10 Tips to Stop Repeating Your Mistakes

by Personal Development coach Carmen Jacob.

There are those moments in life when you discover with stupefaction that you are going in circles, doing over and over again the same mistake: “Ah, no, not again! I was sure this time it will work.”

In this article you will find out 10 tips to stop making, again and again, the same mistake; but first, let’s talk about some of the reasons for doing it.

First, we are creatures of habit and with good enough reason. To save time and energy you are learning to do most of the things you need to do on autopilot, and the autopilot doesn’t leave room to stop and think or to reevaluate the way you are working on your goal.

Second, we find change difficult. Even when you know that changing your behavior will bring you positive results, you might still resist changing because it could seem easier to deal with a negative result that you’ve learned over time how to manage, rather than dealing with a new (positive) result that you don’t know anything about.

Third, nature is lazy and energy efficient. Nature will always search for and choose those options that are consuming the least amount of your resources even when this means to compromise the result.

Fourth, we are afraid of being successful. Maybe you will be surprised to find out how many people are, unconsciously, sabotaging themselves out of fear of success.

Fifth, we are attributing most failures to the way we are as people, rather than recognizing the fact that if you don’t get the result you want/expect it’s due to the way of doing things and not a reflection of who you are as a person.

Now, going further, these are the 10 tips I have for you today.

1. Free yourself from judging yourself

when you notice that you’ve made the same mistake again.

Start from the premise that you are doing the best you know how at that moment in time.

When it happens to make the same mistake over and over again, most probably you didn’t develop a new way of doing things. Or, if you did, you don’t trust the new plan of action and you tend to go back to your old ways because: “With [this one] I’m getting at least [that]. It is better than nothing.”

Free yourself from judging yourself. Take the feedback of your actions and behaviors as the result of the way you are doing things and the plan you’re using and not an indication of your character and the value of who you are as a person.

Analyze your results with curiosity:

  • “How could have I done better?”
  • “What is missing for me to be successful next time?”
  • “What are the causes, reasons or feelings that made me choose a faulty plan again?”
  • “What do I need to improve right away? What do I need to improve over time?”
  • “What are the patterns that are emerging from these mistakes that I’m repeating?”
  • “Am I aware of the fact that I’m taking the same road over and over again and still doing it? Or, I know I’ve done it again, only after the fact?”

2. Get outside of the box

Challenge yourself to do new things, to get creative with your options and ways to do your tasks.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Yes, some of these new methods will not give a better result either, but, eventually, you will find those ways that will work for you wonderfully.

3. Find your visceral motivation to change and pursue your goals

Your visceral motivation is that type of motivation that you are feeling somewhere in your body (on the top of your chest, your gut or maybe your stomach) and comes out of your feelings and emotions, not your reasoning.

Find out the possible secondary gains for each task you have on your plan of action.

Ask yourself: “What else do I gain by accomplishing [this]?”

Ask yourself this question “what else?” And answer to it until you have no more answers to give. Many times these secondary gains are a greater motivator than your original motivation because these answers are your visceral motivation.

Example: Let’s say you want to lose weight. You start with an intellectual motivation such as:

  • you don’t like how you look,
  • you want to fit in your clothes,
  • you have health issues caused by excess weight.

Now, what else?

  • I want to be admired,
  • I want to feel normal,
  • I want my family to be proud of me,
  • I want a better job,
  • I want to feel comfortable,
  • I want to go on the holiday of my dreams,
  • I want to be better than my enemies.

And then, what else? And again “what else?”

4. Use your wisdom

Imagine that you have to help someone with a similar problem. What will be your advice?

Write down all the ideas you have and sort out what could work first, for somebody else, and second, for you. Only second for you because when you want to help someone else, you are more willing to step outside of the box, you are more flexible.

5. Steal knowledge from people you admire

and believe to achieve what you want to accomplish. Model their behavior and implement what is doable for you.

6. Don’t be afraid of success

It is possible that sometimes you are repeating the same mistake over and over again because you are afraid to be successful. Make yourself the courage to get out of the maze, to be exceptional.

7. Set for yourself the bar and standards that you can achieve

Challenging yourself with new things is about new ways to get to your desired outcome, but the standards and the bars you’re setting need to be doable.

Example: Your goal is to climb the Everest. The bar and standards will be how high you want to climb and the challenge will be the ways you get there.

8. Avoid choosing the familiar

Familiarity is comfortable. It comes with no mysteries, with no unknowns, but it is narrowing your options.

9. Listen to your internal voice and the signals that your body is giving you

When you feel that one way is the right way, but then you choose to do it how you think is right, you are in trouble because your unconscious mind has far more resources to guide you than your conscious mind.

10. Pay attention to your defensive mechanisms

The most common defensive mechanisms are denial and acting out.

First, you might refuse to acknowledge the real reason why you are making the same mistake over and over again. Therefore, you get stuck with faulty plans of action.

Second, instead of finding the cause of the unwanted result, you might get angry, and you abandon finding solutions. Which means that the next time, in the same situation, you are not wiser, you will not have a better way to do things; so, naturally you are doing things the same way again, meaning the same mistake again.

Remember that life gives you, not only the second chance, but many new chances. However, a new opportunity means nothing if you make the same mistake again.

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About the author: Carmen Jacob is a Personal Development Coach and author, offering training to help people achieve greatness and overcome difficulties. Carmen was a self-employed accountant for more than ten years before becoming a personal development author. She felt she had the calling of helping people from an early age, being the person that people came to for advice.

You can follow Carmen on Twitter @thecarmenjacob or visit her website at carmenjacob.com.

image by LTDSupport under CC0 license