9 Silly Reasons Are Preventing You From Achieving Goals

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Are you struggling to achieve your goals? Do you sometimes wonder how, in the world, successful people make it all the way through, manage to complete their tasks, and achieve their objectives?

It sure is difficult, but it’s still possible if you know what’s stopping you from achieving your goals and start doing something about it.

In this article, we’re going to highlight the barriers and challenges that may be holding you back from achieving your goals and help you understand how some people succeed and others don’t.

And hopefully, it will inspire you to not give up on your dreams—for some silly reasons that you could easily watch out for—and chase them all the way through.

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post at no additional cost to you.

These Things Are Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals

1. Irrational fears

The number one thing that’s stopping people from achieving their goals is fear.

The fear of not being good enough, of not being worthy, of people’s reactions, of being judged or misunderstood; the fear of failure, of compromising, the fear of change… and the list goes on and on.

And it’s mostly irrational and silly if you think about it.

When fear comes into our lives and hijacks our attention and energy, it can be paralyzing if we can’t get rid of it.

And sometimes we aren’t really conscious of our fears. So dig deep into your subconscious and find out what’s really scaring you. There’s always something there, and it’s never worth throwing your dreams for.

2. Procrastination

“I’ll start next month.”.. “I’ll start when I’m really ready”… or worse, “I’ll start someday!”

We’ve all said something like this before. And you know what happens when you procrastinate on doing something? Chances are you will forget completely about it.

Procrastination is another big thing that’s stopping people from achieving their goals and being productive. So what you need to keep in mind is that the best time to do something is now, at this very moment. If you postpone it to another time, you most likely won’t do it at all.

[Here’s an article on How to stop procrastination]

3. Making excuses

When your brain decides not to do something, it starts giving you all kinds of excuses that you believe and hold on to, as if your life depends on it.

Let’s say you want to start going to the gym to lose some weight or to be healthier in general… if you don’t act right away and start thinking about it, you’ll find yourself making all kinds of excuses:

  • I don’t really have much time;
  • I have other priorities right now;
  • I’m really tired these days, I’ll start next month;
  • It’s very expensive;
  • I’ll end up quitting anyway…

People can be so creative at making excuses that they’ll find one no matter what.

Related: How to stop being lazy and unmotivated.

4. Getting discouraged by the challenges

What's stopping you from achieving goals

People sometimes underestimate the required work to get to some point. And when the challenges surprise them, they get destabilized and throw everything away.

Getting all pumped up and motivated with a really nice idea isn’t enough to make it happen.

What needs to be done is anticipate the required effort and challenges that will eventually come at a certain point.

When you are mentally prepared for the upcoming obstacles, you’ll find it easy to bounce right back on track and continue towards your goal.

5. Self-sabotage

Yes, that’s a real thing!

Self-sabotage is when you undermine your own plans in order to stay where you are—in your comfort zone—where you feel safe.

People self-sabotage for many reasons, maybe because they feel they’re not deserving, or they’re afraid of change, or they don’t want to handle the new responsibilities that come with this new goal. And they mostly do it unconsciously.

Dr. Judy Ho, author of Stop Self-Sabotage says that self-sabotage happens when the urge to reduce threats surpasses the desire to achieve goals.

Those threats are the negative aspects of goals that are often associated with new responsibilities and challenges. This can represent an alteration of the physical and psychological comfort that we’re in.

So what we do is sabotage our way to achieving goals.

6. Setting unrealistic goals

Sometimes people get really excited about something—for example, after watching a motivational speech about changing their lives—and then start setting these huge goals that they want to achieve.

I want to read a book every week! Yes, maybe it is possible for some people to read a book every week with no problem at all, but not for someone who works from 9 to 5 and has a ton of other responsibilities that come with family and children.

Don’t get me wrong I think a good challenge once in a while is great because it makes us push our limits. I love the saying “Aim for the moon if you miss you can always land on stars”; there’s nothing wrong with having big dreams.

However, if you expect something unrealistic to happen and it doesn’t, the bummer and disappointment can make you give up on everything.

7. Low self-confidence

What you think about yourself and what you are capable of is a very important part of the process of achieving goals.

People who have self-doubt, insecurities, or low self-esteem are less likely to achieve their goals.

An increasing body of research demonstrates that one’s impression of ability or self-confidence is the primary mediating construct of achieving goals.

In simple words, when you believe you are capable of accomplishing a certain goal, you will accomplish it!

8. Perfectionism

Trying to accomplish things perfectly may seem like a nice idea, perhaps you may even think that it’s necessary for success. But wanting everything to be perfect is not realistic at all.

Yes, you can be excellent at what you do and produce high-quality results. You see, excellence is something, and perfectionism is something else.

Some perfectionists are somehow proud to be so, because of the positive connotation that the word “perfect” has. But what they don’t know is that they’re harming themselves more than they’re doing any good.

When you strive for perfection, you’re highly critical and you stress more about all the little things that could go wrong. This can make it hard to achieve goals because you want everything to be flawless, and that’s very unrealistic.

9. Focusing on the goal itself

Like Reggie Rivers says in a TEDx talk “our goals are things that are outside of our control,” so what we need to do instead is “focus on the behavior rather than the goal.”

When you set a goal that you want to achieve, whether it’s to lose some weight, learn a new language, or improve your business, nothing magical will happen there if you stay focused on the goal.

What you need to focus on is the process that is going to lead you there, the commitment, and the discipline needed to succeed. That’s what really matters!

Related: 50 Of The Most Inspirational Quotes About Achieving Goals


It may seem a little negative to focus on what’s stopping us from achieving our goals, but being aware of the challenges and the barriers that sometimes are of our own creation is the first step that is going to lead us toward our goals.

So think about it for a second…What’s preventing your success?

Is it the fear of trying something new? Or the idea of not being able to do everything perfectly? Is it the lack of planning and preparation for what’s coming along the way? Or maybe personal barriers that you keep putting in your own way, consciously or unconsciously?

So, what’s getting in your way right now? Make a conscious decision to get rid of it!

In the next article, we’re going to talk about what you can do to overcome the obstacles stopping you from achieving your goals.

Do you relate to some of these? Tell us in the comments!

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Ghada, Founder of PsychEducated. Ph.D. in school psychology. Teacher of French and Spanish. Wife and mother of two little ones.
Articles: 16


  1. It’s so true that we need to focus on the behavior that leads us to our goal. Staying consistent and empowering ourselves along the way, even when things get tough, is crucial 🙂

    • Thank you, I’m glad to hear this.
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