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Are your goals being derailed by LIMITED THINKING?

As we begin a new year, typically people set goals or new year’s resolutions that might include being more efficient at work, building stronger relationships, or to grow in a myriad of other areas. However, do you realize that studies show that only nine percent of people that make new year’s resolutions actually achieve them? Does that bleed over into your goal setting at work?

According to Amy Morin, there are five common factors as to why resolutions don’t stick:

  • People are not ready to change.

  • There is no self-monitoring.

  • Lack of planning.

  • Overconfidence.

  • Not looking at what has to be given up.

I would add one more to the list: limited thinking. Many people believe that positive thinking will propel us towards our goals, but what about the opposite? Limited thinking can be a burden and derail our hopes and goals. It is one of several ways that we self-sabotage our success.

If you aren't sure what limited thinking is, here are nine examples. Consider each one carefully and ask yourself if you fall prey to any of them. If you engage in these thinking patterns, and they are not addressed, your success might suffer.

1. All or Nothing

This limited thinking pattern hinders your ability to see nuance. You may see yourself as either a massive success, or you are a failure. Routinely thinking like this holds us back by not allowing us to see progress or growth. It doesn't allow us to find a "middle ground" for ourselves or our relationships.

2. Focus on the Negative

Negative thinking is one of the most discussed topics in the self-help world. We all know the negative impact this type of thinking can have on our life. If you are the type of person whose mind filters all information through a negative lens, it may limit your happiness and success.

3. Overgeneralization

This thinking pattern is best described as taking a single incident and drawing broad conclusions about it. For example, you fail at something so then decide it is a waste of time to try something new, you can’t do it, and you'll never figure it out. Besides being overly negative, this thinking process isn't logical. Try to stop thinking in absolutes.

4. Mind Reading

It is impossible to read someone's mind. Even if you are highly intuitive, you can't know for sure what someone is thinking. If you are the type of person that makes quick assumptions about others or thinks you know the "real reason" they acted in a certain way, then you might be suffering from this thinking pattern.

5. Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is an idea that things are how they are, and there is no reason to change. You trust your abilities (which is great), but you never see a reason to grow or change. If you aren't growing and changing as a person, you are standing still, letting opportunities pass you by.

6. Stuck on How

This type of limited thinking is when you get too wrapped up in the idea of "how." For example, how will you ever reach your goals? While having a plan is important, sometimes we can't possibly know all the details of accomplishing something. However, you can't allow this to stop you from taking action.

7. Catastrophizing

Are you the type of person to assume the absolute worst of any situation? Does a small obstacle in your path make you think the sky is falling? If so, you are likely suffering from catastrophizing. This limited thinking pattern makes us always expect the worst. If you don't deal with it, you will be too paralyzed by fear and indecision to grow.

8. A Case of the “Shoulds”

If you ever get caught up worrying about the way things "should" be instead of how they are, you might be dealing with this limited thinking pattern. You expect the universe and other people to act according to your preconceived standards and comfort zone and cannot adapt when they don't.

9. Personalization

Not everything is about you. Did you need to hear that? If so, you might be suffering from personalization. This limited thinking pattern means you take everything personally. Not everything that happens to you is a personal slight or shortcoming. Sometimes things simply don't work out, and it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. If you suffer from this one, put a Q-tip on your desk as a reminder to Quit Taking It Personally!

If you indulge in any of these limited thinking examples, here are action steps you can take to break the habit!

1. Go through the list of limited thinking patterns. Put a quick checkmark beside any that you think you might have.

2. Now go through the list of the check-marked thinking patterns and prioritize them by how much you think they affect you. Start with number one being the most and work your way down.

3. Try to break your limited thinking patterns one at a time. Starting at the top of your list ensures you tackle the most important promptly.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

If you are looking for ways to enhance your success in 2023, check out our resources at or contact me at 912 695-1092 and let’s chat!


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