8 Things Holding You Back From Achieving Your Goals

Whether your goal is to get healthier, create a business, or payoff debt it’s easy to get stuck on the road to successfully achieving goals. If you’ve found yourself at a stand still on the path to success don’t throw in the towel just yet. There’s a fine art to achieving that goal you’ve set for yourself- an art that might actually be easier than you’d expect. Goal setting takes more than strategic planning and hard work. It’s going to take implementing some new habits and mindset shifts to stay on track and successfully achieve those goals.

When we’re deep into the process of goal setting it’s easy to create tunnel vision surrounding that goal. It can be hard for us to see certain areas or beliefs that might actually be holding us back from finding success. Taking a deeper look at your process and asking yourself a few mindful questions can really trigger a boost if you’ve been feeling stuck. Here are eight questions to reflect on that can help enhance the success of achieving your goals.

Is Fear Holding You Back?

Fear is one of the top things that holds us back from achieving what we really want in life. If you’ve found yourself to be procrastinating when it comes to getting things done you might be suppressing some fear around your goals. While procrastination can be due to many other things, it’s important to reflect on the source of this procrastination.

Let’s look into where this fear might be coming from. Stepping out of your comfort zone to make big changes in your life can be scary. It’s easy to fear what others might think. Are you worried others might judge you for trying to make these changes in life? Maybe your worried you’ll fail. The fear of failure and judgement of others is a very common factor in the procrastination of achieving goals.

It’s important to remember that others often place judgement when they are jealous or unhappy with their own decisions in life. But the truth is there are probably far less people judging you than you think. We tend to create this internal audience in our minds surrounding big changes in life. That audience is created from limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves. Try ignoring the audience and remember not as many people are judging you as you think. Chances are you’ll have more supporters than critics once you step out of your comfort zone.

Fear surrounding success might also come from the thought of big changes in life. What you’re working to achieve might be your greatest passion in life, but achieving that dream probably means making big changes. We get comfortable in life and even if it’s not the life we want for ourselves we sometimes stay because discomfort is scary. If your goal is to create a healthier life that’s going to come with a lot of self assessment, nutritional changes, and exercise. All of which are uncomfortable at first. Maybe your goal is to start a business. That’s going to come with financial changes, long hours, and stepping out of your comfort zone to network with others.

Instead of focusing on your fears reflect on the outcome of what it would be like to not achieve or work towards this goal. Journal the scenario of what your life looks like when achieving this goal- and the scenario of what your life looks like with allowing fear to hold you back from achieving this goal.

Are You Stuck in the Research Stage?

Do you find yourself researching more about your goal than taking action towards that goal? Staying in the research stage for too long could be due to fear. Yes, it’s important to research any major changes or goals you’re working to achieve, but staying in the research stage for far too long can hold you back. The research stage is a tricky place. It can make us feel like we’re taking action towards a goal, but easily becomes a safe space that allows us to create excuses while procrastinating.

The research stage is a crucial part of working towards achieving goals. Take the time to do your research but after a while check in to make sure you’re not using this stage to procrastinate. Do you have the knowledge to take the first steps? If so, make the jump towards step one today. Taking those first steps is always the hardest, but after making that first step every other gets easier and easier to take.

Are You Stuck in the Planning Stage?

Much like the research stage, the planning stage can become a place of comfort. Many of us stay in the planning stage so long trying to make everything perfect. We may find an excuse to push things off until we create the perfect website, find the perfect meal plan, find the perfect gym- anything to push that goal back. Perfection is not important, especially in the beginning. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to be in over your head at times- these are very valuable learning experiences. Just start! You don’t have to have every little detail planned out before starting the journey to achieve your goals. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and no matter how much you plan it’s probably not going to be perfect.

Having trouble staying motivated? Read How to Stay Motivated When You’re Easily Distracted

Are You Looking Too Much at the End Goal?

Looking too much at the end goal can stunt the growth of achieving goals. It may sound counter productive not too look at the big picture, but for some looking too far ahead can be overwhelming. Looking too much at the end goal is overwhelming because it reveals all the steps we need to take in order to get there. It can make you feel less than or like you’re not doing enough to achieve what you want.

If you’ve been focusing on the end goal and feeling extra critical of yourself or overwhelmed try breaking goals down into smaller bites. Create monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Science shows marking things off a to-do lists gives the brain hits of dopamine. These dopamine hits are addictive (think social media) and make us want to keep getting things done. If you’re goals are set in big bites those dopamine hits can’t come as often or easily. If big picture goals as a whole seem to stall your progress or be overwhelming try creating a to-do list instead.

Are You Experiencing Imposter Syndrome?

You’ll probably experience some critics along the way, but chances are the most critical person you’ll encounter is yourself. So many of us allow this critic to keep us from achieving the goals we long to achieve. Even more so, we often allow that internal critic to keep us from stepping out of our comfort zone to even start.

Imposter syndrome is an internal conflict that makes one doubt their abilities, or feel like a fraud. Experiencing this can be deliberating during times of creating big lifestyle changes. If you feel that imposter syndrome is keeping you from moving forward in life it may be wise to work with a therapist. Mental health professionals can help you work through any deep rooted self esteem issues and trauma that may be the root cause of feeling like an imposter. This article from The Muse discusses five types of imposter syndrome and how to cope with each.

Do You Have Accountability or a Support System?

Are you holding yourself accountable for the goals your setting? While you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself when making big changes it’s important to create some accountability of your progress. Finding ways to hold yourself accountable keeps you on track towards your goals. A few ways you can hold yourself accountable are by being honest with yourself and your progress, sticking to a routine/ schedule, and knowing your why.

One of the best ways to hold accountability is by creating a support system with a coach, mentor, and supportive friends/ family members. Coaches and mentors can help you see the brilliance in yourself. They are an outside source of support that aren’t too close to the situation- allowing honesty and insight from someone other than friends or family. Finding an experienced coach or mentor can help you stay on track and achieve goals faster than a solo journey. Sharing your goals with supportive friends and family members and asking them to check in with you picks up where you and your coach might leave off. The supportive people in your life can offer you loving accountability. They know you better than a coach or mentor ever will so they can truly see your potential in times when it can be hard to see your own potential.

Are You Burnt Out in Other Areas of Life?

Burnout in other areas of your life can be exhausting. It creates excess stress and leaves little energy for personal projects and goals. Are there areas in life where you need to set boundaries? If you’re running yourself thin in other areas chances are you’ll have less energy or focus to get anything done surrounding your goals. This may be a good opportunity to reflect on your mental health as well. If you feel your mental health is effecting your daily life it’s important to speak with a therapist as soon as possible.

Want to learn more about burnout? Read How to Tell if You’re Experiencing Burnout and 8 Ways To Get Out of the Burnout Cycle

Does the Goal Align with Your Values and Needs?

Is this something you actually want or is this something you think you want? Maybe it’s something you feel pressure from your family to achieve. Be honest with yourself. Does this goal align with your needs and values in life. Is this goal something you really desire to achieve? These are hard questions to ask. It can be very sobering to realize something we think we’ve wanted or worked at for so long isn’t really for us. If you’ve been doing everything to achieve a specific goal and it’s still just not working it may be time for some deep reflection.

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