Are You Setting Yourself Up For Failure?

Are you setting yourself up for failure?

Your automatic answer to this question is likely “no!” After all, don’t we all yearn for, and go after success? We don’t like to fail.
Consciously or not, though, many of us inadvertently create situations that lead to losses rather than wins, failures rather than successes.
See if any of these sound familiar:

You put giant goals on your to-do list rather than breaking them out into smaller tasks. 

√ Redo website
√ Create new program for my clients
√ Read Moms Mean Business
All of those are worthy goals but it’s not likely that you’ll sit down and do any of them in their entirety. And because of that, we often skip them altogether because what is doable in this moment is checking emails, looking at social media, or grabbing a sandwich.
How about if you make a new rule that anything on your to-do list has to be doable?
For example, one step toward your goal of revamping your website is writing copy for the homepage. That’s something you can probably do in an hour or so. If you want to create a new program for your clients, how about asking them what they want as Step #1. Put that on your list, and I bet you’ll get it taken care of.
And, while I applaud you for wanting to read a fabulous book, something more fitting for your to-do list would be: Read one chapter in Moms Mean Business. (End of shameless self-promotion.)

You put tasks on your to-do list that you have no intention of ever really doing.


These could be things that you think you should want to accomplish. They could be tasks that someone else wants you to do. Or, they could be things that you want to do but won’t because you’re too [fill in the blank]. These types of tasks get transferred from one to-do list to another and only serve to make you feel badly about yourself.
Take another look at anything on your to-do list that’s been there awhile.
It likely either falls into the category of “too big”, in which case, see above. Or, it’s something that you aren’t likely to ever really do. Maybe it doesn’t relate to your ultimate goals. Maybe it doesn’t fit with who you are as a person. Whatever the reason, if you find that it’s something you just won’t do, choose one of the following: adapt it into something you will do, delegate it or, my favorite, delete it. Buh-bye! End of story.

You force yourself to stay at your desk even when you aren’t accomplishing anything.

When your mind is wandering or you find yourself aimlessly looking through social media or you’re suddenly shopping for floppy felt hats in the middle of your work day, step away from the computer!
You’re fooling yourself if you think being at your desk is productive time no matter what.
In fact, you’d be much more productive if you gave yourself a break. Go on a short walk. Call a friend for a quick chat. Or read that magazine article you’ve been wanting to get to. Then, when you’ve had a bit of time to reset, sit back down and get to work on a specific task from your new and improved to-do list.

You put yourself at the very bottom of your priority list.

Sometimes you’ll go through a few days when there just isn’t time to think about your welfare. You’re shoving whatever food you can find into your mouth on the way out the door to a meeting, your kids suddenly need poster board after you’ve already been to the store, and you have a big deadline looming. Fine, neglect yourself temporarily. But, as soon as you possibly can, get back on track.
You cannot have a successful business and a happy family life if you are running on empty all the time.
That’s just not a sustainable plan. There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription here, though, so you need to decide what nurturing yourself looks like.
Hint: You’ll know you aren’t hitting the mark when you are short-tempered, rushed, resentful and/or wishing everyone would just leave you the heck alone.

You don’t plan for the inevitable.

Like kids expecting dinner. Every night.
Yep, your children will be hungry around dinner time. They are also going to want lunch. And breakfast. They will even desire clean clothes, rides to soccer practice, and the aforementioned poster board for their big history project. Ignoring these inevitabilities will not make them go away. What can you do instead? Plan for them.
Make a plan for the week.
Take some time on Sunday to shop for a few meals. Ask your kids every Friday if they need anything special for the next week or create a family list so everyone who needs something specific can write it down in a known place. Have designated laundry nights when you know you’ll be around. Or, do whatever works for your family. The point is: if you have a plan, it makes life much more manageable and you end up feeling a lot more in control.
They say failure to plan is a plan to fail. That’s definitely one path to failure. Others include setting unachievable goals, setting goals that don’t really fire you up, neglecting yourself, and forcing yourself to be productive when you need a break.
Let’s all agree to say no to those and yes to things that will intentionally bring us closer to success.

What do you do to avoid failures in your work/life balance? Let us know in the comments.



Erin Baebler

Erin Baebler is the co-author of Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur. She has spent the past 10 years coaching women in transition through her company, Magnolia Workshop. Erin has written for Fast Company and Parent Map, has been featured on numerous sites and blogs, had an essay published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms, and was a contributor to Five Must Know Secrets for Today’s College Girl. She and her husband have two children and live in Seattle.

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