8 Common Habits That Are Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals

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Ellie Nieves100
Women's Leadership Speaker & Coach
June 25, 2024 at 11:59AM UTC
Successful women often talk about the importance of smart goal setting, the years that it took to reach their dream and the steps required to achieve success.  But, just as important as knowing what behaviors will lead to a successful career is understanding the behaviors that can prevent you from reaching your goals in life. 

Here are eight things that can derail your goals at work:  

1. Poor organizational skills

It often goes unsaid, but being organized can really fuel a successful career. So much of what we do in the workplace requires that we maximize our administrative resources. Poor organization will cause us to report to meetings late, miss deadlines, mismanage our expenses and not have ready-access to information we need to do our jobs effectively.
Take the time to research new systems that can help you stay organized. Whether it’s a better calendar app, a new method to track your travel expenses or a new cloud-based filing system, investing the time and energy to improve your organizational skills can really up your game at work.

2. Refusal to go the extra mile

If you’ve ever used the phrase: “It’s not in my job description,” you have effectively put a limit on your career growth opportunities. One of the qualities that managers look at when they consider whether an employee is promotion material is the employee’s willingness to take on projects outside of their usual scope of responsibilities. Women leaders who are willing to go the extra mile demonstrate a desire to grow in their roles and often acquire new skills that enhance their leadership abilities. The bottom line is if we want to achieve more, we should be willing to do more.

3. Not promoting yourself

You can do great work at your job, but if no one knows about it, you might as well be invisible. If you want to be recognized for your hard work, don’t assume that your boss knows all the hard work that goes into accomplishing your great results. You should communicate not only what you accomplished, but the hurdles that you overcame to get there. Sharing how you overcame any obstacles shows your manager how you effectively work with others, handle conflict and manage your resources to achieve your goals. These are all important leadership skills that are essential to getting ahead in your career.  

4. Limiting your awareness

It’s easy to go into work, keep your head down, clock your hours and start again the next day. But not being aware of organizational changes, how situations progress around you and how external changes are impacting your organization can be the kiss of death. A general lack of awareness at work will lead to missed opportunities for you to strategically position yourself to take your career to the next level. Keep your eyes open to how your organization is positioning itself for the future and invest in developing the skills that will keep you relevant as your organization evolves.

5. Not negotiating

Negotiation is vital to a woman's personal and professional success. When we don’t recognize the opportunities to negotiate in our careers and everyday lives, we feel short-changed. Worst of all, we leave vital resources on the table that can enhance our standard of living and the quality of our work life. Whether negotiating our everyday roles at work or negotiating a pay raise, it’s worth it for us to confidently negotiate for the resources we need to be successful in our careers and personal lives.

6. Failure to expand your network

Women who truly succeed in today's constantly changing business environment are those who engage and tap into their networks. Successful women operate on the principle that relationship building can be an opportunity to learn, evolve and excel in their careers. Failure to expand your network equates to a failure to expand your career opportunities. You can develop an effective network by approaching your network as a giver, not a taker. Share business articles, information, processes and resources that are of interest to your connections.

7. Refusing to pay it forward

Imagine: You finally achieve all the goals on your to-do-list and have reached your dreams. People are inspired by you, and now you have time to focus on other areas of your life. It's the perfect time for you to stop focusing on your own success, and start focusing on that of another person.
Whether you've hit your lifetime goal or not, it's important to support other women on your way to the top. Use what you have achieved to help other women accomplish their career goals and achieve long term progress. Whether it's committing to a monthly coffee date, helping them set up a Trello board for each personal goal or something else altogether, you'll feel incredibly fulfilled. Helping other women will help bolster your professional reputation for years to come; people already saw you as an intelligent businessperson, but now they see you as someone who gives their time to help others achieve their goals in life.

8. Not taking time for self-care

No matter what setting you work in, people need time to de-stress and relax. You don't have to have set a spiritual goal for yourself, but you should always take a step back from your work to gain perspective on how you're spending your time and the steps you're taking to reach your goals. Clear your mind with meditation, essay writing or other activities that encourage you to self-reflect. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you in the long run; when you look back on your career years later, you'll see how taking the time for self-care helped you reach your ultimate goal.
Everyone wants to accomplish their dreams. No matter what they've put on their to-do-list, everyone's worst fear is that the main obstacle to their success is themselves. With smart goal setting, you'll make progress to reach your goals in life. There's no better feeling than having an idea, making plans to achieve progress and then reaching your short term goal, followed by your long term goal. You can accomplish so much with your skills and ideas, but you need to make sure you're not standing in your own way.

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Ellie Nieves, JD, MBA, develops webinars, seminars, and coaching programs to help high achieving women show up, speak up, and step up in their careers. She is also the host of the Leadership Strategies for Women Podcast where she shares success tips to help women achieve more both personally and professionally. To learn more, go to:  www.EllieNieves.com.

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