because you may have to come to grips with the fact that you’ve wasted a chunk of your life on goals that aren’t even yours.

If you’re facing this one, one of two things is likely going on: the goals are someone else’s, or you’re not willing to do the work.

Someone else’s goals: Maybe you grew up with a father who thought you’d make an awesome doctor, or a mother who assumed you would take over the family business. Maybe they never even asked you what you wanted to do—it was always just “understood.”

Or maybe you grew up believing part of being an adult meant you needed to get a responsible, boring job. Or maybe you felt a lot of shame around your body because it wasn’t “thin” enough, and you’re forever trying to lose weight that just refuses to come off.

All of these are examples of internalizing someone else’s goals, whether that someone else is a specific person (such as a parent), or society/media, etc.

Either way, the goals are not yours. They’re goals you likely feel you “should” be doing, but they aren’t yours.

Not willing to do the work: The other version of this pitfall comes to light when you have goals that you think are super awesome, but not quite awesome enough to actually do the work to reach them. For instance, who wouldn’t love an extra million or two in their bank account? But are you willing to do the work it requires to get that money there?

Lots of little girls dream of being a professional ballerina (including me). But, the first time I laced up actual pointe shoes and stood on my toes … let’s just say my interest waned after that.

If you’re not willing to do the work, the goals aren’t yours. (And, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that. We have only so much time on this planet—there’s no shame in not spending hours and hours on goals that aren’t yours.)

So, now you are aware of the common pitfalls that could be keeping you from accomplishing your goals.

In my next post, I’ll share a simple, three-step system to help you create love-based goals that you absolutely can bring to life.

And, if you want more on this topic, check out my new “Love-Based Goals: Your Guide to Your Purpose and Passion” book, available at most online retailers here.

[Free Blueprint] Stop Procrastinating and Start Focusing

[Free Blueprint] Stop Procrastinating and Start Focusing

I taught myself to read when I was 3 years old because I wanted to write stories so badly.

When I was a freshman in high school, I opened up the school newspaper one day and there was a short story I had submitted on a lark on the front page.

When I was a senior in high school, I wrote my first novel (which wasn’t very good, trust me) and I also won a national award for one of my short stories.

So, you would think with that sort of early success, launching a career as a fiction writer would be a slam dunk.

Alas, that wasn’t the case.

Instead, over the years, I found myself focusing more on my copywriting company and putting off my fiction writing.

(In other words, I was procrastinating.)

It took me years–years–to break this habit. I tried so many different things to help me stop procrastinating and nothing really stuck.

• I thought maybe I needed to get better at organizing my time.

• I thought maybe I needed to get better at goal setting and planning.

• I thought maybe I needed to bust through all my mindset blocks.

And, while all of those things were likely helpful in my journey to stop procrastinating, they weren’t enough.

I share more of my story how I bust through my own procrastination blocks here, but a below are a couple of key observations I learned along the way:

• Everyone is different (duh!) which is both good and bad. What’s bad about it is just because everyone you know swears by one technique, there’s no guarantee that technique is going to work for you. But, what’s good about it is there are a lot of different tactics out there to try. So, don’t despair–if you still have a problem with procrastination, keep trying different things until something clicks for you.

• What I’ve noticed is procrastination is typically a sign of a bigger problem whereas a condition like Writer’s Block is actually designed to help. I bring this up because a good place to start is to make sure you’re diagnosed the problem correctly before diving in with solutions.

If you’d like more tips on how to stop procrastinating, I put together a blueprint you can get for free when you preorder my new book “Love-Based Goals.” Just send your receipt to Info@MichelePW.com

(And if you missed the free blueprint offer, no worries–I’ve included a bonus chapter on how to procrastination in my “Love-Based Goals” book.)

 

Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Have Already Failed You (and What You Can Do to Turn It Around)

Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Have Already Failed You (and What You Can Do to Turn It Around)

We’re barely halfway through January, and if you’re like a lot of folks, not even one New Year’s Resolution is still standing.

That exercise program? Made it to the gym once. Taking steps toward those “important but not urgent” projects, like writing your book, or working “on” your business versus “in” your business? Yeah, right! Who has the time?

But, before you throw your hands up in despair and declare the year a failure (okay I’m exaggerating a bit), there’s still plenty of time to get back on track.

The first step: take a good, long look at your goals and each New Year’s Resolution you have for this year.

Answer these questions (I suggest getting out a pen and paper, and doing some journaling around them):

  1. How did you actually come up with the goals and each New Year’s Resolution? Was it a purely mental exercise? (In other words, did you just sit down and brainstorm or think of a list of goals and write them down?) Or did something else inspire them?
  1. Do your goals and resolutions come across as a bunch of “shoulds” or “have to’s?”

For instance:

* I should lose weight.

* I should exercise more.

* I should do a product launch.

* I should finish that new business program I’ve been working on the past two years and I really just need to get it off my plate.

  1. Are your goals and resolutions clear? Or pretty vague, making it feel even harder to actually turn them into reality?

Like:

* Spend more time with my family. (But how? I’m already drowning in to-do’s. Where do I find the time?)

* Make more money. (But how? I’m already doing everything I know how to do.)

  1. Are your goals and resolutions realistic? Or super big and intimidating?

Examples:

* I finally write my book.

* I finally start my business.

Once you’ve looked closely at your goals and each New Year’s Resolution for 2017, consider this:

The problem with all the goals listed above is that they’re setting you up for failure.

If you set goals for yourself that you don’t really want to be doing (no matter how much you feel like you should do them), or if they’re vague, or too big, or lack clear action steps that lead to their accomplishment, you’ll never achieve them.

So, how do you know if your goals fall into any of these categories? Take a moment to read what you wrote in your answers to the above questions, and pay attention to what feelings come up in your body.

If you feel tired, drained, overwhelmed, uninspired, confused, then you’ve probably set the wrong goals for you.

Now, if this is the case, the first thing to do is not beat yourself up or feel bad about it. The way we’re traditionally taught to set goals more often than not leads to our setting goals that aren’t right for us.

And there’s good news: January is considered the dreaming month, so you still have plenty of time to dream into what you want your new year to look like!

What I like to do is take some time and really feel into that – into what I want my year to look like. Don’t try and use your head or mental energies to decide what your life and business “should” look like — how do you want to feel? What lights you up? Where is your passion?

You may want to do some journaling around this topic too … how you want to feel this year. Also, you may want to ask your intuition/inner wisdom and/or God/Source/Universe/Spirit for guidance on what they think your goals should be.

Most importantly, don’t rush this process.

Once you do, chances are your goals will literally write themselves (and they’ll feel much more grounded those you had before).

And, once you’ve discovered and set goals that excite you rather than drain you, you may want to come up with a system to help you reach those goals. If that sounds good to you, check this out.

If you’d like a starting point to get more clear about where you want to go with your business, you might like my “How to Start a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back” book — you can grab your copy here.

Position Yourself for the WIN: A New Way to Set Goals

Position Yourself for the WIN: A New Way to Set Goals

How important is goal setting to making your dreams come true?

You may have seen the numbers — the most successful people in the world, the top 1% — are the ones who not only regularly set goals, but who also write them down and review them regularly.

However, most people spend zero time figuring out their goals (much less writing them down and reviewing them) beyond the immediate: what’s for dinner and what will be their next Netflix show to binge watch.

So, if setting goals really is the secret to success, and the vast majority of folks say they want to be successful, why isn’t everyone doing it? I mean, it seems like a relatively painless habit to develop, right? So what’s stopping us?

I think it’s because …

For years, I would set goals using what I would consider a very traditional process. I’d sit down and brainstorm a bunch of things I wanted to accomplish the following year, and then write them down. It was pretty simple, straight-forward, and very much a mental exercise.

Now, there’s nothing really wrong with this approach, and if this is something you do and if it’s working for you, great. It also sort of worked for me — I did see success from at least making the effort.

However, this is only one of many ways to set goals.

For instance, in his book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big,” Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, talks about how “Setting goals is for losers,” and what you really ought to be doing is creating systems.

His argument is that when you set goals, you constantly feel like a failure because you haven’t reached the goal. And, because you’re constantly feeling bad about your goal, you stop working toward it.

But, if you have a system, all you need to do is follow it, and you’ll feel good about yourself regardless of results.

For example, let’s say you have a goal to lose 10 pounds. Every day you haven’t lost 10 pounds is another day you feel like a failure. But, if you set up a system that revolves around exercise and eating better, and you follow that system, you’ll not only eventually lose the 10 pounds, but you’ll also feel like a winner as you follow your system and start seeing results.

While I find a lot of this intriguing — especially how it actually feels (I know the old way I set goals made me feel constantly impatient as I waited — and tried — to reach them) — it also seems like you need an initial goal to start the process of following your system. Otherwise how will you know your system is designed to actually help you reach your ultimate goal? (I know, that seems obvious, but stick with me.)

Let’s say your system is set up to support you in eating better and exercising. That’s great, and it can certainly end up making you healthier … but because there are so many ways to eat better and exercise, the system you set up may not actually help you lose weight. And if that’s the case, you won’t reach your ultimate goal, and I suspect your system will end up leaving you feeling frustrated with that constant sense of failure.

For me, what works best for me when it comes to goal setting is to use a mixture of techniques.

First off, it can’t just be a mental exercise like how I used to do it — I want to give myself the space to feel into where I want to go. I also want to make sure my inner wisdom, intuition, and God (or Spirit or Source) has a chance to weigh in.

And, once I know where I want to go, then it’s time to structure my day, including my daily habits, so I’m fully supported along the way to get there. (I suspect this is what Adams would likely call my system, and I work the system rather than fixate on the end result and feel unhappy waiting for it to come to fruition.)

Ready to give it a try? Go for it! Create a system, and reach your ultimate goals.

And if one of your goals for the New Year is to make more money, you may like my new book “Love-Based Money and Mindset,” as it includes a blueprint to help you actually create a system to make more money. You can learn more and grab your copy here.

A Powerful Ritual to End 2016 and Start 2017

A Powerful Ritual to End 2016 and Start 2017

I’m a big believer in rituals. In many ways in our Western culture, I feel like we’ve lost the magic and power of what a ritual can  bring to our day-to-day lives. Other than a few really big milestones, like weddings and deaths, we don’t celebrate many rituals in our lives.

One of the reasons why rituals are so powerful is because they mark a beginning and an end. Plus, they provide a “container,” which helps us move forward. So, there’s really no better way to end an old year and begin a new one than with a ritual.

Now, I know many of you use this time during the start of a new year to set goals or resolutions (I did myself for many years). While getting clear on the specifics for how you want your new year to look is definitely a good thing, it may not be the best place to start. (After all, look at how many New Year’s resolutions “bite the bullet” just a few weeks into the New Year.)

I think taking the time to end the last year with a ritual before getting into the nitty gritty of what you want your new year to look like is a far more effective way to actually turn your goals into reality.

My friend Christine Arylo is the one who introduced me to the concept of using a ritual to end the year, and I like to use a variation of the one she taught me.

So, the first step in a ritual is to prepare the space. I like to light a candle and select music. (I actually spend some time choosing the candle and music, to make sure they’re just right for the situation.) Some people use chimes or Tibetan singing bowls, some people use essential oils or incense, some burn sage or place crystals around the space — basically, do whatever works for you.

Along with preparing the physical space, also take some time to prepare the emotional and time space — clear your calendar, turn off email and Facebook, close your door, let your family know you’re not to be disturbed, etc. You could even leave your house and go to a coffee shop or a restaurant, if you prefer.

Next, get out some pens and paper.

My end-of-the-year ritual has a lot of journaling involved. What I like to do is really think back and review my year, first taking time to celebrate my successes. (Think about it – how often do we pause to celebrate our successes? We are so quick to rush on to the next thing, cultivating a feeling of being perpetually behind on our mile-long to-do list, rather than feeling good about what we accomplished. When we don’t pause to celebrate, it’s almost like those successes never happened.)

Next, I forgive myself for my failures, so I can move past them. (If you acknowledge your failures, you can take the learnings and wisdom with you into the New Year, and leave the failure in the old one — skip this step and you may find yourself doomed to repeating your failures over and over.)

In addition, I weave into the ritual any other things I want to up-level for the new year. This year, I wove in a money ritual to celebrate the publication of my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

I end the ritual by burning and releasing what I want to leave in 2016, and by being grateful for the lessons and growth I received.

Then I do something fun to celebrate! Maybe I’ll sit in a hot tub, or eat some chocolate, or even go out with dear friends (which is what I did this year).

Now that I’ve properly closed the circle with 2016, I can now dream into 2017 and what I would love to manifest. (And yes, that includes some goal setting and marketing plans in order to actually bring my dreams into physical form.)

If you want to learn more about daily practices and systems around attracting more money into your life, you may want to check out my new book “Love-Based Money and Mindset” on

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