Last week I talked about how you can unwittingly sabotage your own good intentions by negative motivation, blaming others and by getting discouraged too easily. Without even knowing it, you can contribute to your own struggles and thwart your goals. Here are a few more things to watch out for:

Lack of clear goals. What\’s your idea of success? What do you really want out of life? This is not what your parents want for you or what your social group expects of you. Your life goals are too important to be set by someone else. Or worse, to be so fuzzy that you can\’t articulate them. Just wanting success isn\’t enough. Wanting to be the best third grade teacher in your state isn\’t even enough. Be as specific as possible. What will make you feel like you\’ve achieved your goal? You can\’t work toward it if you don\’t know what it is.

Inability to prioritize. It\’s easy to have too many goals at once. Yes, you need to lose weight, get a promotion, renovate your house, raise happy and healthy children. And yes, you will have to try to achieve several things simultaneously. But too many goals at once will only set you up for failing to achieve any of them completely. So step back and prioritize. What do you need to focus on now? Once you\’ve achieved that, what\’s the next most important goal? Multi-tasking is just another name for spreading yourself too thin.

Risk taking avoidance. True, some people jump into everything feet first without a thought. But most people are more timid than bold. They are afraid to make mistakes. But what is so terrible about a little mistake here and there? Nothing, as long as you pick yourself up and dust yourself off and try again. If you never try, you\’ll never know what you might have achieved.

Not acting on your good ideas. How many ideas have you had that might have been great? You\’ll never know if you don\’t act on them. Not all will be good, but the path of least resistance is the easiest path, and that\’s the path people take when they do nothing about their ideas. It doesn\’t have to be the greatest invention in nanotechnology to be a good idea. It might be something as simple as getting up an hour earlier to write in your journal.

Insisting on immediate gratification. You\’ve heard of people who are overnight successes, right? Well, chances are they worked hard and long before that success. Nothing replaces hard work, day in and day out. You might not achieve your goal in a day or a week or even decades. But eventually, with persistence and hard work, you will have a good chance. If you insist on taking short cuts because you want results right now, well, your chances are not so good. So get to work.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: