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The Truth About Why You’re Not Going After What You Want In Life

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Are you going after what you want in life or is there something holding you back from creating the life you want?  

Do you start new endeavors, but eventually come up against a wall that stops you from moving forward?

Maybe it feels as if your interest fades, or life gets busy, or you start questioning if it’s what you really wanted in the first place. I’ve been there.

When I decided I was going to start a blog, there was a part of me that didn’t think I would actually follow through and do it.  I didn’t have a clue what blogging entailed or what I would even write about.

One thing I did have a clue about was the fact that my track record in terms of seeing ideas to fruition was not good.  In fact, it was non-existent.  Up until that point, I’d spent my career in the fashion industry, going through the motions in jobs that did not fulfill me.  I’d had inklings of different career paths I could pursue in the past, but never had I even made it past the idea phase on any of them. 

I had definitely thought about it A LOT.  I brainstormed ideas.  I spent countless hours online researching things like “how to make money from home” and “the best side hustles for stay-at-home moms”.  I scrolled through social media and felt pangs of jealousy when I saw others going after what they wanted, and I had many many tearful conversations about my confusion on this topic and lack of direction, but especially about my lack of action.

It wasn’t until the pandemic hit and everything in life was put on hold, that I was able to gain some clarity.  I decided that I was done with letting life happen.  I could carry on with my online research and learning until my head exploded, but if I wasn’t going to do anything with this knowledge, then I was never going to create a life that felt fulfilling to me.  

So back to my idea of starting a blog.  I knew that I wanted to do something online, I’d always loved writing, and the idea of blogging was exciting to me!  

I felt in my gut that blogging was the first step in my journey to finding my purpose & passion in life.  There was a little voice inside telling me that I just needed to take action and it would lead me in the right direction.  I decided to listen to my intuition on this and see where this path would take me.

Once you set a goal that excites you, it’s important to also be open to possibility.  See what unfolds along the way.

Being the pragmatic, process-driven person that I am, I thought taking an online course on “how to start a successful blog” would be the logical place to start.  This live week-long course was going to walk me through the steps of starting a blog and on the last day of the course, I would actually put my blog site live.  Action steps – this sounded like exactly what I needed!

Ok, well what I found out was that there is a lot that goes into starting a successful blog, much more than can be learned in a week!  It wasn’t until months later that I was ready to launch the site, but what I learned on Day 4 of the course changed everything for me.

On Day 4, the instructor talked about why most bloggers fail to succeed, but the discussion was not specific to blogging.  It was this –

The #1 reason most people give up on their goals and how to change this in order to go after what you want in life

It sounded like a deep topic, but it was so simple.  So very simple that it should not have felt so tremendous to me, but it was everything I had been missing up until that point.

Do you know the #1 reason most people give up on their goals?


FEAR of failure.

FEAR of what other people will think.

FEAR of all the negative consequences if things don’t work out the way they want.

This may seem kind of obvious and I get that it’s also totally normal to experience feelings of fear, especially when you are stepping out of your comfort zone in order to pursue new endeavors.  

But the more pertinent question then is, how do you overcome your fear in order to keep chasing your goals and dreams?  

At this point in the discussion, I was expecting a bulleted list of different strategies that would help one overcome fear.  But what I got was this instead.

You don’t overcome your fear.  Rather, you keep moving forward despite your fear by controlling your thoughts about it.

This is when it all came together for me.  MINDSET.  Everything leads back to mindset.

I felt such a deep connection to the mindset discussion that I knew I needed to learn everything I could about it. I became obsessed with books and podcasts on how to control and cultivate a positive mindset and the way this impacts all aspects of your life.

It changed my perspective so profoundly that I knew this is what I would write about on my blog.  If I could learn to manage my mindset in order to find more purpose, joy, and confidence, and thus create a more fulfilling life for myself, then I could help others do the same.

Things were starting to unfold, as I’d had faith they would when I’d decided to listen to my gut and take my first action steps…

Related: “How Understanding Growth vs Fixed Mindset Can Transform Your Life”

How to move past fear to create the life you want

But how do you manage your thoughts around fear so you can continue to pursue the goals and dreams you have?

Our feelings are controlled by our thoughts, so if you can learn to think different thoughts, then you can change your feelings, including the feeling of fear.  

Here are some thoughts that may help to change your feelings so that fear does not hold you back. Try focusing on these thoughts below instead of the normal “I’m going to fail”, “what will people think?”, “who am I to do this?”, etc.

Thought #1:  Fear is normal, but it’s not the full picture.

The Truth About Why You're Not Going After What You Want In Life_pin

If you’ve ever taken the initiative to start something new, then at some point you have probably started to question your endeavor and to think twice about continuing your pursuit because you felt scared.  Sometimes, there are legit reasons to give up or change course – financial circumstances, fading interest, a change in your personal life – but fear usually isn’t a good reason.  Not unless it is coming from deep down inside where your intuition is telling you something is not right.

That’s because for the most part, fear is just your brain trying to protect you and fear lives solely in your mind. Fear is an imposter telling you that anything you’ve achieved thus far has simply been due to luck and triggers thoughts of “who am I to do <insert whatever here>?”.  It is a pushy salesman painting a picture that upsells the negatives, downplays or ignores the positives, and causes you to play a pessimistic game of “what ifs” about doomsday scenarios that will likely never come to be.

Related: “Is Bravery Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway?”

Thought #2:  Everyone who has achieved success has felt fear. 

Remember you are not alone in this journey.  Others have been where you are now.

We’re taught that we should not compare ourselves to others, but sometimes that’s just what you need.  Look to others who are doing what you want to do, but who are further along on their journey.  Realize that they have been exactly where you are, full of fear, self-doubt, and uncertainty, but they were able to move past it.  Be inspired and learn from them.

Also, you can find support in people who are in the same stage as you, maybe just starting out.  Bounce ideas off one another, get motivation to keep pushing forward, discuss your fears and get help sorting out what is real and what’s not.  

Thought #3:  I must fail in order to eventually succeed.

Have you ever heard that failure earns success?  You will experience some “failures” along the way to achieving what you want and that’s actually just what you need.  Trying out different things and finding what works, and what doesn’t, is all part of the process.

Let’s say you design and create beautiful handmade jewelry that you want to start selling.  You decide to market it by running ads on Facebook to drive traffic to your website or Etsy shop.  After a few months of doing this, you’ve spent a bunch of money on advertising, but you haven’t increased your sales at all.  You might see this as a failure or you might choose to see it as knowledge of what doesn’t work well for your business.  So you try another method.

Failure serves to teach you.  You gained valuable knowledge on the ins and outs of Facebook ads that you can possibly use down the road and you also learned that it is not the best marketing method for your business.  As you scratch “facebook ads” off your list of ideas, you are narrowing your focus further to find what will eventually work and lead to success.  

Thought #4:  What others think of me is about them, not me. 

You are probably having thoughts along the lines of “what will everyone think of me trying to do this?” or “people will think I’m ridiculous or wasting my time”.  I’ve certainly had thoughts like this.

There are many tips that can help you learn ways to stop worrying about what other people think.

First and foremost, it’s important to realize that others’ opinions of you are based on their perspectives, created by their own limiting beliefs and insecurities.  They often have nothing to do with you.  Also, what works in their life is not necessarily what’s going to be best for you.

Furthermore, remind yourself that people spend way more time thinking about themselves then about what others are doing.  You are your own worst critic.  Other people are probably not thinking too deeply about what you’re doing in the first place.  If they do express an opinion about it, it’s likely they haven’t given it that much thought, certainly not as much thought as you have!

“Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.”

Robin S. Sharma

Thought #5:  There is a reason I wanted to do this.

When all else fails, remember why you started down this path in the first place.  WHY did you want to undertake this new endeavor or pursue this path?  Everyone has a bad day here and there, but when you decide to make a big change in your life, there is usually a deeper reason.

Were you unhappy in your relationship, your financial situation, your health?  Did you feel within yourself that you wanted to help other people improve their lives?

Think back all the way to the beginning of your journey.  If the reasons why you started are still there and you still feel a connection to them, then that is your motivation to continue.  

Bring attention to your WHY every day.  Stick a post-it note on your computer, a vision board on your wall, set up a recurring note that pops up on your phone, make it into an affirmation you say when you wake up each morning.

Do whatever you need to do to keep that WHY front and center and keep moving forward.

Manage how you think about it so you don’t give in to the fear trying to hold you back from creating the life you want.

Related: “Why You Should NOT Focus On Your Goals (but these 3 things instead)”

Going After What You Want

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9 thoughts on “The Truth About Why You’re Not Going After What You Want In Life”

    1. Hi Amanda,
      Congratulations! Things always feel more scary in our minds than they are in reality. They say action begets confidence and it is so true. Once you start taking action to go after what you want, you see that you gain more confidence in the things that once felt super scary to you and see that you are capable.

  1. I enjoyed reading this. It sounds a lot like what I have been going through for the past twenty years. I’ve changed my career from not being happy working for a huge publishing company to becoming an Early Childhood teacher, which I loved. Now I’m blogging about working with my daughter at home since the pandemic started. I still have fear about starting my own thing, but I am passionate about helping moms!

    1. Hi Dana,
      Sounds like you are taking steps in the right direction! Action begets confidence. It’s so hard to take those first steps out of your comfort zone, but once you start taking action and seeing results (and that nothing terrible happened), you will have more confidence to take further steps towards your goals.

      Good luck,

  2. This is so true. Fear can stop us from doing so much. It is so scary moving through that fear but it is also so amazing looking back and knowing you pushed through

  3. This is such a great post! My favorite point in all of this is that what others think of me is about them, not me. Nothing truer has ever been spoken, and it’s such a hard thing to continuously remind myself of.

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