We live in a world where we always blame the circumstances for why things are not going right. But what if it’s not the circumstances? What if we are our own greatest enemy? Biggest challenge? Hardest obstacle?
So often we blame the world for our problems because there is some level of validity there. “I couldn’t get a job because we are in a pandemic,” for example, is not totally wrong, but it isn’t completely correct either. Were you unable to find a job? Yes. Is there a pandemic going on? Yes. Is the pandemic making the job search harder? Yes.
But have other people gotten new jobs that they’ve liked during the pandemic? Also yes.
You see, oftentimes our circumstances may make the situation more difficult, but they are not the reason we don’t accomplish our goals. The reason we don’t accomplish our goals is because we choose, consciously or subconsciously, not to let ourselves. And it is through understanding this key point that we are able to learn to get out of our own way and let ourselves start to accomplish what we have come to believe is un-accomplishable.
So how do we do that? How do we keep ourselves stuck and prevent ourselves from living up to the version of ourselves that we are meant to be?
1. By putting other people’s needs before our own.
Each time you use someone else’s needs as an excuse to not meet your own, you are not only denying how much you believe you are worth, but how much everyone else is able to believe you are worth as well. By acting as a pseudo-martyr, you subconsciously affirm that your time and your goals are not as worthy or important as everyone else’s, giving your brain the excuse to continue to stay stuck.
2. By avoiding making a committed decision.
Or making a decision but continuing to evaluate all the other options. Each second spent continuing to avoid the decision is a second taken away from the action that could actually move you forward. By not picking any direction, you are guaranteeing one thing: that you will stay right where you are, choosing to be stuck.
3. By obsessing and overanalyzing over all of the other options available.
The more options you give yourself, the more the paradox of choice kicks in. And by definition, the more choices available to us, the harder it is for us to make any decision at all. Until we make a true decision, we are really just avoiding action. Any option has the ability to get us there, but by evaluating and reevaluating all of them, all you are doing is wasting time and staying exactly where you are.
4. By knowing the ‘how’ but taking the opposite action anyways.
Rather than follow the roadmap that so clearly brings you to the goal you want, you end up taking the other actions anyways. You make excuses in your head why it’s okay that you eat that donut, even though you’ve been trying to lose weight for months, or push off updating the resume and applying to the job for one more day, even though you said that same thing last week. Something inside of you is unaligned, and it needs to be addressed or you will keep cycling through this long pattern of sabotage forever.
5. By saving the most important actions for the last minute.
Rather than pull yourself away from the couch, Netflix, and Instagram now, you tell yourself you’ll get to those needle-moving actions another day and that you have time. But before you know it, the clock is almost up and you haven’t crossed off a fraction of the mission critical activities necessary to actually propel you forward.
All of these things sneakily hold us back, so much so that we don’t even fully recognize them as barriers. But as we gain greater awareness into the ways the barriers work and how the obstacles show up, we also gain the opportunity to take new, more beneficial actions when faced with them.
So, it is in this way that we stop positioning ourselves as the enemy and choose to be our own greatest ally. By simply acknowledging and beginning to recognize these self-sabotaging patterns, we create a new way forward. One that gives us the ability to take the next steps towards freeing ourselves, growing, and fully stepping into our next level identities.