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Tired of Repeating Your Mistakes?

After some digging I found these 9 tips and 3 action steps to stop repeating our mistakes!

This sounds wrong, but there is nothing wrong with making mistakes.

So stop beating yourself up over it. And as I write this, I am saying it out loud, and trust me, my mouth is closest to my own ears.

Right now, I am going through a period in which I have been beating myself up over some of the mistakes that I have been making particularly the last few times. And I am sick of it.

I did a lot of soul searching and spoke to many. I also read wide. Yes, your situation is different as much as you and I are different. And yes our mistakes and their consequences are different. But, we’re a lot less different when it comes to the verb, the action, of making mistakes.

Making mistakes is one of the key ways we learn, grow and build all sorts of important qualities like persistence and resilience. We grow when we make mistakes. We stop growing when we stop making mistakes. So, mistakes serve an important part of life and for this reason, it is normal, it is to be expected, and there is nothing wrong with making mistakes.

Big mistakes are not that different. It’s just more painful to experience and recover from. And so it is true that even big mistakes are normal, sometimes unavoidable, and a painful part of life.

This is true for mistakes in our professional lives as much as our personal lives. It’s normal to make mistakes, whether at home or at the office.

But … Mistakes become a problem especially when we keep repeating the same ones. Then we aren't learning anything from it and the pain is for naught. Worst yet, repeating the same mistakes stalls any positive progress we may be making in life – again, be that in our personal or professional life.

If this sounds familiar, and if you are as tired as me of making the same mistakes and you too are ready to stop that, then join me on this journey of recovery, each in our respective little corners of the world, and consider these nine tips and action steps. I will also close with suggested reading, as always.


1. Identify the Mistakes We Repeat

I can't take action on my mistakes until I identify and acknowledge these mistakes. I must strive to be more aware of the present moment. That way, if and when I make a mistake, I will consider if this is something I keep doing. Once I have an idea of the mistakes I keep making, I can make a mental note to check myself next time, and correct them.

Until I acknowledge the problem of a repeating mistake, I cannot move forward. It’s not about beating myself up. It’s about recognizing an opportunity to grow and learn. So I will let myself grow and learn. By doing better next time. But starting now.

2. Why Does This Keep Happening?

Once I have singled out a mistake (or more) that I keep repeating, I’ll consider why this keeps happening. I won’t try to find excuses or someone to blame – not even “myself”. Instead, I’ll think long and hard to find causes. Something like this:

  • “When THIS happens, that follows.”

  • “When THIS button gets pressed, that is how I respond.”

  • “When THIS triggers, that fires.”

Cause. Effect.

Getting to the root cause, the TRIGGERS, of why I repeatedly make the same mistake is important because that will allow me to address the underlying cause. In other words, it helps me to deal with the triggers which would solve a lot about what usually follows those triggers.

3. What’s The Harm?

A great way to avoid making the same mistakes again is to carefully consider how they are harmful. Knowing how much my mistake hurts or costs others won’t necessarily help me, though. Also, a mistake is not only a mistake when it hurts others. It’s still a mistake even if no-one gets hurt.

So if I want to use the harm I cause by a mistake, to learn something, I should instead look at what my mistakes cost me. When I identify my mistakes' negative impact on myself, I will naturally feel more motivated to stop them.

This sounds extremely self-centered. And yes it is. But this is self-serving. And right now, I am looking for a shortcut to solve the problems that I cause. So unfortunately, I am very much at the center of it all. I won't get a gold star for solving the problems with a less self-absorbed mindset. Instead, everyone will be better off the quicker I get my act together.

4. Learn The Lesson

I will take the sting out of a problem by finding what it teaches me as a lesson. I will make sure that I take a lesson from each mistake I make. When it comes to recurring mistakes, the lesson should be how to identify ways to avoid making the mistake again.

That’s the lesson that is important: How to avoid the mistake next time. The pain caused, will be the “WHY” I should avoid the mistake.

I will learn from my mistakes not by fixating on all the WHYs. Instead, I will grow by focusing on the how-to-avoid-it next time. And the difference is that I will stop beating myself up over all these WHYs.

5. Make a Plan

If I struggle to avoid certain mistakes, I will make a Plan of Attack.

  • I will take the time to write down steps I can take to address the mistake.

  • I will have positive self-directed pep-talks using this as bullet points in a constructive, positive, self-talk session. All aimed at reprogramming my thinking.

This simple act will not only give me a plan to take action on, but these positive self-talks will help my unconscious mind to recognize the mistake before it happens again. That way, my corrected behavior becomes an automatic response to the trigger.

6. Change The Habits

If I keep doing the same things, I am unfortunately going to keep making the same mistakes. It might be time for me to switch things up a bit. By building positive habits (or avoiding negative ones), I will change the way I do things. Ideally, this means I will get different results, which may be enough to avoid certain recurring mistakes.

7. Address A Weaknesses

Once I have identified my recurring mistakes, I will check to see if they are caused in part by any weaknesses I have. If so, I will consider taking the steps needed to address those weaknesses. And if I can't address a weakness on my own, I will consider asking a close friend for help.

But it will have to be more than "just" a friend. I will have to find a mentor.

  • Someone that can guide me (as opposed to just tell me I do nothing wrong).

  • Someone that is on my side that can lend me a helping hand out of the pit that I sometimes dig for myself (not someone who helps me dig a deeper hole for myself).

8. Apologies Must Mean Something

If I repeatedly make the type of mistakes I have to apologize for, I will remember that an apology has to mean something. I will take time to consider how I may have harmed someone else, and when I apologize, I will do it thoughtfully and sincerely.

When I recognize the severity of my mistakes, it is going to be easier to avoid them.

9. Be Surrounded by Honesty

A great way to break the cycle of repeated mistakes is to have friends that aren't scared to tell me how it is. When I have loved ones that feel comfortable calling me out, they help me avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly. They will tell me the things that I might not want to admit to myself.

Instead of hating them for that, I will love them forever!


Here's 3 action steps that you can take. See how you can expand it on your own:


Suggested Further by Reading

Check out these gems available on Amazon. Note that Woodbridge Hypnosis earns from your qualifying purchases. And to earn from your qualifying purchase, I make a little effort to curate the list, find the image and text for your ease of browsing. I trust you find this in order. However, these books may be available at your local bookstore or library. And if not, find anything else that may be on topic!

Open the list to find out more about each. Click the link to buy it on Amazon.

1. You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake

Discover nine common business decision-making traps -- and learn practical tools for avoiding them -- in this "masterful," research-based guide from a professor of strategic thinking. (Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow)

We all make decisions all the time. It's so natural that we hardly stop to think about it. Yet even the smartest and most experienced among us make frequent and predictable errors. So, what makes a good decision? Should we trust our intuitions, and if so, when? How can we avoid being tripped up by cognitive biases when we are not even aware of them?

In You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake!, strategy professor and management consultant Olivier Sibony draws on dozens of fascinating and engaging case studies to show how cognitive biases routinely lead all of us -- including even the most renowned business titans -- into nine common decision-making traps. But instead of rehashing the same old "debiasing" techniques that fail managers time and again, Sibony explains that the best way to avoid the pitfalls of cognitive bias is to craft an effective decision-making architecture in your organization -- a system of techniques and processes that leverage collective intelligence to help leaders make the best decisions possible -- and provides 40 concrete methods for doing so.

Distinctive in the clarity and practicality of its message, You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake! distills the latest developments in behavioral economics and cognitive psychology into actionable tools for making smart, effective decisions in business and beyond.

2. Past Present: How to Stop Making the Same Relationship Mistakes

3. Why Can't I Get What I Want?: How to Stop Making the Same Old Mistakes

4. Thinking, Fast and Slow

5. Why We Make Mistakes


These are small action steps that you can start in your life today. I am very passionate about our innate ability to change in small ways. We hate change, but we all want transformation. Check out my e-Book, Transformation, that you can buy here.

Also check out the MicroHabits book, but start here for a quick introduction: 15 Uncommon MicroHabits. Welcome to the MicroHabits Club!

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