Feeling unable to achieve your goals is frustrating and disheartening. It may cause doubt and resentment, which are both unattractive and unhelpful emotions. However, the top-10 things that are keeping you from achieving your dreams may actually be in your control.
Here is a list of 10 relationships, emotions and actions that can slip in the way of your goals if you aren’t careful.
1. Fear of taking chances: This might be the biggest one of all; being afraid to put yourself out there, test your limits and take chances with school, your career or your personal life can be one of the most debilitating things in life. Be bold, be ambitious, but overall just don’t be afraid to take risks—they can be some of the best choices we make.
2. Anxiety: Stress and anxiety over work, friends or family are killers; not only do they keep you from accomplishing your goals, but they’re also bad for your physical health. To stay sane and keep yourself healthy, be sure to leave yourself personal time to unwind. Go for a run, find a comfortable place to sit and read, do something you know brings you to a place of peace. It’s important to give yourself a break from the chaos of everyday life.
3. Chasing a relationship that won’t reciprocate: Don’t hold yourself back waiting for someone to reciprocate an emotional relationship. Give it a shot—maybe two—and then move on, find someone else. Don’t wait around, it’s not worth wasting weeks or months for the slim chance they’ll change their mind.
4. Expectations of finding the perfect significant other: It’s good to hope that you’ll find the person who’s just right for you, but there are limits to the reasonableness of those expectations. Waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect may keep you from seeing the great people already in your life. Relationships take compromise and growth, and no one is actually perfect. Take stock of what’s the most important to you in a partner and focus on finding those traits. Idealism isn’t a crime, but don’t let it keep you from being happy.
5. Friends who don’t have your back when you need them most: It’s easy to be a friend during the good times, but the real test of friendship is whether people are there for you when you’re at your lowest point. If your friends aren’t willing to be there for you through thick and thin, it may not be worth it to keep them around at all.
6. The fantasy that you must be making x amount of money by the year xyz: For people just about to enter the job market one of the biggest stress inducers can be the idea that you have to be earning a certain amount of money by a certain age. Those expectations are both high-pressure and often, unrealistic. Let things run their course; work hard and do your best, but let things go from there. Do define what success is to you early on in your job search. Finding the right job for your passions and your needs is a long process
7. Sentimentality about a previous period that was “the best time of your life”: It’s good to look back on certain times in your life with fondness. But staying focused on the past prevents you from planning for the future, and more importantly, living in the present. Don’t let the past be the highlight of your life,
8. Not being able to say “no”: Being afraid to say “no” to a co-worker, a boss or a friend when you know you simply can’t do what’s been asked of you can be a serious issue. It’s great to want to be helpful but you need to take care of your own needs first. If you have to say no to someone, try offering something more reasonable you can do instead. Don’t overload yourself with other people’s problems. It will never end well.
9. Resentment against old friends, ex-loved ones: Harboring anger and resentment distracts you from what’s important in your life and holds you back. Let old grudges die. That doesn’t mean you need to befriend someone who stabbed you in the back in college or high school, it just means that you need to be able to forgive, forget and move on. You’ll live longer and you’ll be happier.
10. Not being able to take your own advice: Yep, looking at myself this time. It’s usually easy to give advice without actually following it yourself, but always try to practice what you preach—don’t exempt yourself from the good advice you give to other people around you.
Austin Cook is a sophomore at Wake Forest University from Lancaster, Pa. Austin plans to major in political science with a double minor in journalism and French. He is currently the news editor for the university’s student newspaper, the Old Gold & Black. Austin is a passionate writer who also loves playing with his dogs Chloe and Sammy, tennis and debating politics.