People write down their New Year’s resolutions with the best of intentions. But somewhere along the way – usually by the end of January – most of them are forgotten about, until December comes around yet again. Needless to say, repeating that cycle over and over again won’t get you any closer to your goals.
So what are those pitfalls that cause us to abandon our New Year’s resolutions, and sometimes even life goals? Here are three that prevent most “artrepreneurs” from achieving their goals and ultimately, their true potential:
1) You fell for the infamous “You are LIMITLESS” mantra.
Bestselling spiritual/self-help author Wayne Dyer said “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Even though the soul may be limitless, free, and as vast as the universe – we are still confined to a worldly experience, which limited by natural laws such as gravity and several others. Practically speaking, there can only be one American Idol (or Canadian Idol or whatever Idol for the part of the world you live in). There’s one President, one Queen, one gold medalist Olympic skier. Even though you may affirm and visualize holding one these positions, you might not ever end up there.
We – as human beings – all have limits. Limits caused by financial circumstances, family obligations, time constraints, lack of knowledge, lack of skill, age restrictions, height restrictions, and so on. But limitations should never be viewed as stop signs. On the contrary, they allow us to confidently move in directions that work with our natural talents, abilities and lifestyles. Limitations allow us to see how we can improve ourselves. So acknowledge your limitations. If you can’t overcome them, use them to your advantage.
2) You didn’t anticipate the potential problems along the way.
As I write this article the jackpot for the Western Canadian Lotto is $55 million dollars. In my corporate days I remember many co-workers lining up at the convenient store during lunch to get their hands on their “retirement ticket”, fantasizing amongst each other about winning. From the white collar viewpoint, a big lottery win sounds great. But Dr. Steven J. Danish, professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, paints a very different picture.
“Danish has counselled lottery winners for more than 12 years, and almost all his patients have had serious problems after collecting their winnings. After the initial shock passes, a sense of guilt often arrives, along with the hoards of people asking for money. Giving or leaving money to family — including mysterious, long-lost relatives — is often the biggest source of stress, he said.”
But this phenomena isn’t limited to lottery winners. It happens to entrepreneurs as well. There are problems that come with extreme success. For example, will you have enough inventory if a positive review of your product generates a flood of 10,000 orders? How will you manage your time fulfilling orders? Do you have a babysitter lined up for business emergencies? Can your website even handle the traffic after your latest post goes viral?
But don’t focus on failure and the potential problems that come with success. Instead, create a mindset of preparedness.
3) You focus a lot of energy on past mistakes
A very dear friend has been wanting to start his own business for a long time – and a few years ago he took the plunge, quit his job and started out on his own. Unfortunately the business flopped, and he lost most of his life savings in the process. Today, he still talks about how much he wants to go into business for himself. But the memory of losing his “hard-earned” savings is a painful one, and ultimately the reason why he commutes to a government job every day, instead of taking the plunge and starting another business.
My outlook, as I describe it in my Happiness book (available on Amazon), is a little different. Nothing in life is 100% guaranteed. The best-laid out plans can be overturned by something unexpected in the blink of an eye. The best you can do is learn from the past (not LIVE in the past) and move on, listening to feedback along the way.