It’s easy to point fingers at others when your sincere efforts aren’t met with success. The roadblocks they put up are constantly undermining your hard work – at work, at home, and in your love life. But is it really their fault . . . or have you been blind to your own contributions to your setbacks?
If any of the following scenarios hit home, you might be taking your own detours from the road to success.
You’re poised to receive a promotion that you worked hard for by putting in overtime for months, volunteering for difficult projects, and coming up with creative ideas to keep your company afloat while the competition was foundering. But just a few days before your annual review, you miss a deadline – and you find yourself unable to contribute any fresh ideas at a staff meeting. In short, you botched your promotion.
You’re about to meet your intended’s parents for the first time and, knowing how important it is to impress them, you make sure you look your best. But when you meet them, you blurt out an offensive word, manage to insult his mother’s taste in décor (“Oh! Plastic furniture covers… I didn’t know anyone did that anymore.”) or accidentally drop pasta on your lap while dining, forcing you to spend the rest of the visit with an unsightly tomato sauce stain. The parents seem offended, and now it looks like they’ll never give their blessing to your relationship.
You’ve spent the last six months working hard to lose weight. After shedding 60 pounds, you have a trim new figure – and you feel great! So when you see that your roommate brought home some decadent chocolate-nutty cookies, you sneak one. What harm could it do? But the next day, you have another. And the day after that, you grab two. The day after that, you see there are only three left in the cookie jar, so you gobble them all up. Before you know it, you’ve put on 5 pounds. At the rate you’re going, you’ll gain back all the weight that you’d worked so hard to lose – and then some.
How it happens
How could these things happen when you wanted to achieve your goals so badly? Believe it or not, it happens because you make it happen… on purpose. You want to succeed, but then you give in to self-doubt:
What if you get the job? Can you handle it?
What if his parents like you? Are you even ready for marriage?
What if you stayed slim? Isn’t it going to be too difficult to keep the weight off?
Once these thoughts filter into your mind, your fear of failure spurs you to make it impossible to take on the extra responsibilities that would come with your new title or the lifetime commitment – or the lifestyle modification of weight-loss maintenance. In short, you stand in the way of your own success.
As illogical as it sounds to do such a thing, it is exactly what many of us do, only to then bemoan our situations and wring our hands at our own undoing. So how do you prevent this from happening to you? You can start by working on your self-esteem.
Tweak your self-esteem
Are you concerned that your credentials are skimpy, due to a lack of education? You might take night courses to get that degree you’ve always wanted, and your company may even pay for your tuition. Try networking, or going to industry events. You might even volunteer for a professional organization, which will put you in direct contact with potential colleagues, and lend you insight into the inner machinations of their companies. Best of all, you’re likely to make lasting friendships.
Are you worried that you won’t be able to make your marriage last because you’re still haunted by the messy divorce of your mom and dad? Marriage counseling helps, but you should also know that your commitment to intimacy, fidelity and loyalty come from you – not your parents. If you want to make your marriage work, don’t look at it as having a fall-back position in the form of divorce. Have a heart-to-heart with your future in-laws to let them know how much meeting them meant to you, and let them know that you were so nervous, you couldn’t help but put your foot in your mouth -several times- and embarrass yourself. Ask to meet them again – perhaps for brunch at your place, so you’ll be in a more relaxed environment that you can control to some degree. If they’re as wonderful as their offspring, they’ll understand your case of the jitters.
Strategize for success
Are you fretting that you’ll never be able to eat your favorite foods again in order to stay at your ideal weight? The trick to weight maintenance is having your favorite foods occasionally by accommodating them. So if you want to have that slab of birthday cake, by all means do so – just be sure to eat fewer carbs earlier that day, and schedule some exercise as well. Remind yourself that you have only one body and it’s your job to protect it and keep it in good shape. Think how much better you feel when you’re at a healthy weight – and what it will mean to your future, in terms of longevity.
Deal with doubt
Bottom line? You have to trust yourself. The key to your success lies within you, and you need only tap into what is there to release that positive energy, which will stem the doubts that are now threatening to jeopardize your future.
Trust that this positive energy will fuel your creative power, and that the decisions you make to tackle your insecurities will liberate you from self-doubt. Envision yourself in your new position, your new marriage, your new body. Picture various scenarios that might occur, and what your victorious responses to them would be.
Think, too, about your fears. These are the obstacles you must surmount. With your positive energy brimming from your pores, think of how you – the Super You – can handle these obstacles. With these solutions clearly in mind, you can now breathe easy. You have a plan, should these issues arise.
And now that you have a firm plan in mind, there is nothing to stand in the way of your success. Good luck!
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