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These 5 Things Could Be Holding You Back In Life

These 5 Things Could Be Holding You Back In Life

Only 1/3 of Americans are very happy, according to a 2013 study.

When you feel stuck, frustrated, and overall dissatisfied in your life, many things could be the culprit.

Here are 5 common things that could be holding you back in your life, and what to do to get out of your own way on your path to a life you love.

1. Not understanding who you are

Is it possible that you’re not fully satisfied because what you’re doing doesn’t align with your strengths? By strengths, I don’t mean skills; I mean the innate, natural strengths you have. If you’re unsure, check out Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. This book will help you understand your strengths.

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Discovering who you are and what your natural talents are is a key step to spending your days doing what you love. When you understand how you function best, you can choose work environments that allow you to maximize your strengths. You can also design your life to give you plenty of opportunities to develop and use those strengths.

2. Your mindset

Millions of people hold themselves back in life due to fear. It’s easy to let fear dictate our decisions. We are afraid of failure. We are afraid of standing out. We are afraid of ‘taking a risk.’ We are afraid of success. We are afraid to choose a path because it might not be the best path. The list goes on and on. Choosing to let fear guide our decisions is a sure way to hold ourselves back in life.

Fear is a big hindrance in our lives, but a fear-based mindset isn’t the only thing that holds us back mentally. When you think about your dreams, have you ever thought that you can’t achieve your goals because you don’t have a wealthy background, you aren’t living in the best location, you are too young or too old, or are not smart enough? When you’re thinking about your big goals, be honest with yourself. Are you telling yourself you can’t do something and giving yourself excuses to not try, in order to avoid having to actually take action?

Your inner game is a huge factor in your external success. Start paying attention to how you talk to yourself. Are you telling yourself negative things, day after day? If you’re struggling with your mindset, read this article. It will teach you small things you can do every day to love yourself. Treating yourself well will make a huge difference in your life. Start treating yourself like a good friend. Encourage yourself. You deserve a life you love.

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3. Having vague ideas of what you want

Saying, “I want a job I love” is something most people would agree that they want. Instead of continuing to have just a vague idea of what you want, you must discover who you are and take specific action to figure out exactly what you like to do.

Ask yourself some questions to help you narrow down what you’re looking for in a career. What are your strengths, and what kinds of jobs are recommended for you based on your personality and your strengths? What type of work schedule do you desire? Would you enjoy working indoors, or do you prefer being outdoors during your work days? Do you envision working in a big company, being part of a small organization, or working alone? Do you want do be an expert of one subject or a ‘jack of all trades’ at work? Who are your ideal coworkers? What are you passionate about? Is your goal to do work that makes you come alive?

To help you discover your passion and find out what completely lights you up, check out this free workbook. Having the desire to find and do work you love is a great thing. When you work on specifically figuring out what you like and what you don’t like, and what it is you’re truly seeking, you can make actual progress toward getting that dream career.

Having vague ideas of what you want will hold you back in other areas of your life too. Have you ever thought, “I’d love to be more healthy?” That’s a great thought, but you need to get specific about what it is you want. “Being healthy” is a vague concept. What does it mean to you to be healthy? Do you want to be well-rested? Are you desiring to lose weight? Do you want to be stronger? Do you want energy to keep up with your kids? Do you want to feel and look your best so you can have confidence in your dating life?

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If you set a vague goal of being healthy, how will you know when you’ve achieved the goal, or what steps to take to get there? Check out this compelling article for a a great example of how to set goals.

4. Not having a system to achieve your goals

Once you’ve decided what you want, how will you achieve it? What specific habits do you need to adopt in order to take steps forward toward your goal every day? How will you make time in your schedule to achieve your goals and make them a priority? This inspiring article can help you find more time in each day.

When you’ve set your big goals, have you broken them down into small goals and figured out exactly what you must do every day to stay on track toward long-term success? Have you thought about potential barriers to achieving your goals, and what you’ll do to get around those roadblocks when they occur? Have you found an accountability partner to keep you on track? What is your plan for handling days when your motivation is lacking? Read this helpful article to learn how to tackle your bad days.

When you’re setting big goals, you’ll need a specific system in place that makes it difficult for you to fail. Difficulties will come up when you start working toward a big goal. They always do. Figuring out in advance how you’ll tackle a certain situations can help set you up for success.

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5. Not surrounding yourself with the right people

Consider who you spend a lot of time with. Are they encouraging and positive? If you don’t have anyone in your life who understands your goals, I’m not suggesting that you ditch your family and friends. What I am advising; however, is that you find like-minded people to connect with. This can fuel your inspiration. Find people who are doing what you hope to do, and connect with them. Building a tribe of amazing people in your life can help you build a life you love.

Conclusion

If you feel stuck, it’s time to start taking action and stop holding yourself back from the life you dream of. Today, choose to set a goal about something you want in your life. Set your goal very specifically, and make an action plan of how you’ll achieve it. Then, email me at kerry@yourstreamlinedlife.com and tell me about your goal.

I’m on a mission to help people all over the world come alive and spend their time doing what they love, and I love hearing about how you’re improving your lives.

Featured photo credit: Portrait of a young business woman in office/Anton Petukhov via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

How to Find the Purpose of Life (A Case Study of a High-Powered Woman) Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-adventure-beautiful-climb-287240/ Feeling Stuck Is Not Fun, This Is How I Never Get Stuck In Life Again

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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