You know how sometimes we feel like we’re stuck, no matter how hard we try?
It’s like we’re walking in mud. Every step is a struggle and we just don’t seem to move forward.
Well, sometimes it’s not about what we’re doing, but what we’re not letting go of.
In this article, I’m going to go through 11 things that might be holding you back in life.
If you’re clinging on to any of these, they could be the reason you’re stuck.
1. Living in the Past
Remember that time machine from all those sci-fi movies? Guess what, it doesn’t exist in real life.
And yet, some of us spend so much time reliving the past that it’s as if we’re trying to live in a time machine.
Past mistakes, old regrets, what ifs… these are massive weights that can anchor us down.
But no amount of regret can change what’s already happened. It’s like trying to un-spill a glass of milk – impossible, right? So, why waste energy on it?
The key to moving forward is to learn from our past, not live in it.
Take the lessons, leave the baggage behind and step into today with a lighter heart and a clearer mind.
Practical Tip: Set aside a specific time to reflect on your past, extract lessons, and then consciously choose to focus on the present and future.
2. Trying to Please Everyone
It’s natural to want to make others happy. But in that process, if you’re constantly sacrificing your own needs and happiness, it’s like trying to fill cups from an empty jug.
Here’s the harsh truth – you can’t please everyone. People are diverse with different expectations. Trying to meet all of them is not only exhausting but also impossible.
It’s okay to say ‘no’ sometimes. It’s okay to put yourself first. After all, how can we expect others to value us if we don’t value ourselves?
Practical Tip: Practice saying “no” to requests that do not align with your values or priorities. Start with small refusals and gradually work your way up.
3. Fear of Change
I used to be terrified of change. The thought of a new job, moving to a new city, heck, even trying a new restaurant would send me into a panic.
It was comfortable in my little bubble and I didn’t want anything to disrupt that.
But life is all about change. It’s like a river that’s constantly flowing and if we try to stand still, we’re just going to be swept away.
Once I embraced that fact, I realized that change wasn’t so scary after all. In fact, it was exciting! It opened doors to new opportunities, new experiences, and made life more vibrant and fulfilling.
So if you’re holding on to the familiar just because you’re scared of change – take it from me – let go.
Step out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised at what you find there.
Practical Tip: Make a list of potential benefits that could come from a change. This could help shift your perspective from fearing change to embracing it.
Did you know that the human brain has a natural tendency to focus on the negative?
It’s a survival mechanism inherited from our ancestors, called ‘negativity bias’.
But while this might have been useful in the wild, in today’s world, it can hold us back.
Surrounding yourself with negativity – whether it’s your own thoughts, negative people or even negative news – is like carrying a backpack full of bricks.
It weighs you down and makes moving forward a struggle.
Instead, try to surround yourself with positivity. Practice gratitude, find the silver lining in tough situations and spend time with people who lift you up.
Practical Tip: Establish a daily gratitude practice where you list three things you are grateful for every day to shift your focus from negativity to positivity.
5. Not Believing in Yourself
We’ve all had those moments when we doubt ourselves, when we feel like we’re not good enough, smart enough or brave enough. We look at our dreams and think they’re too big, too unreachable.
But here’s the thing – you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. You have strengths and talents that are unique to you.
There may be setbacks, there may be failures, but they don’t define your worth or your ability.
Before you hesitate before chasing a dream or taking up a challenge, remember – the only person who needs to believe in you, is you.
Have faith in yourself and your abilities, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
Practical Tip: Keep a “success journal” to note down your achievements and positive feedback you receive from others to boost your self-belief.
6. Not Taking Care of Your Health
A couple of years ago, I was burning the candle at both ends – working long hours, eating junk food for convenience, and the idea of exercise was running to catch the bus!
Then, one day, I hit a wall. I was tired all the time, couldn’t concentrate and just felt… blah. That’s when I realized – I wasn’t taking care of my health.
Health is like the foundation of a building. If it’s shaky, everything you build on it is shaky too.
And guess what? Once I started eating healthier, getting regular exercise, and ensuring I was getting enough sleep – everything improved.
My energy levels skyrocketed, my focus sharpened, and I even became more positive.
Practical Tip: Incorporate small changes like a 20-minute daily walk, or swapping out one unhealthy snack for a healthier option, to begin improving your health.
7. Ignoring Your Emotions
We’re all human and we’ve got a whole spectrum of emotions inside us. Happiness, sadness, anger, fear – they’re all part of the package.
But here’s where many of us mess up – we try to ignore or suppress the ‘unpleasant’ ones.
You can’t outrun your emotions. You might shove them in a corner for a while, but they’ll always come back, often with a vengeance.
And when they do, they’ll cloud your judgment, affect your relationships, and generally make life harder.
So what’s the solution?
Feel them. Let yourself be sad when you’re upset. It’s okay to feel angry when you’ve been wronged. It’s okay to be scared when you’re stepping into the unknown.
Emotions aren’t weaknesses – they’re signals from your body, trying to tell you something. Listen to them.
Practical Tip: Practice mindfulness or meditation to become more in tune with your emotions. Allow yourself to feel and process your emotions rather than suppressing them.
Ever heard of the phrase, “Procrastination is the thief of time”?
Well, it’s more than just a saying.
According to psychologist Piers Steel 95% of people admit to procrastinating at some point, with 25% identifying themselves as chronic procrastinators.
Procrastination, simply put, is delaying or postponing tasks that you should be focusing on right now.
And boy, can it put a dent in our progress! It’s easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow”, but remember – tomorrow never comes.
The key is to break tasks down into manageable chunks, prioritize them and then just get started. Even if you don’t feel like it. Because once you start, momentum builds up and before you know it, you’re done!
When you feel like pushing something off to a later time, ask yourself – “Why not now?” You might be surprised by how much more you can achieve.
Practical Tip: Use a timer to work in bursts (e.g., 25 minutes work followed by a 5-minute break) to overcome procrastination and maintain focus.
9. Comparing Yourself to Others
There was a time when I was constantly comparing myself to others.
Whether it was their jobs, their looks, or their seemingly perfect lives on social media – I was always measuring my life against theirs.
And guess what? I always felt like I was coming up short.
But here’s the truth I learned over time – comparison is a trap. It’s a never-ending race where the finish line keeps moving further away.
Because there will always be someone who seems to have more or be more.
Once I stopped comparing and started focusing on my own journey, everything changed. I felt happier, more content and guess what?
My progress, at my own pace, felt so much more satisfying.
Life isn’t a race or a competition. It’s your unique journey. Don’t rob yourself of the joy of your achievements by comparing them with others.
Practical Tip: Unfollow or minimize exposure to social media accounts that trigger comparison thoughts. Focus on your own progress by tracking your personal goals.
10. Ignoring Your Passion
We’ve all got that thing we love doing. That activity that makes time fly and fills us with joy.
But how many of us actually make time for it? Our jobs, our responsibilities, they all pile up and before we know it, our passion is gathering dust in a corner.
But here’s the harsh truth – ignoring your passion is like ignoring a part of yourself. It’s what makes you, YOU.
And trust me, finding time for it isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. It keeps you energized, keeps you motivated and fills your life with joy.
Make time for your passion. Even if it’s just a few minutes each day. You owe it to yourself.
Practical Tip: Schedule time each week to engage in your passion. Even if it’s only for a short period, regular engagement can keep your passion alive.
11. Not Asking for Help
We live in a world that glorifies the “self-made” person. And while independence is great, let’s be brutally honest here – nobody does it all alone.
We all need help sometimes, and there’s absolutely no shame in asking for it.
Whether it’s advice from a mentor, support from a friend or just someone to listen when times are tough – reaching out to others isn’t a sign of weakness.
In fact, it shows strength – the strength to acknowledge that you’re human and you don’t have all the answers.
Practical Tip: Identify supportive individuals in your life and practice reaching out to them for small pieces of advice or help, building a habit of seeking support when needed.
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