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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

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

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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