Have you ever wondered what’s stopping you from achieving your goals? Sometimes in bouts of frustration and questioning this is the question we ask. If we dig a little deeper we’ll often find that the problem is the things we’re believing about ourselves and others.
Why we need goals in the first place
Everyone needs to have dreams for their life. Our dreams are the things we want to achieve and that we’re willing to work for. They’re the things that keep us motivated to continue learning, taking action, and moving forward in our lives.
But not everyone knows how to make their dreams into actual goals that they’ll be able to achieve. Sometimes we look back and realize that what kept us from achieving our goals and dreams was…us.
Sometimes we’re the problem
We’re often the impediment to our own success and fulfillment. We’re the roadblock that we just can’t seem to get over or around. We’re the obstacle that we just haven’t figured out how to overcome.
And that’s because we’ve got some internal beliefs that are preventing us from achieving the things we say we really want. Unfortunately, sometimes our own self-doubt, excuses, and negative self-talk make us our own worst enemy.
But here’s the thing…just because we’re buying into something does not make it true. And I suspect that if you got a group of your friends to be really, really honest, you’d find that they’re also buying into excuses and lies that they also tell themselves.
So what are these lies and beliefs that are stopping us from achieving our goals? Let’s take a look at five of the most common ones.
The Belief that you don’t have Enough Time is preventing you from even getting started
I don’t know anyone who isn’t busy these days because we all are. It seems to just be a fact of modern life. And if you ask someone how they’re doing, the chances are good that you’re going to hear about how they are (like it was a badge of honor or something).
But sometimes we think that we’re busier than we really are. Everyone on the planet has only 24 hours in a day. In order to find out how busy you really are (and how you’re actually spending the time you have), it’s helpful to keep a time log.
A time log is where you record your activities for a set period of time (generally a week or two). On this log you’ll write down what you did all day every day for the time period.
You’ll record how much time you spend sleeping, dressing & grooming, preparing and eating meals, commuting to work and home again. You’ll make note of how much time you spent watching TV or scrolling through social media as well as how much time you spend on any other activities.
An accurate time log can be very eye opening! In fact, you won’t be alone if you discover that you actually waste a good amount of time each day…or that at least you spend a lot of it on activities that really aren’t very important (and that certainly don’t help you achieve any of those goals you say you want to achieve).
A time log has convinced more than one person that they’re the ones standing in the way of achieving their stated goals.
what’s stopping you from achieving your goals often boils down to fear That You don’t have a certain type of talent
I spent a fair part of my career working with gifted and talented students and here’s something that I learned: in the long run it doesn’t matter how much natural talent you were born with if you aren’t willing to do the work to develop and use it.
You see, natural talent – while very nice – will only take you so far. And it won’t take you anywhere if you don’t use it. Time after time I noticed that the students who were so in awe of how “smart” and “talented” they were ended up achieving much less than the students who knew how to work…and who were willing to put their nose to the grindstone and work.
So here’s the lesson: no matter what natural talent or abilities you were born with (or without), if you really want to do something then your willingness to learn and practice is a better predictor of your success than anything else.
I’ll do it after…
Often what’s stopping us from achieving our goals is that we’re constantly telling ourselves that we’ll do something at a later date – we set some condition that must be met before we can actually start to pursue dreams and goals.
However, believing that we’ll start working towards some goal “later” is simply an excuse that we’re using that prevents us from starting to work on it now. Maybe you’re used a few of these yourself: I’ll get started…
- when things slow down at work
- after I’ve lost twenty pounds
- once the kids are grown
- as soon as I finish…
Most of us have used some version of the above at some point. And have you ever noticed that if you actually do manage to get past one of those reasons that something else always magically pops up to replace it? It’s amazing how we can always find something else to replace our current excuse.
That should be a really big red flag that we are what is standing in the way.
The belief that “I’m not good enough” stops us from achieving our goals
This one is really common.
Many of us have some impossible standard that we will never be able to measure up to, and it’s this standard that we let get in the way of our efforts to turn our dreams into realities.
The truth is that you’re always good enough to chase your dreams. You’re always good enough to work towards achieving your goals. What you may be lacking in is the ability to tell your negative self-talk to take a hike because you suffer from a lack of confidence.
This internal dialogue is an easy one to fall prey to because most of us have experienced some reinforcement of our own negative thoughts (even if that reinforcement is just from ourselves over a period of time).
IF you find that you’re getting negative reinforcement from other people…well then it’s time to consider the place those people hold in your lives. I’m personally of the opinion (finally) that people who can’t be supportive are people you don’t need to spend time with. Life is short and people who aren’t lifting you up aren’t worth your energy.
Believing that someone else has it easier can prevent you from achieving those goals
You know what? Someone else MAY have it easier than you do.
The real question here is whether you’re going to let that fact stop you from working to achieve your goals.
Here’s another truth: we never really know what is going on with someone else. Looks are deceiving. What we think has come easily to someone may actually be the result of years of hard work masquerading as “easy” or as an overnight success.
Our mind likes to play games with us and jealousy can be a real issue to overcome.
But the grass is always greener where you water it. The early bird got the work because they were prepared to take advantage of opportunity. All those pithy saying about success give us only part of the story.
And in reality, the person you’re envying may envied someone else at some point but decided to get off their rear end and do something about it.
We can do the same.
And someone else may be sitting back feeling envious of the things that you’re doing and thinking that you’ve “had it so easy” (I’ve actually had some people say this to me and I always want to respond with “but you weren’t watching while I was working by tail off for five years”). No one sees all of the work and effort that goes into achieving something worthwhile.
Our mindset and our self-limiting beliefs can be very real hurdles that we have to get past. They can be the obstacles that stop us from achieving our goals because they keep us from even trying. It’s always important to examine our thoughts because they become our realities. And when we find thoughts that aren’t serving us well, it’s time to take steps to eliminate them and replace them with ones that are helpful.
To learn more about why we are so anxious to believe negative things about ourselves check out this article in Psychology Today.
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