If you’re reading this, then you’ve got New Year goals and a desire for personal development.
This is the year when you read those books.
This is the year when you get in shape and hit the gym religiously.
This is the year when you start that business.
This is the year when you donate to charity.
This is just the year to shine, period.
Or so you think. Chances are this year will be just like the last one (with a few alterations).
That’s because most New Year’s Resolutions fail. Just 8% of them succeed. Most personal development plans will fail.
Why is that?
There’s specific reasons that stand in your way of who you are now and the idealized man you have in your mind’s eye.
You don’t need to necessarily eliminate all of them to achieve your goals. Just getting rid of some of them will remove the barrier. Some of them also carry more weight than others.
For example, if you have no clear goals, you’ll find it difficult to achieve anything because you won’t have a target to aim at.
Let’s go through all of these reasons and come up with ways to how you can overcome them.
1. You don’t have the habits
Your physiology and psychology affect your personal development.
As a wise man once said:
For every action, there is an equal yet opposite reaction.
Every action we take produces a corresponding chemical/hormonal equivalent, which creates a reaction in the brain and body.
Let’s take this example:
You eat chocolate. Chocolate tastes good (yum, chocolate). Because chocolate tastes good, it makes you feel good. This is because chocolate produces a chemical reaction in the brain in the form of serotonin and tryptophan. These pleasurable chemicals make it easy to become “addicted” to chocolate. That happens with something as innocent as chocolate. What about something else?
You can get addicted to other feelings as well. Sadness, happiness, anger, euphoria, arousal, you name it. Those feelings produce chemicals as well.
Eventually, your brain habituates itself to these feelings and produces adaptations in the brain and body to adjust itself to the daily chemical stimulus.
This creates your personality.
Your personality is in extension a habit.
If you can’t overcome bad habits and cultivate the habits that create success, you’re in for a tough road ahead.
How to fix: You need to create a new habit. You do so through repetition and focused attention. It will be tough at first, but if you stick with them, your body will adapt to the new habit.
2. You lack discipline
Pretty self explanatory. If you can’t discipline yourself to do the things you need to do, you’ll never get to where you want to go.
How to fix: Discipline like everything else is a habit.
I wrote a three part series on how to become more disciplined. If you struggle in this area, it’s worth checking out.
3. You are unfocused
Again, another one that’s self explanatory. When it comes to being successful, it requires a type of tunnel vision, and giving up good in order to get to great.
How to fix: Pick one Chief Aim for your day, your month, and your life. Make everything else revolve around that Chief Aim.
4. You have no goals
Like I stated before, you need a goal or set of goals to aim at. Goals give you an idea of if you’re on the right track or not.If you don't have goals, you will be used by someone else to achieve their goals. Click To Tweet
How to fix: Get some goals that you will determine to put your attention on. If done right, these goals will become the guiding principles for your life. Write your goals down.
A “goal” not written down is a wish. It has no energy behind it. I wrote an indepth guide on goal-setting. If you need help in that area, I suggest you read it.
5. You lack a system or a routine
If you want to achieve goals easily, you need an automatic set of habits that make them damn near effortless to achieve.
You want to get up earlier in the morning. For most people, this involves their alarm clock. Problem is, most people hit “snooze” on the alarm clock before they even get out of bed.
How do you circumvent this?
How to fix: Put your alarm clock away from where you can easily reach it. Place it on a table across the room. Even better, put it high up somewhere you’re forced to struggle and reach it, like a bookshelf for instance. That way, when it rings, you are forced to get up and turn it off. You’ll be less likely to go back to sleep that way.
That is an example of a system that makes it effortless to achieve the goal of waking up earlier.
You have a system for how you do everything. That means…
You can interlink systems together. This makes your entire day one effortless system of goal achievement.
6. You lack clarity
This relates to goal achievement, but it deserves its own point.
You can have a goal to “make more money”. Ok, but it’s not clear. Make more money. How much more?
One dollar more? Two dollars? A thousand?
A clearer goal would be to: “raise my salary by at least 5% this year”.
How to fix: Get clear on every goal you set If you want to hit certain targets, clearly state those targets. Numbers are incredibly specific.
If you want to study, state the length of time you intend to study for.
If you want to meet a certain amount of people per week, state the number of people you intend to meet per week.
7. You’re too distracted
Being distracted is the rule, not the exception in our world.
We live in a world of constant noise. Pings, texts, alerts, breaking news… You know what the scary part about all this is?
You can spend your entire life in a haze of noise and distraction and never get to the depths of anything meaningful.
That means you will never achieve anything of value.
How to fix: Practice deep work. Deep work is the act of concentration on a challenging task. Deep work inherently adds value to your life and to the lives of others.
Put the cellphone away. If you find yourself unable to pull away from the Internet, you may have an Internet/digital addiction. You’d do best to install some Internet blocking apps so you can get that area of your life handled.
8. You’re not consistent
What if I told you that you could achieve any goal you set for yourself in just 30 minutes to an hour a day?
Would you believe me? If you work on something for an hour a day for a year, you will inevitably be much better off than when you started.
Your growth compounds on itself until you get to a plateau (but that doesn’t happen until you get to the intermediate/expert levels).
An hour a day will put you far ahead of most people because the only thing that most people work on for multiple hours a day is their jobs. And of course, most of us know…working on something continuously will only get you more of the same.
How to fix: Focus on deliberate practice and incremental improvement. Commit to getting better at something for an hour a day. Watch how your life blossoms before your eyes. If you can’t find the time, make the time.
9. You fail to have backup plans
What can go wrong will go wrong.
That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.
The bigger your goals and plans are, the larger the chance that something will come and divert you off the path of those goals or fuck it up completely, making it harder to attain.
How to fix: A pilot always has a backup plan in case something in the plane malfunctions.
Likewise, you are the pilot of your own life.
If the method to achieving that goal is now unavailable, what other methods can you use to achieve them? For example, you may have a goal of getting to a certain weight in the gym.
But then you broke a bone or tore a ligament in your body.
You may not be able to use free weights for the time being, but what about the machines?
10. You lack time management
There are many tricks and techniques to proper time management, but here’s the main gist: spend more hours in your day working towards your goals.
Too many of us spend time in a state of dispelled distraction. That means we aren’t putting our time, the raw material of our day towards things that actually matter.
Think of your accomplishments as a tower. Every second, minute, and hour of your day are the building blocks of this tower.
You need to spend more time and more attention towards building up this tower if you want to see it completed. Some towers will be easy to build, others will take more patience and diligence.
Either way, you won’t get there unless you start building.
If I have the goal of reading 20 pages in a book, I can’t spend that time on checking my phone, checking my email, going for a walk…because I won’t accomplish that goal.
Yet many of us have done this every. single. day. For years! How much raw material have we wasted on building towers we don’t care about?Money wasted can be restored; health wasted can be restored; but time wasted can never be restored. Click To Tweet
I hope this list gave you a clearer idea of where you need to orient yourself in order to attain your goals. These are the reasons why many people don’t experience that exponential growth that they desire.
And to be honest?
Personal development isn’t that difficult. IF you have a clear direction, a plan to get there, and a plan to help you stay on track.
Wishing you the best in achieving these goals this year and every other year.
Do you have certain goals you want to achieve this year? What’s stopping you from achieving those goals? Tell me in the comments below!