Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life 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

Trending in Featured

1 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 2 How To Start a Conversation with Anyone 3 Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context 4 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 5 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

Advertising

When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

Advertising

1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

Advertising

Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

Advertising

These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

More About Self-Learning

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next