10 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating or Navigating Change

If there is a change you want to create in your life or work, it is useful to be aware of common mistakes that many people make. You can use that awareness to be proactive with putting things in place to avoid making those mistakes as you move forward. Doing that is a great way to set yourself up to succeed with the change you wish to create.  

To help you get started with that, here are:

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Change

1. Not having effective systems and procedures

Goals and action plans aren’t enough when it comes to creating change successfully. That is because change is a process and without systems and procedures to manage that process you risk progress being slower, derailed, or even not achieving the outcomes you desire at all.

Identify and implement the systems and procedures that will help you manage the change process effectively, keep you on the right track, and set you up to succeed. Review, tweak, and adapt them regularly.   

2. Not simplifying commitments and schedule

Creating change successfully requires time, effort, and focus. So, if your schedule is already packed with commitments and you are constantly busy then it is going to be very hard for you to commit the necessary time, attention, and effort to achieve the specific outcomes you desire. Simplify your commitments and schedule and put boundaries in place to protect your time.  

3. Not focusing on behaviour, habits, and emotions

When we embark on a path of change we spend a lot of time on what we need to do - external factors like goal setting and planning. But that is only half the story when it comes to creating change successfully. It is you who needs to execute the goals and plans so who you are being is just as important as what you are doing.

What I mean by that is internal factors like behaviour, habits, and emotions. These three factors drive what you do and, therefore, your results. But they are often totally overlooked when creating change.

Whenever you want to change something always consider both external and internal factors together.

Identify and foster the behaviours, habits, and emotions that will help you achieve specific results.

4. Not creating enough reserves

Creating change often requires way more reserves than you think. What I mean by reserves are things like reserves of time, money, support, mental and physical energy, planning, contingencies, etc. Identify the reserves you need and build them.    

5. Not creating a support network

Having support is invaluable when you are trying to change something in your life or work. For example, having a sounding board, accountability partner, mastermind group, mentor, or coach can help you progress faster, easier, and with fewer mistakes than trying to do it all alone. Plus, if the going gets tough having support can give motivation and morale a valuable boost. Identify the support you need and put it in place.  

6. Not learning new skills

People often launch into creating change without working out what they need to learn or what new skills they need to set themselves up to succeed. This one thing could be the difference between achieving your desired outcomes or not. Identify what you need to learn or skills you need to develop to achieve your desired outcomes.

7. Asking the wrong people for advice

Whilst it might be useful to hear the opinions and ideas of family, friends, and colleagues, you need to think about whether they are the right person to advise you on the change you are creating. For example, do they have experience of the change you want to create, or are they an expert in that field?  Do they have your best interests at heart or their own? Always ask yourself if the person you are listening to is qualified to advise you on the change you are making. Choose wisely who you listen to.

8. Not seeking expert help

It can take you weeks, months, and even years of struggle if what you are working on is something you have never done before or not in your skill set. Seeking out expert help can really speed things up, reduce mistakes, and avoid wasting time and effort going around in circles trying to figure it all out on your own.

9. Trying to change too much at once

This is a recipe for disaster, not to mention increasing stress and overwhelm. You are more likely to succeed with the changes you want to create if you phase them and pace yourself. Create a strong action plan broken down into small, manageable chunks. Step by step is the way to go!

10. Not prioritising mental and physical energy 

Creating change requires extra mental and physical energy, over and above what you need in your daily life and work. Plus, research shows that people who prioritise their health and wellbeing are more effective. As creating change depends on your personal effectiveness, neglecting this area is a big mistake. A car can’t drive to a destination if it has no fuel or is poorly maintained. Nor can you.

Create a self-care plan that increases your mental and physical energy levels.  

Use this list as a checklist to put things in place to avoid making these common mistakes and to set yourself up to succeed with the change you wish to create.

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