There are many people today who are living in certain situations that are less than desirable. When we live a life that isn’t the way we want, our only real choice is to make some changes. But what happens when we decide to make these changes, and against our best efforts, we come up short?
Trying to change life’s circumstances can be difficult. There are certain factors that can work against us and we must consider these if we want to be met with success. These factors include: our expectations, our ability to stick to changes, and especially, our habits. This article discusses this topic in more detail.
I have been no stranger to the life of hard knocks. But why? Well, it’s because of my choices. I can honestly say that I am where I am in life because I have made choices that gave me these results. It’s not like I did everything perfectly for the last forty years and life just kept knocking me down.
Related: How Do I Make The Right Choice?
What’s interesting is it was only a few years back that I figured out that my actions have consequences. Yes, I’m a slow study. But I am glad I have figured it out. However, knowing we need to make changes and actually making these changes are two different things.
We can set out to make positive changes, however, we can be quickly met with resistance. But from what? In this article, I will list five things that can work against us. Of course, there are other things that can prevent progress, but I have found this to be a good starting point.
Five factors that can affect our progress
Regardless of what venture we participate in, what personal changes we want to make, or what habit we are trying to overcome, we are often met with some type of adversity or blockage that can potentially derail our plan.
We have two options at that point; quit or stay on course and make some changes to the plan. I, of course, am going to encourage you to stay your course and figure out what changes must be made for success.
I have quit lots of times, and the one thing it all has in common is this; I have to start over from scratch each time I quit. So, take my word for it; any progress now is better than later starting over completely.
This is why I have listed some areas of importance to consider that can potentially help or hurt our goals. Take an honest read through these if you are finding that your best efforts are still falling short. Making changes isn’t always easy, but there are generally solutions that we can employ to ensure our success; one of which is simply giving the issue more time then originally allotted.
Here is my list:
- Have realistic expectations
- Review your plan of action
- Adjust your effort output
- Look for anything that hinders progress
- Seek additional help
1. Have realistic expectations
When we venture out to try new things, we are treading on new territory. This means we won’t necessarily know what will go right, what will go wrong, or how long it will take.
In most cases we can do some research on something we are trying and can often get an approximate idea for results. What we must understand is that things don’t always work out perfectly. What worked easily for one person might work out in a different way for another.
When we set up timelines for how long something should take before we see results, we must be as realistic as possible. If our expectations are too strict or rigid, we are potentially lining ourselves up for failure.
For instance, blogging is one of those areas where one person will get started, and within six months, they will see income. Whereas, another will get started blogging, and even after a year, might not have much more than pocket change coming in.
If we only look at the folks who are making money after six months and decide to quit if we don’t see the same results, then our expectations weren’t realistic. We can, of course, use the six months as an aiming point. However, we should also consider that a year or more is normal for a blogger to make part or full-time income.
We must make allowances for the variations between people. Some people have different characteristics then others and will hit it off instantly with their readers, while others will need to get creative with their writing efforts and techniques to drive the same crowd.
So, whatever it is in life that you are working at, if you aren’t seeing the results that you would expect, consider reviewing your expectations and find an average over a majority of others doing the same thing. You might find that you are actually on par with results.
2. Review your game-plan
If we review our expectations and find that we are, in fact, lagging behind, we can move to review our plan of action. Since there isn’t truly any one-size-fits-all when it comes to a world full of unique people, we must look for other things to try as we strive to reach our desired result.
I will keep using the blogging example here: if we have started blogging and are following the steps exactly as laid out by another successful blogger, yet we are failing to get the results they got, we must again consider that the differences might be in their personality.
What we can do instead is, search out other bloggers and see the various techniques they use to acquire website traffic. Also we must consider their writing style, frequency, marketing efforts, length of posts, and adopt some new techniques from others to incorporate into our plan.
It is possible that we might need to tweak our plan slightly before we will break through our plateau. The idea is to not drop the plan entirely and start over, but rather, keep doing what is good and implement a small change here and there as we finely tune our plan.
Because we are so different then other people, it should come as no surprise that we are likely to see different results, even when we do exactly what they do.
I can say this confidently, because as a blogger, I have experienced these issues. I started off thinking that in six months I’d be making money and living the life. Well, I’m over a year now and still no red-carpet events. I can assure you I’ve had my frustrations, but I press on. I make small changes here and there and try various techniques.
Not all give me results, but some do. I can honestly say that I wish I read about the hardships of blogging as a career first instead of only reading the success stories, but it’s too late for that. Instead, I keep going because I have made progress. Sure, I’m not raking in the dough as of yet, but I am thankful for the faithful readers I do have. It has reminded me to re-examine my expectations and tweak my plan a bit.
3. Adjust effort output
When we are making changes in life, whatever that is, we need to work on the right amount at a time. If we start out and we decide that we are going to start waking up two hours earlier, add in exercise each day, quit drinking or smoking, stop drinking soda and only consume water, start a success journal, and eat more vegetables, we are likely going to quit all of this within a few days.
However, on the other extreme, if we decide that we are going to start waking up two hours earlier each day, and that’s it, we might find that the resulting changes in our life aren’t very significant.
Setting the right pace is very important!
When I need to make changes in my life, and for me, this is never-ending, I start with two or three changes. One if it’s a big change like when I gave up smoking, two if it’s still a challenge like going to the gym a few times a week and trading soda for water as often as possible, and three when it’s small changes like waking up earlier, making a couple small changes to my schedule, and trying to eat a salad once per day.
It comes down to finding the right balance. We can effectively stump our own progress by taking on too much and we can also fall short of our potential when we don’t do enough each day. When it comes to getting results in life that we want, we must be sure that we have the right formula.
One more thing I would like to add here; there has been many times in my life where I felt the need to make changes and ended up making one of the mistakes mentioned above. Either, I would take on too much and crash or too little and see no changes. Then I would get depressed because it wasn’t working out and that would be very damaging because it would stop any chance of progress at all.
If you are trying to make necessary changes in your life and you are coming up short, I encourage you to avoid giving any attention to negative thinking or depression. Instead, try changing workload. This is often easy to figure out because if too much, you will be struggling to keep at it, and it will feel like a huge burden or it will be so easy and won’t feel like a challenge at all.
4. Look for anything that hinders progress
Often, when we are trying to improve our life or circumstances, we will be putting in good effort, but making very little progress. We must also consider if there are other things that we’re doing that are hindering our efforts.
For instance, if we are trying to lose weight by going to the gym everyday, doing lots of cardio, drinking lots of water, eating smaller portions of healthier foods, but then over-doing the drinks when out socializing, we will be effectively thwarting our progress.
Now, this is obvious for the exercise example. But what about when it isn’t as obvious?
For instance; we are falling behind in bills and debt, so we find a few areas where we can earn some extra money. However, despite having more money now to cover bills and debts, we feel like there isn’t as much pressure, so we dine out here and there, we keep cash in our pockets, and we don’t maintain a written household budget.
Yes, we have found a solution to the lack of finances. However, because of loose spending and not keeping track of where the funds are going, there is high potential that the extra funds still won’t be enough. This is where a habit change is necessary in addition to the extra earnings.
I have found this to be the case for myself many times in my life. I have good intentions to make positive changes in my life, however, because I don’t analyze how my habits affect my progress, I find myself no farther ahead.
If you are trying to make some positive changes in your life but seem to be one step forward and two steps back, consider analyzing your other daily habits. Are there any habits that are likely ruining your progress?
5. Seek additional help
Sometimes, there will come a time where our best efforts will keep coming up short. We are wise to enlist the help of others when this happens. If we don’t like our current circumstances and we try to change with no avail, perhaps seeking out help is the next step.
There are many people who have life-coaches, or mentors, who give advice and help come up with solutions. These are often people who have been through it or have studied it. Either way, they have found productive ways to help people who are short on ideas.
Getting a spouse or partner on board is also helpful. If we are in a relationship, it is important to lean on each other to get through things. Even if it’s a personal issue, such as depression or an addiction, don’t try to go it alone. That’s what couples are supposed to do. Of course, there are some issues that our partner might not be qualified to help with, but that’s when their support will suffice. They can help us get the help we need to get past the issue efficiently.
Friends can be good for helping us to get through things too. If we are trying to make changes to our diets or health, we can often ask our friends to help keep us accountable through the process.
If we try to do something that is just out of our reach long enough, we are likely to give up whatever progress we have. Instead, don’t throw in the towel. Pick up the phone and reach out to someone to help get past the hurtle.
Related: Why You Should Just Do Your Best
This could also include doing some research into the topic or issue at hand. There are countless videos online, there are numerous books in the libraries, and there are millions of bloggers out there who are working hard to share their experiences in hopes to help someone else succeed.
An impossibility or the bitter-end for us, might inspire an idea or solution for another, if we would just reach out instead of giving up.
If you are tired of living a certain way or frustrated with coming up short on your efforts, I encourage you to consider the ideas in this article. Most times, we just need to tweak our routine slightly to start seeing the results we expect.
But how many give up first before trying the small changes?
If this article has inspired you in some way to make some positive changes, please don’t put it off. Make a plan for action, do a bit of research to find tips, tricks, and to help set realistic expectations, and go to it. Be sure to reach out for help when times get tough.
If you have any tips for making positive changes that would be helpful for others, please leave a comment for others to enjoy.