11 Ways We Hold Ourselves Back From Our Goals

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Hello 2015! Are you still waiting until tomorrow or next week to start working on your resolutions? Well, why have you waited for the past year? We shouldn’t have to wait to make changes that benefit our lives.

Of the 45% of Americans that make New Years Resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving them. Chances are, many of our resolutions have been carried on from year to year. I am a firm believer that we create our own obstacles to growth but that that we can overcome them and live an amazing life! Often the difficulty is created by our mind, rather than the task itself.

The following are some of the reasons that keep us from achieving our goals anytime of the year.

1. Unreasonable expectations

We are incredibly hard on ourselves, and it doesn’t help that we are constantly trying to be “better,” “fitter,” “richer,” etc. We strive for a different version of ourselves and are never satisfied. How many of us also finally reach our goal only to find something else to try to “fix?”

Solution: Many of us are also striving for perfection, which is unattainable; so when we don’t achieve this we feel disappointment. There is nothing wrong with having high standards, but make sure it’s reasonable goal. Look at your goals from the perspective of improving meaningful attributes of your life. Instead of wanting to be a certain size or shape, think about wanting to be healthy. This approach will help you achieve your goals in ways that are directed toward self-respect rather than superficial ideals.

2. Wanting instant results

Results don’t happen overnight, and neither do the things we are trying to change. We are creatures of habit, and changing habits takes time (they say it takes 21 days…)

Solution: Delayed gratification is important. For example, while a weight loss pill may take the weight off in a short period of time, you still have not made the changes to your diet and lifestyle that will lead you to gain the weight back once you have stopped the pill. Healthy life changes should be part of a daily regimen, not packed into 2 months at the beginning of the year. 

3. Trying to do too much, too fast

New Years Resolutions are exciting. It gives us something to talk about and something to look forward to. Sometimes, however, the excitement drives us to do everything at once and this can be overwhelming. This can lead to burn-out, frustration and may prevent us from taking any more steps to moving toward our goals.

Solution: Focus on what you are capable of fitting into your schedule and prioritize. Cleaning the attic can probably wait. Make a daily commitment to yourself and set short-term goals. Exercise a few days per week or set a time every day to throw away things that you no longer use. Chip away at short term goals and you will be where you want to in no time.

“Embrace that your perfection lies in the fact that you are imperfect.”

4. Excuses

Anyone can make time for what they prioritize. TALK is cheap. The time you spend talking can be time spent doing.

Solution: Avoid procrastination. Get started on your goals now. If you don’t start today, when will you?

5. Focusing only on the outcome

Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination. If you do achieve your goal, how much satisfaction will you have if the process was tedious and stressful? It’s important to have your goal in mind but the way there may not pan out how you expect. It will, however, flourish into a life changing experience what will serve you in the best possible way.

Solution: Let it flow. Make it fun. Want to eat healthy? Find fun recipes or make cooking an enjoyable family affair. Are you dreading the gym? Why not join a dance fitness class or walk outside and enjoy the scenery?

6. Focusing on the past

During any time of reflection we tend to look at all the “mistakes” we made. This brings up many different emotions, such as, regret and not feeling capable of change. This is natural. If we did not have these feelings, we would not think about making any changes. We keep bad habits alive by focusing on them.

Solution: We tend to avoid uncomfortable feelings and repress them only for them to come up again. These negative emotions lead to us avoiding making positive changes or having the clarity to find solutions. While it’s very important to allow ourselves to feel our emotions, avoid dwelling in regret, anger or depression. Keep the pity party short and focus your energy on moving forward.

Happy Healthy Life7. Self-induced pressure

We can be our own worst enemy. Making significant changes is stressful, and the less stress you create will allow for a smooth and enjoyable process.

Solution: If you feel pressure from yourself, monitor your self- talk. Anytime you feel you have to/need to/should do something, you will likely feel resistance to it. Often wanting to change something prevents us from taking steps to change. Let go of wanting to change and start changing, NOW. Here are a few other ways we may subconsciously be sabotaging our path to success:

8. Self-pity

It’s important to accept that we are responsible for our lives, so this means accepting our part in whatever we have gotten ourselves into (nobody forces us to eat unhealthy food or smoke) and to stop blaming others.

Solution: Like in number 6 above, it’s ok to let yourself feel the sadness or regret for a limited period of time. Then tell yourself, “I made some mistakes, I am human. I accept and forgive myself for what I did in the past. The past is in the past and I am going to pick myself back up and make positive changes.” Remember, life is filled with negatives and positives and without mistakes and failures we would not learn for the better. If we can accept that fact, life will be a lot easier.

9. Resistance to letting go

Many people want different things but are hestitant to change. We like easy and comfortable, but remember, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Change takes effort. It means stepping out of our comfort zone. Changes are only difficult if we think they will be.

Solution: In order to make room for the new in our lives, we need to let go of the old. This may mean letting go of old household items, old habits, old ways of thinking, or even relationships with certain people; things we hold on to even though they are the very things that create the unhappiness we feel.

10. Fear of failure

Fears are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you never try, how will you know?

Solution: Recognize the fear, but don’t let it hold you back. Life will go on if you don’t achieve your goals. Learn from the experience and try again with a different approach. Look at “mistakes” as learning experiences, not failures. If you get off track, don’t be hard on yourself. Pick yourself back up and try again. Never give up on yourself. You are worthy of living a happy and healthy life.

11. The “C” word: Can’t

Solution: How will you know if you don’t try? If you have tried in the past and it didn’t work out, identify how you change your approach. It took Thomas Edison several times before he invented the light bulb, but imagine if he stopped trying because he didn’t think he could?

The time to start making changes to benefit your life is…


What are some ways you hold yourself back? What are some tips you find helpful in moving forward with your goals? Share below!

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