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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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