Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Josh Simpsons.
From New Year’s resolutions to lateral career moves, making serious changes in your life isn’t easy. Humans have come a long way in recent years but we’ve yet to become particularly comfortable with, let alone fond of, serious change.
If you find yourself dreaming of a new you, or even just a skinnier you, there are a number of mistakes that you must avoid if you want to be successful. Here are eight examples of what not to do when trying to change your life.
1. Expecting Instant Results
Changing your life isn’t like changing your clothes. If you’ve spent most of your life thinking or acting in a certain way, you cannot expect to change overnight either.
When you decide to make a major life change, it’s easy to get carried away with all the things that you are going to do. Don’t forget the most important, patience.
2. Setting Unclear Goals
Deciding that you want to make a change is easy, defining the exact changes that you want to make however, that can be a little more challenging. And unfortunately, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
Write down exactly what you are trying to achieve and stick to goals that are quantifiable. For example, instead of saying that you want to make more money, write down an exact figure.
3. Constantly Changing Your Goals
Another important characteristic of effective goals is that they need to last for longer than a week. You won’t achieve anything if you keep changing what you are trying to achieve. You need to be decisive in what you want out of life.
Once you’ve put your mind to a particular goal, ignore the urge to change it or move on to something else. Focus on one goal at a time. If other changes are necessary, there will be time for them later.
4. Making Overly Complicated Plans
Most long term changes take months, if not years to complete. Trying to answer every single question immediately therefore borders on the impossible. Long, drawn out plans can also easily begin to feel insurmountable.
Rather than trying to figure everything out immediately, divide your goal into smaller, more manageable steps. Tackle each step one at a time. As time goes by, the other parts of the puzzle should slowly start to fall into place.
5. Underestimating What it Takes
Real change takes time. It also takes work. And it’s not uncommon for people to greatly underestimate just how much time and work it’s going to take them. And when reality finally dawns on them, their motivation tends to disappear overnight.
You don’t need all the answers yet but you do need to be realistic about the level of commitment that you’re going to have to make. In fact, be realistic bordering on pessimistic. Prepare for the worst case scenario, it will make it so much more enjoyable when it doesn’t happen.
6. Choosing the Wrong Company
They say that laughter is contagious. Unfortunately, the same can easily be said for negativity. If you want to make a change in your life, it’s important for you to surround yourself with people who genuinely believe that you can do it.
Some people are naturally negative, other’s will view your attempts at change as an indication of their own shortcomings. Ignore the reasons and simply avoid such people. Fail to do so and they will hold you back.
7. Taking Setbacks Poorly
If change was easy, you would have done it years ago. You are going to make mistakes, you are going to trip up. And the harder you push yourself, the more you can expect these things to happen.
Nobody achieves success without failing first. Accept that setbacks are a natural ingredient of change. Don’t punish yourself and don’t use them as an excuse to give up.
8. Starting Strong, Losing Steam
Finally, we have the small matter of motivation, it’s easy to lose it. Most people start strong, carried along by the excitement of trying something new. But over time, the work involved becomes tiresome and the dream begins to lose its shine.
Unfortunately, this is when working hard really matters. Keep reminding yourself what you are trying to achieve and why you are trying to achieve it. Lose sight of these things and it’s only a matter of time before you give up.
Image Credit: Marco Bellucci