Imagine your alarm going off at 5 a.m. and you actually manage to get yourself out of bed. Yet, soon, it’s already time for you to go to work and you haven’t accomplished anything. You may be wonder why you struggle to achieve goals you set when you’re waking up on time.
It’s likely you are facing a mental block, something in your subconscious keeping you from becoming your best and most productive self.
Here are the 5 big mental blocks preventing you from reaching your goals and how to work around them.
This is one of the largest mental blocks you can have when working towards your goals. It can happen for a number of reasons and you may not even be aware of it at first, but it can be there lurking in your subconscious.
Have you been skipping the gym but been fine working out from home? There is a good chance you have an insecurity about the gym or your abilities to achieve your goal. This could range from insecure about your body, the level of cardio you can handle, how much weight you can lift, not wanting to be seen working out in front of people, etc.
Have you not told any of your friends or family about your goals? Lack of accountability can be a big factor in why you’re struggling to reach your goals. Why haven’t you told anyone? There is a good chance you’re insecure about the goal itself or your ability to achieve it.
So what can you do about this? The best way to find your insecurities is to develop self awareness. When you notice yourself feeling “off” about your goals or not working towards them, start to think about the reasons why.
It’s really helpful to start journaling about it to. Get our your favorite notebook and start recording all your feelings about your goal and your ability to achieve it.
Some things from your past may start coming up. In the fitness example, maybe when you were in PE class as a kid, people made fun of you for how you ran or your ability to play a particular sport.
That memory has been living dormant inside you. Now that you’re trying to better yourself, the memory is rearing it’s ugly head. Though your subconscious is trying to protect you from a new similar memory, you need to work past this.
Develop small goals and habits to break the cycle of insecurity. Go to the gym for at least 10 minutes for 5 days a week. Then the next week go for 15. Pretty soon you’ll be focused and out of your own head.
In the example of not telling friends and family, slowly start talking about your goals and dreams. If they start being negative, set boundaries around telling them what you’re working towards is important to you. Remember, if they are negative, it’s not about you. It’s about them.
Find ways to fight your insecurities so you can stop struggling to achieve your goals.
The next mental block is one I know quite well. Indecision is a way for your brain to trick you into not working towards your goals.
You wake up ready to tackle the day and start to think of all the things you need to get done. But which thing should you do first? You could tackle your workout before you go to work, but you’re also interested in writing that science fiction novel. Then again, your house is a disaster and your in-laws are coming this weekend.
Before you know it, your morning is gone. Perhaps your whole day is gone if it’s the weekend. What did you actually accomplish? Probably not much because you were too busy trying to figure out which goal and task to work on first.
I’ve been there, my friend, too many times to count. So what can you do about this?
There are a few options to help you with this mental block when goal setting.
First, you could try to set your goals at night for the next day. When you wake up, everything is already planned and ready to go. You just need to jump on your task list.
Second, you could set your goals in the morning based on your energy levels. Maybe you can tackle more than you thought you could the night before.
Either way, I like to set a timer on my decision making so I don’t spend too much time on it. The smaller the decision, the shorter the timer. For picking out my goals and tasks for the day, I give myself no more than half an hour.
It’s also helpful to make a checklist or other type of record if you’re working on more than one goal.
This next mental block is one I see often. With perfectionism, your either not willing to work on your goals until the conditions are perfect, or you don’t want to share your results or progress until conditions are perfect.
Let’s keep going with the workout example. If you have a perfectionist mental block, you may not want to work out because the temperature isn’t right, you don’t have the right equipment, the gym is too busy at this time of day, you didn’t eat well today so you should start all your goals at once, etc.
You can see all the excuse making disguised as perfectionism right?
A big one I see, for myself and others, is a time based perfectionism. You only have “X” amount of time to work towards your goal but it will take you at least “Y” amount of time, so you may as well wait.
WRONG! You should be using any amount of time you have to work on your dreams instead of struggling with your goals.
You can even make lists of what you can work on in various time increments.
Progress is made through imperfection. Start dropping the excuses and get to work.
4. People Pleasing
Raise you hand if you’ve ever put off your own goals and desires because you needed to help someone else? I know there are a lot of hands raised right now.
When you are a people pleaser, it’s hard to put yourself first. You attend to other people and their needs, ahead of your own.
Most of the time the person you’re pleasing wouldn’t want you to give up your goals and dreams for them. They would encourage you to go after it.
If you’re sitting on the couch watching Netflix with your spouse or family, but you have that thought deep in your head that you’re not being productive on what you need to get done, then you’re in the act of people pleasing.
You’re watching TV because you think that’s what they want and what will make them happy.
I want to challenge you to tell them what you should be working on instead. For many people, I bet your family or spouse will turn off the TV, or at least kick you out of the room to go work on your to-do list. (Mine has done this when I’m honest with him on what I should be working on).
Don’t give up on helping others and being kind, but also don’t give up all your time and energy towards your own goals or the things that make you happy. Find a balance and keep working towards your goals.
5. Over Planning
Over planning is a huge mental block that stems from a combination of other mental blocks. It’s also a big distraction that helps you to avoid the goals your supposed to be working on.
You plan, plan, plan but you never actually implement those plans. Someone this makes your brain feel like you’re still accomplishing things because you’re constantly THINKING about your goals. But thinking won’t get you anywhere, and neither will over planning.
This time of mental block causing problems achieving your goals is often a combination of 3 of the 4 blocks mentioned about.
Over planning includes insecurity, indecision, and perfectionism. It starts with your insecurities. You don’t want to implement because of them, so you keep planning until you think everything is perfect. This also brings in perfectionism. You don’t implement until everything is right.
Yet, nothing is every right because of your insecurities and also your indecision. You can’t make a firm decision so you keep planning. You think about your goals from every angle and each possible way to implement them.
Again, using these three mental blocks you’ve created a super mental block: over planning.
The first step to fixing this is to find your insecurities around your goals. Next, set a timer for how long you can work on planning out your goals and steps of implementation. Finally, set a timer for how long you’re giving yourself to start or to work on a task. Just get it done. Perfection is not required.
Final Thoughts on Mental Blocks
I hope these five mental blocks have been eye opening for you and your journey to achieving your goals.
If you’ve been struggling, these mental blocks could be the culprits. I recommend journaling and reflecting on which one(s) may be affecting you.
Taking care of yourself physically and mentally will help with your goals too. Below are some posts that should help you with journaling, self care, and productivity.
How to Journal for Personal Development
Best Journals Every Writer Should Have
41 Daily Self Care Ideas to Add to Your Routine
Why Self Care is So Important
How to Boost Your Productivity
6 Fixable Reasons Why You’re Procrastinating
7 Morning Habits for Success