6 Obstacles Preventing You From Achieving Your Personal Goals

Small chalkboard with the words 'dream big, set goals, and take action.'

External factors can slow your progress, but looking inwards may be the secret to success. (Image: Mudretsov Oleksandr via Dreamstime)

Everybody has personal goals. You may need more money, a promotion, better health, or a more stable relationship. Whatever your end goal, the path to success has many obstacles.

When things don’t go your way, your first instinct may be to blame external obstacles holding you back: the economy, the government, partners, friends, etc. Of course, these external factors can slow your progress, but looking inward may be the secret to success.

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Needless to say, introspection is not easy. Taking ownership of your own mistakes is very difficult. It requires courage because you may uncover uncomfortable truths and realize that you are holding yourself back for the most part. Personal obstacles to success weigh people down throughout their lives without their knowledge. But once you uncover the invisible obstacles to overcome, you may well be on your way to personal freedom and success.

The 6 obstacles making your personal goals unattainable

1. Unhealthy self-esteem

The feeling of inadequacy is one of the biggest obstacles to your success. Being mindful to set realistic goals is okay, but don’t talk yourself out of your dreams. Otherwise, you may stop pursuing achievable goals because you believe you aren’t good enough to reach them.

Be mindful to set realistic goals, but don't talk yourself out of your dreams.
Be mindful to set realistic goals, but don’t talk yourself out of your dreams. (Image: Skypix via Dreamstime)

Besides slowing your progress, negativity is also a mood killer, which may lead to a lack of motivation, depression, or health issues. It may also lead to imposter syndrome, where you feel you are not worthy or qualified for your status or position.

On the other hand, overconfidence may also impede your success. An inflated sense of self-worth may blur your vision because you fail to see the bigger picture or realize the extent of your abilities.

2. Lack of clear goals

Goals play an essential role in your quest for success. If you run your life or career with clear goals, you may end up somewhere. It’s like packing for a destination that you don’t know. 

Clarity is essential for success. In short, what’s your “why”? 

Also, it’s vital to make the right goals using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) technique. 

3. Unreasonable expectations

Everybody has their expectations in life. But are your dreams based on the reality of your resources?

If your dreams are grounded in reality, you may be satisfied. However, this is not to say that you shouldn’t dream big. Dream big, by all means, but it’s essential to know that there will be glitches and obstacles along the way. 

4. Procrastination or laziness

Procrastination is an invisible obstacle that traps many people before realizing it. Sure, there may be underlying causes for procrastination, like depression, trouble focusing, self-criticism, and fear of failure. But you need to address it because, as Edward Young once coined it: “Procrastination is the thief of time.”

On the other hand, laziness may ultimately hinder you from achieving anything. It forces you to remain in your comfort zone or settle for less.

Stay focused and don't let procrastination or laziness hinder you from achieving anything.
Stay focused and don’t let procrastination or laziness hinder you from achieving anything. (Image: Ronstik via Dreamstime)

5. Social and family expectations

The thought patterns that we learn as kids can hamper our growth. Parents sometimes set unrealistic goals for their children, which affects them for the rest of their lives. 

It’s essential to set clear boundaries when it comes to your expectations. That does not mean saying “no” to everything and shutting people out. It means knowing opportunities that will shape your future and those that may not.

6. Perfectionism and overthinking

Trying to be too perfect may hinder your creativity and ability from improving as you go along. 

For instance, most of the products we use are not “perfect” when released. For example, companies release their program or app and then make improvements based on user reviews or feedback. It may be self-defeating to take years to release a perfect product that people don’t need. 

The same goes here — don’t try to perfect your route to success. Know your goals, start your journey, and make improvements as you go. Fear of the unknown is normal, but it should not impede us from taking the first step.

Your deepest fears are significant obstacles in your journey to success, be it fear of ridicule or rejection. It may be easier said than done, but sometimes you must let go of your worries and focus on your goals, and success will be within your reach.

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