7 common mistakes people make on their journey to success

When it comes to achieving success, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about the “importance of failure” and “trying your best” for one lifetime.

But if you’re looking for practical ways to find success, then you’ll love today’s post.

It’s a simple list of the most common mistakes people make on their journey to success, and what you can do to rectify them to achieve success.

Let’s go.

1. Trying to do everything at once

If you’re on a mission to create positive change in your life, it’s better to focus on one goal at a time.

When people list down their goals, they tend to list down everything they want: more money, lose weight, be happier, be a better partner…the list goes on.

But if you’re going to achieve those goals, you need to create a plan of what habits you need to take every day.

And then you need to implement those habits in your life.

But with a list that’s probably 20 habits long, you’re going to struggle to implement every single habit at once.

You’re not superman/woman. You’re not going to drastically change your life in one day.

You need to focus on one goal at a time, and then once the habits for that one particular goal are down pat…you can move onto the next.

For example, just say one of your goals is to lose weight.

You’ve worked out that to achieve that goal, you need to run 5 km in the morning every day.

Focus on embedding that habit in your daily life first, before tackling other difficult habits.

Once that habit becomes routine, then you can move on to the next one.

Otherwise, you’ll have too much to change and you’ll lose motivation when you haven’t done everything on your list.

2. Trying to do something that is too big too soon

It’s hard to implement a new habit in your life if it is too big to start with.

According to Dr. Magda Osman, Professor of experimental psychology at Queen Mary University, when we face the reality of how difficult a new habit is, “the effort is too much and we give up”

“Getting up early to exercise for a new healthy lifestyle might seem like a good choice, but once your alarm goes off on a cold January morning, the rewards aren’t enough to get you up and out of bed.”

Another example is if someone wants to do 50 push-ups a day, but they can only do 30 push-ups max at one time.

The first time trying to do 50 push-ups will be such an uncomfortable experience for them that they’ll probably never want to do it again.

So after a few days, they’ve already lost motivation and given up.

That doesn’t lead you to become fitter if you only do it a few times…

Instead, you need to start small and slowly work your way up.

Want to do 50 pushups per day? Start with 10 and work your way up.

Want to start meditating? Start with one minute every morning for a week and then do 2 minutes every morning the next week.

When something is easier to do, it also makes it easier to implement in your life.

3. Aiming for the outcome, and not implementing a system

We set goals because we want a result. That’s natural.

But a common problem is that we become so focused on the result that we lose sight of the actions we need to take to get us there.

The truth is this:

Goals don’t deliver results. Habits do.

All your energy should go into changing your behaviors and habits.

For example, say you have a goal of reading more books.

Instead of immediately trying to finish a book as quickly as you can (and getting discouraged when you realize how long it takes), you can instead implement a new habit that allows you to get there.

If you read 10 pages a day for a full year then that’s 3650 pages a year, which is about 12 books.

You eventually achieve your goal because you implemented a small habit of reading 10 pages a day.

It’s great to have goals, but the majority of your energy should be dedicated to the habits that will help you achieve those goals.

4. Not changing your environment

It’s hard to create positive change in your life in a negative environment.

If you’re constantly surrounded by negative people, it’s going to be really tough for you to remain positive.

It’s hard to remain focused on a single task when you’re surrounded by people who are trying to grab your attention.

You can’t rely solely on your willpower. There are limits to it.

Our behaviors are hugely influenced by the environment we find ourselves in.

If you want to implement new habits in your life that will lead you to success, then you need to make sure the environment you are in is conducive to those habits.

If your goal is to reduce stress in your life, then waking up to constant notifications on your phone probably won’t help.

Reading Facebook and Twitter updates in bed and responding to people won’t make you calm.

The easiest way to stop doing this is to change your environment and keep your phone out of your room.

The phone is what’s causing you stress before you’ve even started your day, so put it in another room and allow yourself to wake up more relaxed.

The bottom line is this:

If your environment doesn’t change, then you probably won’t either.

5. Thinking small changes don’t add up

Many of us think that it takes massive action in order to achieve our big goals.

But achieving big goals rarely happens quickly, nor does it take massive effort to achieve it.

You achieve your big goals by getting slowly better every single day.

If you want to eventually read 100 pages of a book a day, you’re going to struggle to keep up with that habit initially. It’s just too big if you’re not used to reading every day.

But if you slowly work yourself up to it by reading 10 pages for one month, then 20 pages for the next month, and then 30 pages, etc…the habit is much more likely to stick.

And keeping up with that habit is really the key here.

Reading 12 books a year sounds like a big goal, but if you change that goal to reading 10 pages a day (which leads to reading 12 books a year) then it doesn’t sound so difficult.

Small habits every day lead to significant results.

It might not seem big at the time, but a small positive habit repeated enough times can lead to something special.

6. Lack of a clear system

It’s great to have big goals, but if you have no idea how you’ll actually take action to achieve those goals, then you’ll never achieve them.

You need to clear plan for how you’re going to achieve your goal.

What habits do you need to incorporate in your life?

What boxes do you need to tick off?

If you don’t know the direction for achieving your goal you will end up living like a zombie without a purpose.

Start with your vision, turn it into a goal, and then most importantly, make plans and take actions to execute those plans.

7. Giving up too soon

Do you give up on your goals way too soon?

Most people quit when they face difficulties.

But any big goal that’s worth it will always encounter some level of difficulty.

Just like the example I’ve used throughout this article:

If your goal is to read more books and you’ve committed to reading 10 pages a day, it’s important to realize that it’s not always going to be easy.

Some days you’ll be tired, unmotivated and the last thing your brain will want to do is read…

But if you want to be successful you need to have discipline.

Stick to the plan. Don’t give up. Everything takes time, but if you stick at it you’ll get to where you want to get to.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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