Note: This is a guest post from Clay Andrews of The Path to Passion
I don’t mean to be a downer here. If you’re interested in optimizing your life and living it to the fullest, you probably have a lot of big goals and dreams. It’s important to focus on what you want and to use that as motivation to move you forward.
However, it’s also important to be realistic about the common pitfalls that people tend to get stuck in as they work toward their life goals.
Here are 5 common things I’ve seen in others (and myself!):
1. Pursue Material Success Above All Else
It is easy to get mesmerized by the thought that your life would be perfect if only you had more money, a bigger house, or a new pair of shoes.
Don’t get caught in the trap of chasing the best and brightest new thing. I’ve been there myself, and all those new toys lose their luster after a few short days or weeks.
Though those things may make you feel good for a while, it is important to realize that those good feelings of confidence, joy, and happiness come from within you, not from the object
2. Wait for “Someday”
You’re busy. I’m busy. Everyone is busy these days. Somehow it seems like a struggle just to find the time to go grocery shopping or get the oil changed in your car.
It is easy to put things off on the “someday” list, especially if taking action frightens you or you’re unclear about what the next step should be.
However, it is important to realize that unless you actively make the choice to change your situation and take control of your life, your dreams, or the direction you’re headed, you will just keep drifting on the same course you’re already on.
Living the life you want doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen because your to-do list is finally complete and you can, at long last, find the time to concentrate on what matters. The only way to get the life you want is to take action and make time for it.
Make your goals a top priority and you won’t run the risk of endlessly putting them off until they reach the graveyard of “someday.”
3. Settle for Less Than What You Want
I know it can be difficult to go after what you want. You pour all of your effort into getting that dream job, asking that special person out on a date, or getting started on that new diet only to be met with disappointments.
After a little bit of failure, it is only reasonable to think that you’ve just set your goals too high and that you should settle for something a bit more “reasonable.”
However, settling for less isn’t going to give you what you really want. It will also develop a belief in your mind that you can’t get what you really want or that you don’t deserve it. This kind of thinking will limit your motivation or the amount of action you’re willing to take to go after other things you want in life.
4. Avoid Fear and Uncomfortable Situations
I get it. It’s tough to walk into your boss’ office and demand a raise or go up to that hot girl at the bar and introduce yourself. It’s frightening. You don’t know what will happen, and there’s a reasonable chance that you may not get the desired outcome.
However, it is only through reaching outside of our comfort zone that we can begin to expand what is possible in our life.
It’s the things we have to work for and take a risk to get that we treasure the most in life.
Yes, you might experience the sting of rejection, but the courage needed for taking a chance will start to build, like any muscle that is exercised, and you’ll begin to become more bold and courageous in other things in life too.
5. Choose to Believe Discouraging Thoughts
We all have negative thoughts. There is no denying that. However, we do have the choice to believe those thoughts or not.
And it sure is easy to believe them. After all, we thought them up or someone “important” told them to us, so they must be true, right?
Keep in mind though, that just because you have a limiting or discouraging thought about your own abilities or value does NOT mean that you have to accept that belief.
You can choose what beliefs you are willing to accept and which ones you are not. Even if you’re unable to control anything else in your life, you can always control your thoughts.
The important thing is to not feel bad if you see yourself in any of these 5 pitfalls. Often, we may not be aware of what we’re doing so you shouldn’t feel bad when you discover something counter-productive. Instead celebrate its discovery and correct course as needed.
The journey to achieving your life goals may not always be a straight line, but finding your path amidst it all is one of the biggest joys in life.
Photo by Per Ola Wiberg