If you are reading this article then the chances are that there are things in your life that are not as you would like them to be; the circumstances of your life aren't all that you would have hoped for; or you find that you are unhappy with the way things are.
The good news is you're not alone and you are about to learn about 3 mistakes that people frequently make and how to avoid them. These things prevent you from having the life of your dreams.
Remember: Change does not happen over night! The principles and tips you will learn need to be practiced and applied in your life by You. No-one else can do any of these things for you!
1. Not Setting Goals and Not Dreaming
Top of the list of mistakes is the lack of Goals and Dreams. For many people, simply setting goals and defining their dreams for themselves is 90% of the problem. "Yes, yes, I've heard all this before..." Mmm... so how come you are reading this article?
Most people have heard somewhere that they are "supposed" to set Goals and have Dreams, but 95% of us don't bother. Is it any wonder then that only 5% of people ever achieve their goals? Well if they are the only people setting them, then isn't it pretty obvious???
So, is it as simple as setting goals? Well, yes and no. Only a fool would think that they simply had to write down a long list of things that they want and they would magically appear! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that goals need lots of hard work attached to them, we'll get to that in a little while!
There are good goals and ones that aren't any good. The following principles will help you to define a goal that you are likely to get attached to and, as such, are likely to achieve.
- S - Simple Is it simple to convey your goal in a few words?
- M - Measurable How will you measure your progress?
- A - Achievable Can you achieve the goal?
- R - Realistic Are you being realistic about time and details?
- T - Timely Have you put a date on it?
- Positive goal - never use words like "not" and "don't" etc. e.g. I am not poor, instead, say "I am wealthy".
- Present tense - write the goal as if you have achieved it now, or say something like: "It is the 25th of January 2011 and I have..."
- Focus - don't dwell on the goal all the time, but leave reminders such as photos, or 'post-it notes' around that you will see every now and again to keep your focus steady but relaxed.
Otherwise, what on earth are you aiming for???
2. Making a Living, Not Making a Life
The belief that you have to work hard to get anywhere in life is an extremely common one. The bottom line is that if something feels like hard work, how likely are you to be happy about it? If you are working hard at something that you really loathe to do, find boring, or doesn't satisfy you, then no amount of amazing outcome will ever make the journey worthwhile.
In order to move forward in life, you need to redefine your ideas about working hard. Think of something you really love to do, maybe golf, shopping or spending time with the kids (if you don't love doing any of those, then pick something else). Now, answer this question: "How much hard work is it to do this thing?"
It's not at all hard is it? Yet, you are spending time and energy (probably as much as you can spare) on these activities. The same applies to work, business or whatever you do to eat, clothe and shelter yourself. If you really love doing what you are doing, then it's not hard work at all. There may be small parts of it that you don't enjoy so much, but generally you'll just skip through these and get on to the good stuff.
In my work (which I adore), I meet so many people who are slogging their guts out at work, striving to achieve more and earn more money. Really, they are slowly wasting away their time on things they really don't enjoy doing, in order to have enough money to buy something that might make them feel happy for a while.
Why not do what you enjoy, anyway?
Is this not your challenge, to find the thing you love to do and then do as much of it as you can? Ok, so it might not be easy to find, but I assure you that if you look and you are open to it, you will find it.
Think about the people who seem to skip happily through life, they appear to get all the breaks and the good stuff...
They are simply happy with what they are doing!
3. Wondering, "Why Does it Always Happen to Me?"
This is what I call 'self-entrapment'. Thinking thoughts like this keeps you trapped in a loop that you cannot easily escape from. Imagine a world where everything that is going to happen is governed by what has happened before! In fact the only certainty we know is death - and with advances in medical science, it wouldn't surprise me if we find a way to eradicate that little problem one day!
So why do so many of us live our lives based on this unwavering belief that things always happen this way, or bad things always happen to us?
Well, your brain believes that you need to make sense of your world and so it remembers everything that ever happens to you. Then, when it perceives that you need more information, it will present you with all the evidence to suggest what might be about to happen. The problem is that it is often passed through a filter - normally a negative one.
Now this filter is trying to do something positive for you, it is trying to keep you safe, or sane. However all that it achieves is to create fear, discomfort and indecision in you. This keeps you stuck in the past - usually with the belief that if it's happened before, then it'll happen again. In order to create lasting change in your life, you are going to need to do something different to the way you have done it previously. In order to do this, you have to believe that things can be different. "Why does it always happen to me?" is going to need to be replaced by something like, "I have the opportunity to be different and to attract new, more positive circumstances into my life."
So, you can believe that: because the last 3 major life decisions you have made haven't worked out, that there is no point making a new one now. Alternatively, you can think:
"I have learned so much from my past choices and I can build on this learning with my next choice."
One final thought, from one of the great business philosophers: "For things to change you have to change." (Jim Rohn)
Dan O'Neil is a Life Coach working in the UK. He specialises in helping people create a work-life balance, improve their confidence and self-esteem, and achieve their goals in life. Dan also writes a popular personal development blog
More information on Dan's Life Coaching services. This article forms part of a free ebook download available on Dan's website.