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3 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Goals

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3 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Goals

Have you ever wondered what differentiates people who reach most of their goals from those who fail?

A study of Harvard MBA graduates showed that the 3 percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent.

Let’s face it. Life is different as an adult. Back in the days when you were younger, you only had yourself to worry about and free-time actually existed, leaving plenty of opportunities to dream up and accomplish any goal that you wanted. But after life started getting crazy, you may have realized that goal accomplishments are few and far between.

It is not that you have stopped setting goals or stopped trying to achieve great things. Unfortunately, as you start having less and less free-time to focus on goals, you likely have made a few mistakes that have been killing your goals. And perhaps you forgot a few essential components that are required for establishing those goals.

 

1. Setting vague goals

The most obvious mistake that most people make with goals is that they are too vague. The clearest example of how people make this mistake is when they set a goal to reduce debt. This is a great goal for everyone to have but many fail to accomplish it. In fact, they often end up inadvertently increasing debt because of not being specific enough when making the goal.

Reducing debt is great, but most people never specify what debt they want to reduce. They don’t design a plan on how to do it. They never set a timeline and they never give themselves a measureable way to determine success.

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” – Louis Pasteur

Making these mistakes not only kills your goals, but it can kill your wallet. Instead of making these mistakes when you establish your goals, be sure to be more clear about what you plan to do. Specify a plan of attack and prioritize small individual goals rather than one single, large one.

Give yourself a time by which your goal needs to be completed. This will provide a clearly defined approach to meeting whichever goal you desire. In the example of a goal to reduce debt, establishing a specific debt that needs to be paid and being able to measure success by the completion of one outstanding balance at a time allows you to systematically progress until all balances of the final goal have been reached.

In order to be certain that you are not setting goals that are too vague, you should answer the following questions about your goals to be certain you have a plan that can be followed and successfully achieved:

  • What specific component of my overall goal am I trying to achieve next?
  • How am I going to achieve this goal, meaning, what is my plan?
  • When should my goal be achieved?
  • How will I know when my goal has been achieved?

 

2. Not having accountability

Another goal killing mistake that a lot of people make is that they are not holding themselves accountable for their goals. For a lot of people, the goals that are easiest to achieve all have one thing in common – friends and family know about them. As an example, if you plan to return to school to complete a degree, your friends and family members are likely to know about this. Returning to school as an adult can be extremely stressful and may result in frequent thoughts of giving up. But if your friends and family know that you are trying to accomplish something to better yourself, you will likely have extra support to complete that goal successfully.

Going back to the debt reduction example, if this is not something that you are willing to share with your friends and family, you must make sure that you keep yourself accountable. You can do this by maintaining a spreadsheet on your desktop that can track payment progress and serve as daily motivation and a friendly reminder.

Goals

3. Setting unrealistic goals

Another huge goal killing mistake that people make is setting goals that are too ambitious and unrealistic. It’s great to dream big, but unrealistic goals could set you up for failure.

Goals that seem like they will be too difficult often never get started because of lack of enthusiasm or desire. These goals keep getting pushed back until they eventually are forgotten. Nevertheless, goals that are too easy are not the better alternative. These types of goals also remain incomplete because of a lack of enthusiasm to begin. If you know you can do something with ease, there will be no surprise or sense of accomplishment as a reward. Therefore, there is no incentive to begin.

Many times people will set one huge goal and get frustrated that they have not achieved it in the timeline in which they had hoped. In order to avoid getting caught in this goal-making trap, you should make smaller, precise goals rather than one large one that will encompass many components. This allows for more careful planning and more opportunities to track your progress.

As an example, imagine you set a goal to thoroughly clean your entire house and you want to have it done in one weekend. While this is an excellent goal, you should not just leave your goal planning in this stage because you may become very disappointed when you cannot achieve this timeline. Instead, you should set a number of mini goals that you know can be completed in a set amount of time. After careful planning, you may realize that you can only complete 1 or 2 rooms per day. As a result, you may need more than one weekend to accomplish your goal. However, as each weekend passes, you will be able to track your progress toward the completion of the overall goal with each mini accomplishment.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

If you have been having trouble accomplishing your goals, be sure to always consider the common mistakes that kill your goals and do your best to avoid making them.

  • Don’t forget to write down your goals.
  • Do not set vague goals. It is always best to be as specific as possible.
  • Do not forget about keeping yourself accountable.
  • Make sure you have friends and family members who will support you in your goals.
  • If you prefer keeping your goals quiet, set up a daily reminder and self-motivation plan.
  • Do not set unrealistic goals. Goals that are too unreasonable will certainly never be met while goals that are too easy are likely to be forgotten.
I hope you are able to find my article useful in your life. Please comment below!

George Meszaros is a serial entrepreneur and the cofounder of Success Harbor, a business hub dedicated to provide advice for small business owners and startups through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also cofounder of Webene, a website design and marketing company.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Fab Single Mom

    Jun 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Great post. It is absolutely true that when your friends and family know you are more likely to follow up on what you said you will do.
    I love your last point and that is very hard sometimes. They tell us to dream big but then we have to decide where big is crossing the border of not realistic.
    Thanks for the post.

  2. Robb Mann

    Jun 17, 2015 at 10:40 am

    George,
    I can so relate to these goal killers! It seems that all three are found together most times doesn’t it? Simultaneously we really want this amazing result; like your house cleaning example (only we want it done right now!), we’re not sure where to begin (and really don’t give it much thought), and we have no pressure on us to get started right now (Your extremely organized friends aren’t planning to stop by anytime soon). We just know we want it, really, really bad! It’s almost as if we actually only want to want it! Maybe that is our goal in these cases, to want it. This strong desire feels so much like a goal, but really it’s just a powerful emotion.

    So I say, if you find yourself in this situation where you REALLY want something and don’t get started on it for… MONTHS, then restate it as a new goal. Here it is: Goal: To INTENSELY desire to clean the house, right now, as if my organized friends were stopping over today. Now, mark it off as DONE. Boom! Feel the win?

    Ok, now a new goal. find five things that you can put away, throw away, or give away. Today… When you get to 5 check it off! Set the same for tomorrow. And so on. Write the daily goal down, and check it off when done.

    If we make the process our goal, we can feel the win earlier and more often.

    Thank you again George, very good stuff! Keep up the great work, it’s inspiring!

    Robb Mann

  3. Alex

    Jun 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I really agree with what you said about setting unrealistic goals. I see and hear of people all the time who set out to increase their salary by 100% every month. When it doesn’t happen, they give up. The key is to increase your salary by 10%, and then another 10% after that, and so on. Setting unrealistic goals just sets you up for failure and disappointment. Patience + realistic goals = success. Nice article!

    -Alex

  4. Chamaka W. Ranasinghe

    Jun 15, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Very specific about how to set a goal and a wonderful description of how to achieve it. Great article! Thank you so much.

  5. Jamelle Sanders

    Jun 15, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Great advice! Clearly defined goals greatly improve the odds of success.

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Life

3 Ways You Can Track Your Habits to Make Significant Improvements in Life

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Do you feel sick and tired of all the generic advice on success out there? It’s always the same things. Read more, write more, believe in yourself, eat healthy, go to the gym, love your life and your wife. From time to time, all of the articles seemed like they were written by someone who has never experienced real life or any of the struggles they tend to write about.

It’s like getting advice from an alien. But nobody ever writes on the details of the struggle. Because they don’t know it. To be able to know and understand the struggle, you need to experience it. To live something day in and day out and experience it viscerally means to know something and have a grasp of it.

It is as Walt Whitman said it: “I do not ask the wounded person how he feels. . . . I myself become the wounded person.” I went through years of pain to learn how to build habits. I didn’t only read books about it (and yes, books are important), but I lived through it.

Because I know that theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. I had to live it through to be able to give any advice on it.

I did go through the pain and created my habit building system. What I noticed during the process of building my habits was that it can be challenging to track them. Nobody was telling us how to do it, because that’s something you learn when you go through the process.

Here are the three different ways you can track your habits:

1. Task done

The way you track this type of habit is by marking if you did your task. By that, I mean “I am going to vacuum the room” and you mark it done/not done or 1/0 in your habit tracker. This way of tracking works the best when you don’t know how much time a task will take and you just track if you did or didn’t do the task.

I have the same for my writing habit. My daily habit is “Write 500 words.” So when I do the task, I immediately open my habit tracker and mark it done. I do this by writing in the tracker the number of words I wrote that day (I don’t count social media or texting or things like this- only writing as in pure writing).

This is one of the easiest ways you can track your habit. But if you have a tight schedule, a different way of tracking might be better and this is what I mean.

“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” – Benjamin Franklin

2. Time Allocated

Let’s say that you have only 30 minutes for yourself in the morning before the kids wake up. What you do in those 30 minutes counts and that is the second way of tracking your habits.

A great question to ask yourself is “How much time did I spend today on a certain habit?”

For example, let’s take the habit I’m developing of the writing 500 words daily. I try to make “write for 20 minutes” a daily habit. This way of tracking your habit works the best if you have a tight schedule or you run your life on “manager time,” as Paul Graham would say it.

I use this way of tracking for my daily walking habit where I “walk for 30 minutes” a day, trying to get my 10,000 steps a day count. From July 2018 up to March 2019, my average number of steps per day was 9429 and I did 2,178,120 steps. One kilometer is around 1,250 steps which means I walked 1,742 kilometers in 8 months which is the equivalent of walking from Miami, Florida, to Washington D.C.

There is one more way of tracking your habits, and this one is the best for tasks which are hard to accurately measure.

3. Did I do my best?

How do you measure your habit of being a great dad, husband, boyfriend, or friend? You can’t just say “Phone my girlfriend every day and talk to her for 15 minutes” and call it a day. It doesn’t work like that. You can talk to your girlfriend for 2 hours straight and it won’t make you a great boyfriend. Time isn’t the issue here. It’s how we use that time.

And that’s where the third way of tracking your habits comes into play. “Did I do my best to be an awesome boyfriend, husband, father, or friend today?” And you rank yourself from 1 to 10, 1 meaning that today, you were really lousy, and 10 meaning you were an amazing boyfriend, husband, father, or friend in the world.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” – John C. Maxwell

This makes a massive difference in the lives of not just you, but people around you. It’s what Brendon Burchard would call social habits. You can’t count love, but sure as hell can you count the effort for love.

You don’t have to pick just one way or another. You can combine these different ways of tracking your habits. And yes, even though some habits work better with a particular type of tracking, that doesn’t mean that you need to adapt to it.

Experiment and try and see which one works the best for you. Use all three tracking methods if you want to. Just remember to track your habits. Because the Walt Whitman quotes, which I modified a little bit, tells us “I don’t ask a successful person how he did it…. I myself become a successful person.”

How do you track your habits to make sure you’re on the path towards succeeding? Share your advice below!

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Life

Why Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone May Be a Bad Idea

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Donald Trump famously said, “Avoid your comfort zone – it’s probably outdated anyway.” It is very good advice for people who are exceptional, but what if you are not exceptional? You probably learned in college that no matter how good you are at something, there are always other people who are better than you.

Are you humble enough to say you are not exceptional? And if so, isn’t it possible that your comfort zone is where you belong? Just because you are in your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean you don’t crave success. Champion boxers never leave their comfort zone to take part-time jobs as a typist. Consider the fact that your comfort zone is the place where you will enjoy the most success.

Why “Comfort Zone” Advice Seems So Correct

Once again, breaking out of your comfort zone may be the right thing to do if you are exceptional. It is especially true for exceptional people because breaking out of their comfort zone is often the only place where they can grow. Yet, that is not the only reason why breaking out of your comfort zone seems like good advice.

The truth is that most people confuse being in a rut with being in their comfort zone. For example, the middle-aged executive who stays in his dead-end job because it is safe, rather than starting a new business selling parachute lessons, is not staying in his comfort zone, he is sticking with his rut. If people tell the middle-aged executive to get out of his comfort zone, they actually mean he should get out of his rut.

However, take the same middle-aged executive who is well respected at work, whose job is not a dead-end one, whose social life thrives because of his job, who’s bringing up children, investing, and who is healthy because of his job. If this same person were to leave his job to start a parachute training company, he would be leaving his comfort zone and most probably be making a great mistake.

Isn’t the Grass Always Greener On The Other Side?

Taking the previous example, what if the middle-aged executive left his job and his parachute training company offered him all the same things his old job offered him except better? Isn’t it always a good idea to try and fail rather than to never try at all?

The question and sentiment is fine, but it is not real life. Ask a person who has tried everything and ask a person who tried a bunch of stuff and then found something he/she enjoyed, and ask which person is happiest. Just because you “Didn’t” try something doesn’t mean you are missing out.

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side!” – Ricky Gervais

What About People Who Broke Out of Their Comfort Zone?

There is an old “Will & Grace” episode from 2002 called, “Went to a Garden Potty.” In it an old man says a line that goes, “I’m Stan’s old partner. We started the mattress store together, then he wanted to branch out into other businesses but I said, no I’ll just not take any chances, so now I’ve got the one little store and he’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The mattress store story sounds familiar doesn’t it? You have read about similar stories in motivational books, but what you rarely read about are people who didn’t take risks and still became successful millionaires. A book called, “The Millionaire Next Door” addresses this discrepancy by featuring people who became millionaires by selling caravans and by being dentists. It shows how people who work the same job their entire lives are not schmucks, and that their unexciting success stories are still success stories.

Do not confuse taking risks with being outside of your comfort zone. In the “Will & Grace” example, the character Stan felt outside of his comfort zone with just one store. Stan’s comfort zone was taking risks. Stan didn’t leave his comfort zone when he went off making millions of dollars, he entered his comfort zone in order to do it.

The people who risk it all on a penny-share company are not doing it to break out of their comfort zone, they are doing it because they feel uncomfortable if they are not taking risks.

“Unexceptional” People Can Be “Exceptionally” Successful in Their Comfort Zone

I don’t like to be out of my comfort zone, which is about a half an inch wide.” That line is a quote from Larry David, the guy who wrote “Curb your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld” and he is worth $400 million.

Stephen King was 27 when he sold his first book, and he was writing long before that. King hasn’t left his comfort zone since he was out of college, and he is worth $400 million. One could even say that Stephen King rarely leaves his comfort zone creatively since his stories almost always feature a middle aged man, and many times the middle-aged man has a creative career such as being a writer, painter, etc.

Danica Patrick, when asked how she became the best female racer in the world responded with, “I never do anything out of my comfort zone.” Does that mean this woman, who is worth $60 million, never takes risks? You would know the answer if you had ever watched her race.

Do not forget the psychological damage that repeated failure can do to a person. People who say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” have clearly never gone through a terrible time because terrible times often make you weaker.

Repeatedly trying to break out of your comfort zone, only to be kicked back and stomped into the ground (metaphorically speaking) takes its toll and will often sap your enthusiasm to keep going forwards.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

Conclusion – He Will Be Back

Have you considered that exceptional people do not have a comfort zone? Take Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose last name has found its way into every spell checker program on the planet. He was a world-class bodybuilder, a record breaking actor, married a Kennedy, and became a US governor.

Some people say he was so successful because he never became comfortable being the best at just one thing. Maybe that is the reason for his success, maybe he wasn’t trying to break from his comfort zone…maybe he was trying to find it.

What are your thoughts on being able to succeed while staying your comfort zone? Share your opinions and stories below!

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Life

Do These 3 Things Today to Live in the Moment and Have a Better Tomorrow

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People always say that life is short, but they fail to remember that while life is short compared to eternity, living is the longest task that we as humans will ever perform.

Some of us take each day as it comes and some of us carefully plan out what we desire each day to bring us. No matter how you go about it, if you’re not careful, having an unbalanced point of view as it pertains to life and how to make it better for yourself can bring more pain than it will joy.

Life is filled with decisions and the decisions you make today have the power to shift the course of your tomorrow. Life can sometimes move so quickly that it’s hard to think and act while simultaneously balancing all the roles you possess and completing all the tasks you need to complete. Nonetheless, there are ways to navigate the trenches of life so that you’re able to enjoy each day as it comes, embrace the possibilities of tomorrow and be present to experience all the moments that make you smile.

If you have a hard time slowing your mind down long enough to pause and breathe, try these three tips:

1. Before you make a decision, ask yourself “why.”

According to Psychology experts, one of the easiest steps you can take right now on your journey of de-stressing is to ask yourself hard questions. Sometimes you think, act and speak before you have time to process what is happening inside of you and around you. Knowing this. It could be your lack of intention that’s the problem.

As a part of your self-awareness journey, start asking yourself why you are the way you are, why you think the things you think and why you do the things you do before you take action. While an adrenaline rush helps kick you into gear to take action, you want to make sure any action you take aligns with your personal goals.

Self-awareness allows people to recognize what things they do best so they can then go hard on those aspects of their life. It also helps you accept your weaknesses. – Gary Vaynerchuk

2. Instead of planning for the long game, just plan for tomorrow

Worry is the thief of time and joy. If you look at your track record of life events, you may notice that many of the things that caused you the most stress and worry never came to pass. When you think about the direction you want your life to go in, don’t stress yourself out wondering what the next five years will look like. Take a moment to breathe, look around you and relax.

When you focus on taking life one day at a time, you’ll have more energy to think logically and make the decisions that lead to both short and long-term gains. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you live a happy life? One moment at a time.

3. Fight the urge to prove yourself

We live in a society that forces us to try to convince others of our happiness. According to studies, phones are necessary evils. It seems like you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. And for most of us, our phones play such a large role in our day to day that we start and end the day looking at the small screen.

The last time you enjoyed a moment of peace and tranquility, it’s likely that you snapped a picture of your surroundings so you could show the world just how much you enjoyed that moment.

Here is the good news, you don’t have to prove to anyone that you are happy or that you enjoy your life. Keep some moments to yourself. Protect your peace and your space. Don’t let the urge of sharing your journey cause you to be distracted from living in the moment. Don’t miss a moment in an attempt to capture the moment. Just be.

“It’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness.” – Richard Branson

Life is what you make of it. You have more control than you know. Life gets so much better when you acknowledge the opportunities instead of the obstacles that come your way. Before you feel an ounce of anxiety as a result of a stressor coming your way, ask yourself “why” you feel the way you do, think for the moment and not for your life and remember that you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.

How do you relax with so many distractions in the world? Share your ideas with everyone below!

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Life

Follow These 5 Steps to Radically Transform Your Negative Mindset

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Struggling with a negative mindset is a very real and common problem, one that often hinders a person’s ability to grow and achieve the things in life they want. Oftentimes, it is someone’s mindset that determines their level of happiness.

What is a mindset? A mindset is the beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about your intelligence, talents, and personality, these are the basic traits of oneselves. A mindset determines how we deal with challenges and obstacles. Which frame the running accounts in our heads and guide us on our life journey.

Experts agree there are two basic types – a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, people believe that their natural traits – intelligence, abilities, and talents are fixed from birth. In a growth mindset, people believe that they can develop their inner traits through learning and determination.

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” – Carol Dweck

Research has shown that 80% of the nearly 60,000 thoughts we have on a daily basis are negative. It also estimated that 98% of those thoughts are a repetition of yesterday. On a subconscious level, people are expecting the worst – almost all of the time. Constant repeated thought patterns turn into beliefs.

These beliefs then combine into a fixed and negative mindset. One where our inner voice is a harsh critic, a worrisome voice, and an anxious being. Luckily – we can employ parts of our brains to change other parts. We can move a fixed mindset into a growth mindset. How?

Here are five steps to radically transform your negative mindset:

Step One – Untangling your thoughts

A very powerful, proven technique for stepping back from the constant flow of thoughts is to look at them with the impartial rational mind. Generally, it is easy to spot these negative thought patterns because they are accompanied by an emotion. Recognizing the emotion tied to anxiety then gives you the power to label it for what it is. The same can be done for many other feeling patterns. These thoughts and feelings start to lose their intensity when repeatedly scrutinized by the rational mind.

Step Two – Examine your beliefs

Using the perspective gained in step one, you can begin to check your belief systems. The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging: “This means I’m a loser,”  “I am a better person than they are,” “I am not a good wife and mother,” “My partner is selfish.” Etc.

The key is adopting a growth mindset. A growth mindset is one where it is possible to learn and begin to cultivate positive beliefs. For example – when you find yourself being hard on yourself, consciously change it to something more positive – like when you have failed at something and the negative inner voice is yelling “see – you suck. I knew you’d fail” (a fixed view). Changing this tone to one that is more forgiving to yourself – “its ok – you’re only human. Learn from this mistake and you’ll do much better next time” (a growth view).

Step Three – Balance Your Risk-Averse fears

Being overly risk-averse in life leads to focusing on catastrophic possibilities. In a fixed mindset,  these fears are set in place and the belief is that they cannot be changed. Which results in a human being that is unable to experience life because of fearfulness. Fears can be overcome by setting goals and making detailed plans to accomplish them. Write the specific goals and plans down on paper. If you have your plan written down on paper than you know what you have to do and will not negotiate with your fears when making decisions.

Step Four – Adopt the Habit of Daily Mindfulness Meditation Practice

The practice of mindfulness meditation has been around for 2500+ years. It is what Buddha practiced and is at the heart of many religions. Meditation can be used to see the bigger picture and not focus on the implications of now. More so, mindfulness meditation can delve into each piece of it – old fears, habitual self-loathing, shying away from challenges and eliminate these pains.

What is meditation anyway? At the core, it is the mind’s ability to look inward. As discussed above – it can look at the thoughts, emotions, beliefs, fears, hopes, attraction, and avoidance of oneself. It can gradually quiet the negative internal monologue. Research shows that meditation increases a sense of happiness and contentment. Mediation makes space for growth by eliminating underlying stress, depression, and anxiety.

“Your mind is a powerful thing. When you filter it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.” – Buddha

Step Five – Shape Your Mindset With Visions and Goals

Every person has hopes and dreams that they want to accomplish. However, often we feel powerless to do so. By setting specific goals and detailed plans to accomplish them, you can start to break free from negativity. Break down the goals into smaller achievable steps. Allow every achievement along your plan to bring a sense of accomplishment and self worth.

The best way to begin to put it all together is to have faith that you can break out of a negative mindset. Gain an understanding of how your current mindset is fixed and negative through mindful meditation. From this insight and understanding, you can then set achievable goals of positive growth and use the same mindfulness to measure your success.

Adopt these five steps and through determination and consistent practice, you will find your mindset transformed in ways you never thought possible. Remember, there is always space for failure. Without failure there is no growth.

Do not fall back into the trap of negative thinking if you do not achieve what you want in one day. Humans are imperfect beings, and it is not possible to reprogram your brain within a day or a week. Some negativity will linger for awhile and that is totally normal. What matters most is your continued effort to reprogram. Over time your mind will change, just give it time.

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