Here are the 3 biggest obstacles that will prevent you from accomplishing your goals and checking things off your to-do list.
Until a few months ago, I was traveling constantly, working occasionally and had quite a bit of free time on my hands. I enjoyed this luxury for nearly a year and a half and it was a much welcome reprieve from over a decade of working full-time.
I got a wake up call though, at the beginning of 2014 as I settled back into a routine, started working full-time, and began a Masters program in conjunction with Coach training. I very quickly had to call on my “time-management” skills from back in the day and it took me a few weeks and several good sessions with my coach to get back on track. Now, a few of my clients are experiencing similar frustrations, trying juggle the different aspects of their lives, and all of the great things they want to accomplish. The most common questions I’m being asked these days are:
“I feel so overwhelmed, how can I get organized?”
“I’ve had these items sitting on my to-do list forever!
How do I get motivated enough to get them done?”
“I don’t really have a to—do list… I’m not sure where to start!”
If any of these sounds like you and you want to figure out why you’re not getting things done, you are likely falling victim to one or more of what I call the “Major Blocks for getting things done”!
Read on for valuable insight!
MAJOR BLOCK #1: You don’t know what you want.
The first thing that can be happening for you is that you don’t really know what you want. Or, you have an idea of what you want but you don’t have strong enough reasons to back it up. Perhaps the thing you think you want is actually somebody else’s vision for you or is what you think you need in order to be happy. If you don’t have clear, strong, specific reasons that are really compelling for you, you are likely never going to have enough motivation to accomplish the tasks that you are half-heartedly setting out to do.
I remember when this was the case for me, my coach at the time walked me through some specific steps to help me get very clear about what my vision for my life was. If you find yourself at this stage, you need to take a step back and examine what it is you truly want, what’s going to light you up inside, and create an elaborate vision for yourself that will really pull you into action.
MAJOR BLOCK #2: You know what you want, but you don’t know how to get it/do it.
This is where a lot of people get stuck. You’ll know you’re here if you have a clear vision and objective, you know why you want it, but things have been sitting on your to-do list for more than a month or two (or longer!). At this stage, you may either be avoiding looking at your to-do list altogether, or every time you do it gives you anxiety, or maybe you quickly scan it muttering about how you’ll do it next week or you don’t really have time right now. You’ll also recognize these items because they are often really BIG and if I asked you how long it will take finish them you either say “several hours, days, weeks, months”, or “I don’t know”.
Some examples of these kinds of great, big daunting tasks are:
- Look into grad schools
- Finish project
- Create my business
- Re-structure my business
- Look for a new job
- Organize paperwork
- Clean house
- Make website
This kind of stuff personally gives me a sense of dread just looking at it. I’ve had some items sit on my to-do list for so long (and I’m talking months… even a year!) that it eventually became obsolete or I gave up on it. In this case, it’s not working because the item on your list is too big and too daunting to undertake. Plus, everything you’ve got going on in your daily life will always seem more exciting or more important. I finally got unstuck from this nasty habit by following a step-by-step process to break it down into clear, actionable steps.
To help you get started though, you’ve got to pool your resources. If you don’t already know how to do the thing you want to do, then start researching/interviewing, reading about people who are successful at it and find out exactly how they did it. Write down the steps you need to take to complete your task, and then break those down further into manageable items that you can do in a short sitting. Organize those items into things you will do today, this week, this month, etc. The bottom line is to create an action plan that is clear, doable, will work for you . . . and is hopefully exciting and compelling too!
MAJOR BLOCK #3: You know what you want and how to get it, but you don’t do it
. . . or you “don’t have enough time”!
This third one can be the most frustrating of all. At this stage, you’ve removed most of the obstacles and cleared the path to success, but you’re still not doing it!!! How annoying is that?! I also call this one: overwhelm, lack of motivation, fear of failure, fear of success, or the “maybe-I’m-not-good-enough” syndrome.
When we know what we want and how to get it, but we still don’t do it, there are several things that can be happening:
- If you still feel overwhelmed, I guarantee that you’ve missed something on either step #1 or step #2. Go back and this time be really honest with yourself! If you don’t understand what’s involved in these steps, for many people, hiring a good coach can be just the thing to help kick them into gear and out of overwhelm!
- You still lack motivation. Okay, two things here—either you’ve missed something on step #1, or you are about 2 seconds away from getting the momentum you need. A very simple exercise is sit down and write 2 paragraphs—one paragraph about all the pain you will receive if you don’t do this. I don’t mean to be a martyr, but it’s wired into the human nervous system to avoid pain. Focus on all the negative things that could happen, ie. no promotion, less money, feeling unhappy/unfulfilled, decreased quality of relationships, selling yourself short, feeling disappointed, etc. Don’t just stop there though! Leave yourself in a great state by writing a second paragraph about all the pleasure you’re going to receive by finishing this thing. This means, all of the ways you will feel good, be proud of yourself, positively impact the people in your life, make more money, improve your relationships, etc. etc. Go all out on this one to really get inspired!
- Fear of failure/fear of success. Sometimes we hold beliefs that we may not even be aware of that set us up for failure. If, deep down, you don’t really believe that you’re capable of success, or you’re afraid you’re going to screw it all up once you get there, you’ve got a little re-wiring work to do. How is this belief serving you in the long run? How is it sabotaging you? What would happen if the belief wasn’t there? What could you believe instead?
- “Maybe-I’m-not-good-enough” syndrome. This one goes along with fear of failure. At some level, we all feel like we’re not good enough or not worthy. This was wired into each of us in different ways from the time we were very little. There are some great tools and programs out there to help re-wire this story, but know this—you are good enough. You were made by the same creator who: created our planet, created every beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced, created all of the people you love and admire. We all have a purpose and telling ourselves that we are anything less than absolutely perfect for carrying out the purpose we were given is to be obnoxious enough to say that your creator screwed up. You are not a mistake—you make them, yes, but you’re supposed to—that’s how we learn and grow.What matters is whether or not you get back up again and how determined you are to live your dreams.
Okay, so what if I’ve figured out all the stuff above and it’s still not happening???
At this stage, if you’ve legitimately gone through all the steps above, and not just “kinda-sorta” went through them, but really did them, you need to take under serious consideration whether this is something you really want. What is the motivation behind your goal? Is this something you feel like you should do, but deep down it doesn’t really call to you? Is it possible that your goal is in conflict with something else that you truly want? Are you afraid of losing a relationship? Your position in your community or at work? Your certainty and security over your current lifestyle? Chances are good that either you didn’t really go through the above steps as deeply and honestly as you needed to, or you’ve got an inner conflict going on. Either way, I would recommend hiring a good coach who can help you get clarity and break through.
If you just saw how you fall into any of the pitfalls above, coaching may be just the thing for you. Maybe you already know a great coach, or someone you really know and trust can recommend one to you. If you’ve already read my posts and you feel connected, I would be happy to speak with you about how I can support you. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the conversation!