Feeling Stuck? Tips For Achieving Goals

I often encounter clients who claim they know what they want to accomplish with their lives and/or careers, but when it comes to buckling down and doing it, they are paralyzed. It’s not enough to just know what you want; you have to figure out a way to get it done. This is where many people fall short when setting goals. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. We all find ourselves stuck in that place at certain points in our lives.

     So the question becomes: How do you push through it? In their book, “The Knowing Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action”, Jeffrey Pfeiffer and Robert I. Sutton discuss why our actions don’t always match our ideal goals and how we can create a better plan.

   Oprah’s Dr. Martha Beck adapted Pfeiffer and Sutton’s approach on Oprah.com. Here are some key points:

  • Don’t substitute talk for action. We all know someone who is a” talker”; always discussing what they should do, while actually doing nothing. It’s important to create strategies and mission statements, but the most important part is implementation.
  • Write down some of your goals on a piece of paper. At the end of each day look at your list and see what you are actually accomplishing. If there are no changes, you are just talking. Take action by focusing on one item on the list at a time.
  • Don’t over plan and then obsess over each action. This can quickly lead to “analysis paralysis”. Making you unable to move forward.
  • Be clear on each step of the plan. If not sure of how to go to the next step, clarify your goals and options. Don’t rely on some magical moment to occur. The process is a balance between planning and then moving on, it’s hard not to obsess on the details, but it’s necessary to keep moving along.
  • Try to clarify what is standing between you and your goals. It may be a limiting belief or just a logistical issue. You need to find the issue and create a solution.
  • Don’t let fear override your performance. We can all become stuck on the fear, but it’s important to stay calm and focused. Don’t let your negative self-talk immobilize your creativity and productivity. Reassuring yourself often can get you through this process.

     The most important thing to remember whether you are working for a company or yourself is that change takes time. Once you have identified your “knowing-doing gap”, don’t attack it head on. Create a plan and work through the process one step at a time.

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