10 Common Things Standing in Our Way from our future goals: why and what to do
Published July 25, 2021
Written by Rose Moore
~Yoga instructor, meditation guide, peer mental health support, artisan and tarot reader
(THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS VIA AMAZON TO THE BOOKS IN CITATIONS FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. AFFILIATE LINKS HELP ME TO SHARE THE BOOKS I HAVE READ AND MAKE A FEW CENTS FOR EVERY SALE THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING. All other links are unsponsored)
10 REASONS WE HOLD OUTSELVES BACK
What holds you back right now?
Maybe you feel ‘lazy’
Lazy is another word I find synonymous with two things: Depression and anxiety. Some people will say laziness is a character defect. Something not to aspire to. Something that puts people off. I agree of course not to aspire for laziness, but I have never met anyone who calls themselves lazy who didn’t have a lot going on inside their heads. In some cases, it is self-preservation, and others are fear based. Fear of failure, fear of losing something, perfectionism, fear of the cost are rather common. And some of these reasons stem from depression.
Fear is different than depression. When we are afraid, we are thinking about the future, about what COULD HAPPEN. How am I going to get hurt? How am I going to fail? How will I disappoint? How will I overcome?
I have heard that ‘laziness’ can also come from perfectionism. You are too hard on yourself to even start. That’s a tough pickle, but CBT guidance can help you learn when your thoughts are distorted like ‘I have to be perfect to start’ this book, the feel good handbook, is written by a doctor of psychology and is the only book you will need to learn the ins and outs of CBT on your own (affiliate link)
Depression on the other hand is past orientation and can become ball of self-preservation. We are slow, our energy is depleted, we can suffer from inflammation, and we do not want to do anything to help it. Surviving is hard enough for a depressed person, so how can they possibly go out and get it?
You need to shift your goals to your health. Depression might feel normal to you, but it is draining to your life. Some people are able to thrive with depression, but it comes at a price. So please take care of yourself you can do this by:
- Doodling and coloring
- Enjoy yourself even if you’re doing ‘nothing’
- Learning cbt skills
- Practicing mindfulness
- Picking something to look forward to (in the past when I was most depressed I would be able to make it if I knew there was a book coming out soon or something)
- Drinking enough water
- Look online for free mental health resources
- Find a therapist if it is within your means
Maybe self-control because you know what you want is destructive?
Drugs, sex, rock and roll. It is the Christmas list to the self of my twenties. I spent so much time doing exactly what I wanted, I neglected to ask myself, ‘well is this going to help me with my goals? Does it even make me happy?’ of course not, I didn’t even have goals! Networking became a hell of a time, getting drunk at galleries and telling women I met in the bathroom how they “are my best friends.”
Did this get me anywhere? No. Was it a hell of a lot of fun and something I do not regret? Well, yea of course. But the party did not last forever. I had been avoiding the real work I needed to do to become a fully actualized person.
I gave myself a personal evaluation when I turned 30. At a New Years party, I took a single shot of alcohol and projectile vomited on my friend’s date. I could not deny how destructive this was and I knew I had to change. The guy was nice about it when he should have left! I was only able to get the self-control to stop when I said goodbye to my alcoholic friends and got serious therapeutic help.
If you know what you want is destructive there are several steps to stop. I used a diet as example because people do it all the time, if you are trying to eat healthy work with your doc or a nutritionist! Anyway here are the steps from the The Transtheoretical Model Stages of Change
- Pre contemplation – this is where you are starting to feel the negative effects of your habit
- Contemplation – this is when you can identify the negative effects and how they are affecting you
- Preparation – this is when you say ‘I will start my diet tomorrow’
- Action – this is when you start your diet
- Continued effort – this is the rest of your life, my friend!
- Or you end up back in the precontemplation stage and go through it again like a samskara
Maybe you don’t know exactly what you want and its hard to focus?
Instead of saying to yourself ‘jee what do I want to do when I grow up?’ and daydreaming about the things you are deciding to cut from the list, look at this book
I agree with her system and I use it for myself about once a year to see how things are going. She does not ask you what you want, instead she asks you to think about what it is you value:
- What do you love?
- What gets you going?
- What makes you feel unloaded?
- What sparks your creativity?
- What turns you on?
- What disgusts you?
- What could you live without? What couldn’t you?
The second half of the book is tons of exercises with questions like these. Instead of focusing in on a goal, you focus on what your values are. Once you have a concrete idea of what it is you value in the world, you will have a narrower focus on what it is you want. It’s a great first step for someone who feels lost to the ocean of opportunity.
My second recommendation, at the point where you have an idea of what you want, is to close your eyes, turn inward into meditation, and then take a few minutes to visualize your life not during the journey but when you get to exactly where you want.
- What does it look like?
- Where are you?
- What does it smell like?
- Who is there?
- What objects are around you?
- What are the textures around you?
- Where is the sun?
As you ask yourself these things try to imagine them. The more questions you ask like this, the stronger your vision will become. At this point you may be asking if I am referring to the law of attraction. Sort of, yes, but without the mysticism.
I think the law of attraction works mostly because it helps you identify what it is you are willing to go out on a limb for. By looking to the end goal and giving it a proper visualization you can focus in on the main things which are important to you and start to work on those things.
For instance if you want to attract a car, you will probably need to know how to drive. Visualize being able to drive and you’ll likely be less scared to take the driving test.
This lady describes the process seamlessly in ten minutes about how she found the perfect real estate for her fitness studio. It’s really cool and helped me with accepting this practice as more than a bunch of wishes to Santa.
Overloaded with responsibilities?
Advice for the helpers
Moms, I am looking at you. Service workers I’m looking at you. Nurses? I’m looking at you too. Single provider for family? Always being the person to reset the router…? It’s all some tough stuff when it comes to moving forward because someone is counting on you.
Well for one, people in the first category I’m looking at you. You know what it is called when you finish the sentence ‘I am (insert title)?’
That’s your ego my friend! It is not an insult to say, ‘that’s your ego.’ Instead, I refer to it as the way you describe yourself and define yourself. We all do it, its part of humanity. For example, when I hear a friend say, ‘I can’t, I’m a mother, I need to take care of them first,’ I hear my friends ego identifying with motherhood.
But she is not just a mother. By her hyper focus on motherhood, she is denying herself other facets of her inner world. To be nothing more than a mother will drive you crazy and your kids will think you’re boring at some point jk jk jk. So, if you are a person who takes care of others at your own expense the answer is easy.
Follow through with prioritizing yourself. It is important to fill your own cup before you can serve others and it will only happen if you consider yourself one of your clients. Easier said than done I know.
For those who have societal burdens
Maybe you do not have other people to look out for you and have to do everything by yourself? Maybe because of student debt? Because of a felony? Because your house burned down? Because you must take 3 buses to work on the other side of town? Because of prejudice in your community?
It is all A LOT. We did not choose the era to be born in, this is the sandbox we were tossed into.
The pressure of modern life is soul crushing for most people in my country unless you are afforded luxuries like a good public education. How can we overcome societies heavy pressure?
For those of you with looming burden finding a goal is the most important thing. Viktor Frankl says in Mans search for meaning,
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
Maybe what you want looks so out of reach its unreasonable?
Hey you, do you also want to go to the moon? It’s been a dream of mine since I was little. I would look outside in the night sky and if I saw a satellite I would yell ‘please, aliens, take me with you!!’ Ok I still do that but I can identify satellites now, so it’s less magical.
I was watching the news recently and saw that one man decided to go to the moon and lifted off the other day! He is the richest man in the world due to his ingenuity, luck and resourcefulness. It must have been weird to become the richest man in the world. I was talking to a friend recently about how its hard to even imagine having that much money.
Most of us never will. If you do, hey send me a tip via cashapp! $royoyoga Hehe
A lot of dreams are far off reach unless you also have the same kind of resourcefulness. But the reality is most of us don’t seriously dream about going to the moon.
We can find reasonable goals by dreaming about having abundance, about living according to our dharma, we’ll be more equipped to do the actual work.
Icarus wanted to fly as high into the atmosphere as he could, but he couldn’t handle the heat of being so close to the sun. We don’t have to fly to the sun to find happiness or meaning.
For you I would suggest using SMART goals
- Time bound
Risks are hard and you don’t want to deal with the prospect of losing something?
I am not a gambling woman, despite having four aces tattooed onto my left foot. Risks scare me especially to put a lot of money on the line. To lose a lot of money to me is to lose a lot of security. I hold the stuff close, I’m a squirrel.
It’s easy for me to see why you wouldn’t want to make the risk.
If this is the case, guess what, there are easy ways to get what you want that won’t potentially hurt you, did you know that?
There are boring ways to get to the point where you want to be. They aren’t quick, they aren’t exciting, but they do the job.
Go the boring way. When the subject of the lottery comes up I tell people, ‘whenever I have the desire to buy a lottery ticket I put a 1$ bill into a box and at the end of the year I have a nest egg. This is more than most people will ever make from playing the lottery.
But its boring. And its not an exciting amount of money. The only thing you lost was the thrill of anticipation and the blow of losing.
When you go through all the boring avenues to get where you want to be, you may also have a better appreciation of where you end up. Many people who win the lottery end up sad, depressed, and even broke again at some point! It is a difficult transition to have such a significant lifestyle change so quickly.
Is there something you don’t want to lose? Go the boring way
You unconsciously want to stay where you are
Heres the thing about holding yourself back, it can feel good. It is nice to be the big fish in a small pond. It is nice to feel cozy all the while ignoring the hard stuff it would take to change. A lot of people won’t tell you that part. It is the easy way not just because you don’t have to do anything, but because you already know how to do it.
To this I would say, please take a moment to appreciate where you are. This is the time for a moment of gratitude. Be grateful for all the things you have achieved because you are where you want to be.
You don’t have to climb a mountain to be happy. Don’t beat yourself up because you hear societies call for ‘the bigger the better the ladder climber’ philosophy.
Winnie the Pooh is a great toaist who loves to stay still. Get inspired on how to chill with the tao of pooh. It was one of my first world religions study guide back in university and its cute too.
Maybe you would say simply, ‘myself’ and none of the above seem quite right
This was the most common answer. What is holding you back? “Myself.” One word. I hear depression in this sentiment which is my own projection. For me when I say myself, there is a ‘should’ in the statement. How can I make myself get out of my way? If ever you end up saying should, by the way, its something you’re shaming yourself about. ‘I should do this I should do that,’ no, you are doing what you need to be doing in the moment.
I don’t even know what to say to this one though, because the more time I take to empathize with this statement the more reasons I can think of for why someone would answer this way:
- It’s a cop out to answering the question because of course it has to do with you, its your own life
- you take a lot of personal responsibility for where your life takes you.
- you see yourself as a hurdle towards your pursuits
- You are mindfully deciding you do not want to go forward, you want to stay where you are
- You unconsciously want to stay where you are
In the the case of A, I like the cut of your jib, partner. Thanks for the engagement. Tip of the hat to you~
In the case of B, Maybe you are too hard on yourself, maybe a perfectionist. may I remind you that this world is full of chaos, things are legitimately random, and you don’t have control of everything in your life. You have no idea what is going to come across, you tomorrow you can’t be ready for everything. Reframe your ‘I stand in my way,’ to ‘I lead the ship I’m just docked right now, ok.’
In the case of C, you are the hurdle as much as you are the jumper. This is the yin and yang of life.
- D) nothing wrong with settling as long as it doesn’t make you feel empty some how! Glad you got to where you want to be, enjoy the view. You don’t have to feel bad about it.
You mistake what is in your control and what is out of your control
Because looking outward to the things you cannot control is going to drive you crazy*
My dog barks at the mail man every day as if this is the day the mail man will listen. How dare the mail man come so close to my door? This happens every single day.
She is mistaking what is in and out of her control. My dog does this a lot.
A lot of idealists want a world which is very different from the gritty ugly complicated world that is our sandbox. I was one of them once, though I’ve fermented in my years of paying attention.
I want to yell to you idealists ‘it isn’t worth it! It won’t change! It’s bigger than you or I! Try to be happy despite it all~’
But you can’t hear it from me, you must realize it yourself. I sure had to realize it. I went nearly insane hoping and campaigning for a reasonable future only to have the rug pulled from under me by the chaotic complicated world I live in.
(a great article which helped me create this next section)
Sanity came from giving up hope that I can change the world. It helped me realize what indeed I do have control over, versus the things I WISH I had control over.
“The wise who control their body, who control their tongue, the wise who control their mind, are indeed well controlled.” (Verse 234, )
Chapter XVII of the Dhammapada (ref. Max Muller’s Wisdom of the Buddha) compiles the teachings of the Buddha and his monastic community on the topic of restraining and dealing with anger:
Anyway here is a list of things you can control
- Your breath
- Your inner thoughts
- Your speed
- Your belief system
- Your values
- Life needs: Drinking enough water, sleep patterns, exercise
- The way you react
- The actions you take
- Letting go of control, acceptance
- The media you choose to consume
- What you let other people know (who you confide in)
- How you present yourself
What is out of your control?
- How others respond
- How you are perceived
- Other peoples belief systems
- Other peoples values
- The way others react
- How others take care of themselves
- What media is produced
- What other people confide in you
- Other people’s lifestyles
- City hall and above
Song to leave you with: click here for rockos modern life: you can’t fight city hall
- City hall and above
HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS IT WAS A BLAST TO WRITE!!!!!
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Royo Yoga strives to tackle real life by incorporating every limb of the yoga tree into self care rituals. From yoga asana focused on emotions to guided visual meditations. One of Royo Yoga’s first values is fun, a part of our lives which can take a seat in the back due to responsibility. With my help we can nurture our inner children and really live in the present to enjoy our lives fully