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Conquering excuses to achieve your goals

Professionals celebrating success with a high-five in an office environment.

“I don’t have enough time.”
“I don’t have enough money.”
“My family needs me.”
“I tried it before and it didn’t work.”
“I don’t know where to begin.”
“I’m too stressed out.” 
“I don’t believe I can get what I want.” 
“I’m not good/smart/talented/whatever enough.”

The biggest obstacle to achieving our goals is ourselves. 

Even when we really, really want something, we can deprioritize it in a heartbeat. We create a list of reasons why it’s not the right time or thing to do now — without giving ourselves the time and space to figure out if those are excuses or valid reasons.

As we enter the second half of the year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what we want and how to approach our endeavors.

Understand your what

As Bill Gates says, “most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year…” Let’s set ourselves up for success and focus on one major goal.

Let’s set ourselves up for success and focus on one major goal. 

Do a brain dump of all that you would love to achieve in every aspect of your life: physical and mental health, family, relationships, home, career, finances, spirituality, community, personal growth, etc.

Rank them or pick the top 2 or 3 that feel the most pressing. Then write a list of potential outcomes and benefits from having achieved that goal. Also, factor in the level of effort and complexity. Hopefully, there’s a clear winner. If not, just pick one of them based on your gut — there’s no wrong answer.

Paint the picture 

Write about your current situation and your desired situation. Both can be short, but should be in a narrative format.

Write about your current life, what you love, find challenging, who and what you care most about. 

Then write about your life with the goal achieved. And here’s the key, write it in present tense — so it feels like it’s already happened. For example, I love my new job! I work with smart and collaborative colleagues and get to work on meaningful projects. I have great work-life balance and earn enough to go on a vacation this fall.”

Read the new story often. It creates a new neural pathway for the brain to understand, see and help focus our attention and efforts.

Write microsteps 

Now that you know your what and why, write steps that you can take to make progress. You can write a comprehensive list, but it’s critical to break them into sections and create microsteps. 

For example, you might need to revamp your resume. You can start by researching resume writers or find a new template or write a list of bullets of the biggest projects you’ve completed in your current job. 

Create one action that you can take now and then once you finish that, create another. And guess what — the more actions you complete, the more you’ll want to do! 


Give yourself time and space to complete these microsteps. Block time on your calendar and be as consistent as possible. For example, you could block time on Tuesdays and Fridays for 60 minutes.

Remember to be realistic with the frequency and length of time. The right amount of time is when you enjoy doing the activities, not feeling like it’s a chore.

Let go of the when

This is by far, the most challenging part. Even if you believe 6 months is enough time to accomplish your goal, it may take longer or may take way less time than you expected. 

Fixating on a timeframe works against us and applies a lot of self-imposed pressure. The more we can enjoy the journey — approaching each step as an opportunity to learn and grow — the more likely we’ll have a smooth ride that gets us to our destination faster.

Find a buddy or two

Ask a couple of friends or colleagues if they’d like to be a part of your “journey club” (or whatever name you call it). Make it a weekly or bi-weekly check-in meeting to share updates, brainstorm ideas and support each other. Keep it short, like 30 minutes and give everyone 10 minutes. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable and to amplify your efforts and wins!

Use your toolkit

Create a menu of tactics that you can draw from when you get stuck. Look back on other goals you’ve achieved and think about what helped you overcome obstacles. Or try one of my tried and true practices.

  • Affirmations: say mantras that reinforce belief in yourself. “I’m a talented and confident leader.” “I accomplish all that I set out to do.” “I easily connect with people.” Or ones that focus on gratitude: “I’m so happy and grateful for my new resume” (great to say while you’re working on it).
  • Journaling: writing our thoughts and feelings is a powerful act. It often helps identify the core issue and releases stress — helping us to feel more empowered. Be open and curious and practice non-judgment. You can start with asking yourself the question: “what’s top of mind” or “what’s my biggest challenge” and see where you go. 
  • Meditating: try short guided meditations on YouTube. Search for “releasing stress,” “confidence,” “being fully present” meditations and pick one that piques your interest. Many of them are 10, 15 and 20 minutes, which makes it easy to start the day or fit in whenever you can take a break.
  • Going on a walk: getting outdoors and soaking in nature help ground us and give us a fresh perspective. It doesn’t have to be a long one either, it can just be a few blocks around your home.
  • Reading/watching inspirational content: read the new story you wrote, watch a Ted Talk, read a professional growth book or your favorite inspirational movie — anything that gives you a boost of positivity and energy. 
  • Therapy: if you don’t find any techniques that work well for you, then ask yourself if you’re open to talking to someone. Therapy is one of the best investments I’ve made and have seen amazing results from others who have gone through this incredibly difficult and rewarding journey.

If one of your goals is to land a job where you’ll feel fulfilled, realize your potential and get the compensation you deserve, then watch our video and book a session with one of our job strategists. We’re excited to talk about your career goals!

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