Negative Target Fixation – Do You Have It?


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You don’t love blogging the same way you used to.

Sure, it is hard work and it’s not always like dancing on the roses, but you are making it harder than what it is.

Instead of visualizing the success and happiness, you are falling into negative thinking, like: “I won’t succeed, because I’m good enough,” “Why should anyone listen to me and what I have to say,” or “Those other bloggers are ahead of the game, so it’s useless to continue.”

Ok, so maybe you have a bad day when you are thinking like this? Or if your mindset has been like this for some time, then I advise you to stop right now!

And no, not your blogging buy your negative thoughts, because they are ruining your every effort to become a successful blogger.

Negative target fixation

Have you ever heard about negative target fixation and what it means? If you haven’t then that that’s OK. In fact, I just learned the term myself just recently.

What it means is that when you focus on something negative, you’ll going to get it – even if you don’t want it. And let me quote Wikipedia for a perfect example of this:

“A motorcycle or bicycle will tend to go where the rider is looking; if the rider is overly focused on an obstacle, the cycle can collide with that object simply because of the rider’s focus on it, even though the rider is ostensibly trying to avoid it.”

The same thing is in your blogging: you are getting what you focus on. If you focus on diminishing your results or thinking that you are not going to make, then sure, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Now, the question goes: Why would you want to focus on negative instead of positive? Is there a rationale behind this thinking?

The fear of failure

Your negative mindset towards blogging can be tracked down to two things: lack of self-confidence and fear.

And before you start saying that “I’m not afraid of anything” or “there is nothing wrong with my self-confidence,” listen to me for a minute anyway.

The thing is that everyone has doubts, lack of confidence (at least times) and fear too, no matter how experienced blogger you have.

If you have just started out blogging, your fear is that no-one is listening to you (no visits to your blog). If you are a full-time blogger doing a product launch, your fear may be that no-one is going to buy your product and you are facing a financial disaster.

On whatever level you are, there is always going to be issues with self-confidence and there is always going to be fear, but how much you focus on them is going to make a difference in the long run.

This fear can be in just not believing in yourself. You are afraid that you’ll fail or that if the success comes to you, you won’t know how to handle it (which can lead you thinking that you’ll screw up somehow and you’ll still fail).

If you keep thinking these thoughts, then sure, blogging can become too hard. It’s raw, hard work anyways, but if your mind is focusing on the negative, you are making it double-hard – just for nothing.

A simple journal and what it can do for you

We need a pat on our backs every now and then. We need someone telling us that “you’re actually a really good guy” or “in fact, you are doing great already.”

Well, what if no-one is saying those things to you when you most need it? Who is going to encourage you or making your feel better?

It’s going to be you!

Let me explain what I mean. So, even though it’s nice to get compliments every now and then, you can’t really control them and when they are given. If you are feeling bad right now, having a complement and self-confidence boosting comment is not going to help you if it occurs in 6 months from now.

So how to get instant compliments – right now when you need them?

You start writing a gratitude journal from this day on. Start putting down all the blogging victories that you had and all the things you felt grateful of. Eventually you have a book full of positive memories that you can get back to as soon as you start to dwell in negative feelings.

When you see what you have already achieved – no matter how big or small it is – you are going to feel good and you remember that you aren’t that bad after all.

Like I mentioned, we all need a pat on our backs every now and then and this is the way to get those “pats” on-demands, whenever we need them.

Get rid of negativity and take action!

Negativity has no place in your thoughts and you can take these steps to move closer to your goals:

1. You’ll have to start from somewhere. First, of all, we have all started from somewhere – whether it’s you who have just started blogging or someone who is making 6-figures per year.

It’s helpful to remember that you keep this in mind, if you are putting yourself down unnecessarily.

2. Others have failed too. Another important lesson to remember is that you others have failed too. But instead of just dwelling on the past, they learn from them and move on.

The fact is that failing on something is the best teacher and while we are not trying to fail on purpose, it happens to everyone – no matter on which level of blogging you are.

3. Remember your past successes. Start a gratitude journal. Make a habit of writing it 5 minutes per day, by listing the good things that occurred to you.

You could be writing things like:

  • Someone gave me a positive comment on my post
  • I was able to help other blogger promoting his/her posts
  • I made my first dollar online

This is very simple stuff, but yet very effective. And what matters the most is that these experiences are your personal ones – not someone else’s. You made them happen and you deserve to be reminded on those positive things on a frequent basis.

4. Focus on the positive. When you keep making notes of positive things, you’ll start to appreciate more what you have achieved.

No matter if you are not that 6-figure blogger yet, knowing that you have done good things will help you when you start to feel down.

This positive feeling helps you to take action in the future too and you are not going to crash like the motorcyclist, who is focusing on the obstacle.

Instead, you can now get past the obstacles unhurt and you can keep on going strong.


By remembering all the small victories you had in blogging and writing them down, helps you to deal with obstacles later on your blogging path.

Focusing on negative things is useless and counter-productive: they just make your blogging journey harder than what it is.

Make a switch from negative views to positive by having a gratitude journal. Write down your successes and get back to that journal as soon as you need some “mental” pat on the back.

When you remember what you have already achieved and appreciate it, you’ll see your future a bit more positive than before.

Over to you: How do you handle obstacles in blogging? How do you make sure you are not paralyzed after failing – and start taking action again?

Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to improve your blogging productivity, grab his free e-book, 61 Ways for Supercharging Blogging Productivity.

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12 Responses to “Negative Target Fixation – Do You Have It?”

  • Timo Kiander

    @Dean: Sure, it’s easy to default to negative.

    However, try having a gratitude journal and see if it helps you out!


  • Dean Saliba

    This is me all over! I need to stop with the negative and start thinking positive, the problem is it is easier said than done. 🙂

  • Timo Kiander

    @ Tania: Sure, give it a try and see what kind of difference it makes!


  • Timo Kiander

    @Dave: You are welcome! Yes, I can understand your view. I have had them myself. Then again, the more I postponed, the later it took for me to get the results I wanted

    @Anne: The fact is that many people default to negative things. Not all, but many, especially when things won’t go as planned. And when they turn out to negative, they are more likely to quit (before they even started)

    @Iman: Yes, it’s a process. One should focus on the present and make it enjoyable enough. That way he/she is eventually able to reach his/her goals.

    @Mikka: Sure, you can also focus on the great stuff you have, it works too. The most important part is to understand the value of your past victories and see that you ain’t that bad after all.

    @Ehsan: Yes, the money aspect is not the best to start with. It will come eventually, but it shouldn’t be the main point to begin with.

  • Timo Kiander

    Hi Slavko!

    Yes, you are correct.

    Blogging requires commitment too. It’s a long journey and you just have to be willing to work hard – even if you don’t haven’t got the payback yet.


  • Tania Belkin

    Great post! Great idea, to highlight all the positive things and to be grateful. I have been looking over my victory list, but it was not related to blogging. From now on, I will adapt this strategy. Thanks.

  • Ehsan Ullah

    Great Timo, I’ve written a post similar to this few days ago. I think most of the bloggers aren’t sticking up for even few weeks is that they want money overnight, And like Slavko stated that they aren’t ready to spent anything. Blogging is what needs not only hard work and effort, but also a small investment too like all other businesses.

    I agree with your point on a blogger will get what they focus on, so all depends on their focus. I have seen almosy 95% of newbies enters in blogging just for the sake of money and they only focus on earning money, so they take themselves on wrong path.

  • Mikka

    I absolutely agree with you Timo.

    It’s very easy for all of us to see only the negative things. It’s much easier than to see the good side of things…

    And with the news and the morose environment we live in it’s definitely not becoming easier.

    But it’s an effort everyone should do on a daily basis. The gratitude journal is an excellent way to reschedule your thoughts.

    It’s good to write it down but even if you just concentrate every morning and every evening on what you’re thankful for, it also works.

    @Slavko: Your so right it really is a problem of comitment and of self-discipline. If you decide to do something, just do it.

    I also think that a big issue is that most bloggers don’t consider their activity like a business but more like a hobby. It was the same for me until I decided that my online business will be my next full time job! And I’m on my way…

    What would be your advice to help people to focus on their goals and to not quit?

  • Iman

    If they do not get the expected results from blogging, it’s easy to think negative and tend to give up. Fail to reach a target that always happens to most people. Thus in the case of blogging.

    Success is not a straight up road, but the road is not smooth. Make sure to has a strong vision and set goals in terms of blogging, and you see any obstacles as challenge to be overcome. To be successful in blogging is a process.

  • Anne

    Hi.i can’t agree with what you say because human being are living in the sociaty.If we want to devote ourselves to our jobs or show our abilities making our dream come true ,we should try and make mistakes so that improwing our own ability .everyone will be a foolish ,it is unnecessary for us to feel negitive.what we should is to be our best.just make it !

  • Dave in Belize

    Thanks for this, I’m really struggling on getting started on an info product that I already know my list wants….. it’s really weird how we put up these mental road blocks!

  • Slavko Desik

    Hi Timo, glad seeing you here!
    A great article too.

    The biggest reason for bloggers not being successful is the lack of enthusiasm and passion for what they do somewhat later into the game. We all start all fired up and excited at the very beginning, but many of us decide to quit right before progress comes along.

    People are not used to focusing on something as long as they are not getting any payback. And blogging is, like many other businesses really, an investment. Waiting game to an extent. The best part is that you are getting better each and every day.
    However, to my disappointment there is a bigger part of bloggers who quit too early.

    There are two things that I consider to be the reason. One is, just like you said, focusing on all the negative stuff, thus limiting our potential and our creative thinking. And the other is not being committed enough.
    The first reason is explained perfectly into this article, I cannot add more.
    As for the second one, there is something we all have to realize. Investing in blogging means being ready to go all the way. Not halfheartedly, not for just two or three months. Even if things turn out great from the very start, we still have to continue, to dedicate ourselves, to commit to excellence. And that is another thing- blogging is something not that many people do successfully, so we have to become excellent in what we do, unique and refined with what we are offering to our readers.

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