Are you striving for a goal but not seeing results?

Racking up small successes but not getting the big payoff?

In my face-to-face patients and in my telecoaching clients across the country, I hear stressed, puzzled, and worn-out voices that reflect two opposing ideas: the continuing desire to move ahead, and an expectation of no real gratification or reward at the end. Instead, it's a frustrating and defeating cycle of wanting – failing.

Whatever it is you hope to achieve--a raise, a trim body, a new or better relationship, more clients, improved health, etc.--you might think fear of failure is what's making it unattainable.

Surprisingly, the actual culprit may be fear of success. Fear of success is evident in those nagging negative background thoughts, quietly yet persistently sabotaging your efforts to move ahead. These notions force you to play small, effectively keeping the big wins out of reach.

To beat those sneaky success thieves, you'll need to look closely--and gently--where they hide. These exercises will help you root those fears out, give you a panoramic view of the journey that you are on, and show you how to plan for staying on course for success.

1) Be honest.
Grab a pen and paper. It's time to identify what you really, truly want to accomplish.

- List each facet of your life--friendships, career, health, family, sports, any area you care about. Leave plenty of writing space around each area for more notes later.
- Next, rank each area according to how important it is to you.
- In each area, list your goals. It's okay to dream big!

Seeing all these competing ideas in front of you should help you focus on the big picture. Unless you identify that ultimate goal, you might be avoiding or dismissing some key worries, confusion, and self-destructive thoughts or actions. Believe me, we all have them, so be courageous.

2) Be brave.
Under the goals that you listed above, write down what you imagine would be the boldest, best case scenario for each. Be specific. Here are some examples:
- to meet a soulmate who is...
- to feel and look better so I can...
- to get promoted to...
- to lose weight so...

Keeping a spotlight on those ultimate goals helps smooth the way over speed bumps like fear, worry, and uncertainty. By mapping this out on paper, you make a commitment to those goals. You also identify which crucial ones have inadvertently fallen to the bottom of the list. (Is shopping for that perfect handbag really going to bring you closer to success than spending the same time and money on some much-needed self-care?)

3) Be real, but be kind.
Look back at how you reacted in the past when you were unsuccessful with your goals. What self-talk did you use when you looked in the mirror, stepped on the scale, or reviewed your bank balance? Were they useful observations, or do you find yourself using harsh words--even insults--you wouldn't think of saying to a friend?

If self-recrimination has been your default mindset, it's time for a change. After all, what you think about yourself and your progress can determine your results.

Check that negativity. Instead, be objective about your progress by analyzing why things went wrong. Ask meaningful questions. Could it be that you didn't really want to reach that particular goal? You felt overwhelmed? You didn't feel you deserved success? You were not sure what steps to take?

Now, look at your paper again. Under the goals you jotted, write down what you think of the actions you've taken so far. Remember, this is not a self-bashing exercise, so please refrain from going there. Instead, dive a little deeper into why--and arm yourself ahead of time to meet those known challenges head-on.

Once you begin to change that same-old attitude, your journey can truly get underway. Now set your sights on the success that comes from breaking out of the wanting – failing cycle!

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta's goal is not only to relieve patients' illness and discomfort, but to help them set realistic goals for physical and mental preventative care and overall wellness. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers.