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How You’re Destroying Your Growth and What to Do Instead

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Want to destroy all potential for your personal growth with one sentence? Here it is: That won’t work for me because…

As a former personal finance blogger and now as a productivity coach, I’ve seen this one sentence keep people from making progress on their goals over and over again. Even if you haven’t said it out loud, you’ve probably thought it. I know I have! 

The problem with this little sentence is that it instantly puts you on the defensive, fighting against change, trying to poke holes in any possible solution. Yes, your life is unique and most advice won’t work for you. But when you look for reasons why it won’t work, you miss out on what you could learn and apply. 

So the next time you’re reading a personal development book, taking an online course, looking for help on Pinterest, or listening to a TedTalk, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. How can I make this work for me?

Your brain likes to be busy with whatever problems you give it. Instead of asking your brain to come up with reasons why something won’t work for you, set your brain to work on figuring out how you can make something work for you. 

Maybe your irregular schedule doesn’t allow you to follow the consistent daily exercise routine recommended by your trainer. Don’t dismiss the advice completely. How can you make it work for you? Think of it as customizing what you learn to support your success. 

2. What part can I take from this advice and apply to my life?

You might not be able to apply 100% of what you learn, but you could take bits and pieces to apply in your life. Imagine you’re taking a course on Pinterest marketing strategy but it’s geared more toward helping food bloggers and you have a service based business. Some of the strategies taught aren’t going to work for you. That doesn’t mean the whole course is a waste of time and money. What parts of the course can you apply to your marketing strategy? If you’re always on the lookout for nuggets of information that you can apply, you’re going to keep growing and moving forward.

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” – Stephen Covey

3. If I could make this work for me, what would that look like?

Let’s just imagine that what you’re learning could work for you. What would that look like? Sometimes we get so stuck in our current habits and routines that we think that the way we do things is permanent. Asking this question can help you reevaluate and see your life from a new perspective. 

Maybe the advice that your morning routine should include exercise, meditation, and 20 minutes of reading sounds amazing but impossible. You’ve got multiple reasons why that won’t work for you. But imagine for a minute that you could make it work for you. What would that look like? 

Maybe you would need to wake up earlier, rework your childcare support, go to bed earlier, or go into work later. Now you may not want to do some or all of those things to create that new morning routine, but by imagining what it would look like, you stretch your mind into seeing more options for your life. This puts you in control of deciding what you do and don’t want to do instead of feeling stuck in your current circumstance. 

Anytime you start thinking “That won’t work for me because…” you shut yourself off from all possible growth and learning. You miss out on the little nuggets of goodness that you could apply to your life. 

Instead, ask yourself these three questions:

  • How can I make this work for me?
  • What part can I take from this advice and apply to my life?
  • If I could make this work for me, what would that look like?

These three questions will set your brain to work on figuring out what you can apply and stretch you to see more options available to you. 

Christine White is a work-life balance coach for entrepreneurs and the creator of the Check-Boxes Planning System. She helps online entrepreneurs grow freedom-giving businesses while enjoying their beautiful lives. You can join her monthly coaching membership via her website.

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