Have you said these?
“I’m trying to read more books.”
“I’m trying to be a better presenter at our monthly meeting.”
“I’m trying to lose weight.”
“I’m trying to listen more patiently.”
“I’m trying to understand _________.”
My blunt advice: Stop trying. Start training.
You can train yourself to read more books. Set aside the time and distractions, and read.
You can train yourself to become a better presenter. Invest in preparation and rehearsal, test run the presentation with someone who can give you feedback, and do an after-presentation review to identify areas to improve for next time.
You can train yourself to eat and exercise in a disciplined manner that will increase your fitness and drop some unhealthy fat.
You can train yourself to listen more patiently. Pay attention to what they say, and stifle your inclination to jump in. Resist saying the unhelpful and foolish things which come to mind. Process what you’ve heard so that you could re-state it back to them.
You can train yourself to understand <fill in the blank>. You don’t have to enjoy it, or agree with it. Study. Reflect. Put yourself in the other person’s situation. Ask the 5 why’s.
The problem with trying is that you’re giving yourself an automatic out. You are (subconsciously, perhaps) saying, “I am not committing.” You can rationalize every aspect of failing. You always win.
Want to be a better leader? Train. As Mark Divine says, “Do today what others won’t so you can do tomorrow what others can’t.”