“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses” (George Washington Carver).
One thing I’ve come to learn is that a lot of people set goals for themselves and can follow them for a while. But at one point or another, unless people get the results they are looking for long term, they start to trail off and don’t see the point.
It’s hard to stay on track of a goal, even if you want it really really badly. It’s like wanting to buy that cool hoodie and after waiting to buy it, eventually you don’t care anymore.
Habits can be hard to break, but even harder to start.
A habit can also be hard to break psychologically taking a mental toll like “why did I stop doing that”, but can be easy to break by just simply not doing what you promised to do.
It’s a cycle of attempting to stay motivated, looking at the end results, and promising yourself it will be worth it. So how do we notice when we start breaking our own rules and habits we set ourselves up with for success?
Look For Recent Changes
Sometimes we make a habit for ourselves to lead us down a successful path and we are proud to have done so. But come a few years or months later, even if progress was made, we somehow stopped doing what we thought was good for us.
Even if we know what we are doing is the right course of action, we still get lazy, as is the unavoidable mindset we all succumb to at one point.
So avoiding dropping a habit we wish we kept can be hard to notice.
To avoid this, you need to reflect on when you were highly motivated in a time when you aren’t as motivated.
You need to see if you abandoned any aspirations or goals set for yourself, and remember why you set those goals in the first place.
Constantly analyzing ourselves and what we are doing help us to see if we are on the same track we initially set out to.
We can look at what we might be doing if we were more motivated. Or what we might be doing if we were at the start of our goal.
Refreshing your mind and viewing back to those initial thoughts before you made that first promise to yourself is a way to make sure the habits you form aren’t disregarded later on.
List Your Goals Often
Whether it be in your head or on a list in a notebook tucked away somewhere, you have to make sure your goals are the same as they have always been.
If some have been replaced or removed because we encountered a roadblock, we are making excuses and not finding a way around that roadblock.
It’s like a shopping list. You can’t just disregard something you said you need at the time, and when it comes to acquiring that, even if it takes a long amount of time, it’s still on the list.
The list can change. Things can be removed or replaced, but the reasoning has to be so great and so justified, that what you are replacing it with will benefit you even more than if you kept it as it.
We must keep our goals anyway as needed that will help keep it in our heads to try and achieve those goals.
You can take scenarios you enter, analyze how it would differ than if you had achieved the goals you set a while back, and potentially give yourself more reason to keep that goal.
Our goals were made for a reason, and a goal made is rarely justified for removing it from our to do list.
Make Defenses Before You Change Goals
Something I’ve done to keep my goals the same and keep the progress I’ve made present, is I’ve shifted viewing what I am doing to different reasoning for doing it, but the same goal in mind. My example is my writing.
I may or may not be making a difference in someone’s life. I may or may not be growing a base audience of people that like reading what I write. I may have started with a different idea for how this will all turn out. But in the end, I want to keep going because I can see different positive outcomes depending on how I use what I have been attempting.
All this writing is practice. Practice for what? I don’t necessarily know. But I want to keep this experience in my tool belt for the future to see what I can use it for.
Even if all of this shows that I suck at writing and don’t have a lot to say, it still shows persistence.
Let’s say an employer looked at my writing. Maybe they don’t think I have good writing experience or my work lacks good content. Whatever they may see, they will still see that I have persistence and commitment to what I am doing.
I’ve written two articles per week for about five or six months now, and even with a small audience, it shows I’m determined even with little results.
As I started writing, I realized this earlier on that no matter the outcome, even if my writing skills got worse, I still have something to show, my consistency.
I essentially made up another line of defense for my goal and strengthened why this goal is important to me.
We have to look for those opportunities to say, “If I stop now, I’ll never know if I achieve A or B”.
We should look ahead at the excuses lingering in the back of our mind that may approach us suddenly telling us it’s O.K. to stop now.
We can target that excuse now before we use it on ourselves in the future. We know ourselves well enough to know what we might come up with to give us reason to give up.
If we build our defenses and protect our goals, the more likely we will achieve them.
We can and should work to make it fundamentally impossible and inconvenient for us to give up our goals.