This topic is very close to me. I’m notorious for having big ideas and then having poor follow through. It’s embarrassing for me to admit this. It has taken me years to get past the point where I was my own obstacle.
That’s not to say I have done nothing with my life, on the contrary. I have lived a very full and exciting life so far. In the past I have been my own barrier to achieving some of my dreams. I have come a long way though.
My moment of realization came in a session with my counselor when we uncovered the root to this issue. Some experiences in my life made me more apt to be comfortable being stagnant in life than fully working on my passions and dreams. That was then and this is now. My first step in moving forward was starting this blog.
Do you feel like you have been holding yourself back in life? I have come up with a list of signs that may help you know for sure. I speak from experience and I am not a therapist or counselor. These signs are things that I myself have noticed in my own life. I want to share these with you to help other people out there identify the signs in themselves and hopefully jump over the self imposed hurdle and create the life they’ve always wanted. I am still new to this so we can take this journey together.
The Stop And Start
Do you ever start a project or have an idea and go full steam ahead with it, giving it your all? Then once the momentum starts to slow down, or things start to get hard you just stop?
This is a major sign. Often people who do this have a notebook full of ideas that gets filled anytime they are inspired by the things around them. Often their ideas get fleshed out a bit, but once the ideas grow they become more complicated and more difficult to see through. It just becomes another scribble in your notebook.
Often people who do start and stop get fairly far in their venture, but after a while it just fizzles out. Then you are left with all the remnants of the effort you put in sitting on a shelf only to be seen as a distant memory.
Procrastination gets a bad rap. It isn’t always bad, in some cases delaying a decision or doing something can give you time to think it over to consider your options before moving forward. Procrastinating can bring clarity. On the other hand, it can also cause us to miss out on achieving our goals. The longer we procrastinate the more likely we are to lose motivation and become disillusioned with a project. Your project or idea becomes less exciting and the passion you had for it at the beginning when the idea first struck fizzles. This can lead to feeling frustrated and affect your self-esteem.
It’s important to find a good balance here. When the idea strikes you should give yourself time to develop and research it. Do not wait too long though, lest you forget the good feeling you had when you first started.
This sign is strongly connected to procrastination because we use excuses to fuel our procrastination. My usual excuses would be that I didn’t have enough time or I didn’t have enough money to get an idea off the ground. Another excuse revolved around not having enough resources or help to see something through. The excuse also took the form of negative talk and self criticism. I would think that I wasn’t good enough or I didn’t belong. What would I have to offer?
There will always be excuses. They shouldn’t cause you to think less of yourself. Excuses are just that: excuses. If you really want something, then no excuse in the world should stop you.
Criticism is a hard one for me. For reasons I am still exploring with my counselor, I’m not great at receiving criticism. Constructive criticism is easier to take, but I still take it personally.
In the past, criticism has stopped me in my tracks. It was enough for me to just give up. That may seem childish, but I wasn’t deterred by the actual criticism. It was all about how I internalized it.
The key here is not to take it personally. People are going to say what they want to say. It’s their opinion and it’s not about you. If it is constructive criticism then accept it, take what you need from it and move on. Use it to get better but don’t take it as a reflection of you as a person. If the criticism is not constructive and just plain hurtful or misguided, just let it roll off your back. Not everyone has your best intentions at heart when they provide criticism.
The funny thing is that even though I could buckle under criticism I somehow kept going. I wouldn’t be here writing this blog post if I did. Criticism can help thicken your skin and help make you stronger. People are always going to criticize, what matters is what you do after.
Lack Of Confidence In Yourself
I have had trouble with this in the past. It was a whole thing growing up and as I was entering adulthood. Lack of self-confidence creates a large roadblock to you achieving goals and reaching your dreams. They are at the root of it. Without the confidence to take the steps needed, even just the first step, you won’t get anywhere.
I know because I still struggle with having the confidence in my abilities. I find it hard to see the forest through the trees, as the saying goes. To me, the forest consists of the things that make up who I am, my strengths and my weaknesses. The trees are the things I tell myself about myself that simply are not true and keep me seeing me for who I am. The things that help you build confidence in yourself.
Lack of self-confidence stems from negative self-talk. Negative self-talk has no place in any of our lives. Catching it as it happens and redirecting it to something positive is the best way to start to remove this negativity from your life.
I have definitely come a long way in this respect. It’s a combination of age and being tired of the cycle of the stop and start. Mindfulness and affirmations have helped me a lot with negative self-talk and how it fuels low self-confidence.
Crippling Fear and Anxiety
Anxiety and fear create hurdles that seem insurmountable. These roadblocks can be so big that it is easier to just not even try.
I’m not an overly anxious or cautious person but I remember beginning to feel emotions of anxiety in my early 20’s. It comes from an event in my life that caused trauma for the first time in life. I grew up after this and it shaped a lot of who I came to be.
My anxiety and fear revolves around the fear of failure and of not knowing the outcome. I like to know how things will play out. If I am faced with a situation I can’t control, my brain goes a mile a minute trying to conceive of every possible scenario and outcome for that scenario. It is relentless. This can cause me to question an idea or decision because the risk seems too high, the odds are against me, or the amount of negative outcomes outweighs the positive.
I have had to work hard to not let my fears and anxiety stop me. I have had to learn to focus on the now when my brain goes into overdrive. Deep breathing and counting breaths has helped me. I have learned that we can’t fear the future because it does not exist yet. You have no control over what is to come so you focus on the present to help keep anxiety and fear at bay.
Has this struck a chord with you? Do you see these signs in yourself? If so, I want you to know that you are not alone. All these things are emotions and situations we all face at some point or another. Even the most successful person has had to start from the very beginning and they all had to deal with one or all of these things at one point or another.
No one goes into things being a complete expert. We all have to start somewhere. If you recognize yourself in this blog post and want to stop being your own roadblock the first step is recognizing the signs. Once you do this you can start to identify what you need to do to move past these situations. The first step is taking the plunge. You will never know unless you try. There just comes a time when you just have to take that first step with your head held high. This happens when the alternative becomes less and less attractive.