In my work with parents, as well as my adult coaching clients, I find most arrive at my office after having tried various approaches to getting results. They may have read or researched several different methods for personal change and for getting better results at home with their kids. Many will quote books I have never read or heard of.

Yet, despite these repeated efforts and a sincere desire to improve their situation…nothing seems to work.

3 Reasons for failure…despite sincere efforts to change.

1. Consistency of Effort: The hare vs the turtle.

We all grew up reading the classic story of the hare vs the turtle. In that moral lesson, the speedy hare spasmodically moved about in a race with the turtle. His agility and speed were no match for the turtle. Yet, the turtle plodded along…and won the race as the hare slept.

While perhaps the message that ‘slow is better than fast’ is not quite right, the core idea here is that consistency of effort is key. For those who are often working to change, many approach change with a hurried, somewhat intermittent approach…always wanting the results yesterday. In reality, one approach is blended with another while yesterday’s version is abandoned. There is often a lack of simple, consistent day-to-day effort. This is the old-fashioned somewhat gritty method of deeply testing a method to see if it works. If we do something consistently for 30 days, we will know if it is working. And yes…the key here is consistency.

Take away: “What I do daily matters supremely more than what I do once in a while.’

2. Words get ahead of action: Too much talk.

When someone arrives at my office, having tried many approaches to getting results, they demonstrate great knowledge and are usually prolific at describing their failures. However, I almost always find that they enjoy talking about change…more than changing.

With kids, they keep talking when they should be taking action. With a spouse, they keep talking when they should be listening. With their habits, they keep talking to themselves rather than simply getting up and going to the gym.

IF there is repeated talk about any type of change, this becomes a substitute for action. And, as a consequence…inevitable failure.

Take away: If you’re not doing ‘it’…then stop talking about it. Do it instead.

3. Always having an excuse: “I am not responsible.’

One common characteristic that I also see comes in the sometimes subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, skirting of responsibility. Whether it’s showing up on time, failing to get to the gym, over-reacting emotionally, or even simply abandoning a game plan, those who struggle often have a plethora of refined excuses. There is always a reason ‘why they didn’t honor their commitments.

Unless I realize that ‘I am responsible’ then, I have no path to personal change and development. I can’t blame others, the situation, or my children. My choices are my responsibility. End of story.

Now, having said that, many of us do not have the tools to bring about change. We don’t know how to change our thoughts, our habits, or how to improve a child’s negative patterns.

Yet once we realize that we are responsible, we will find a way. We will seek out a solution. We will find a path to a better life.

Take away: Real change, real improvements are available only when I realize I am responsible.

If you see any of these in your life, please know that success is readily available to you with a simple shift. Turn to the ‘takeaways’ mentioned above…and consume them daily until they are a part of you. This will ensure that life flows to a better place for you and your family.