5 Mental Habits That are Holding You Back

Sometimes, even if we do all the right things, we still fall short. Something is still just in the way and we can’t quite put our finger on it…

Habits are a hot topic in our lives, but often we put so much focus on external habits, and we don’t think about what’s going on inside our heads to keep us from being happier and even reaching our goals. So much of success and accomplishment starts internally with mindset and how we choose to see the world, yet the focus of our efforts is physical.

You may be trying harder than you have to get stuff done, and with a little awareness and tweaks in your mindset you can get where you want to be.


“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

It’s easier than ever to compare ourselves to others. Comparison puts our focus on what we don’t have and completely ignores all the strengths we bring to the table. We have bright and shiny Instagram feeds to compare our lives to, super successful bloggers and entrepreneurs that are YOUNGER than us and seemingly so much more successful. We craft this image of ourselves and others that is unattainable and unrealistic because all we see of others is their highlight reel.

Comparison holds you back and here’s how: it’s not useful.

The truth of the matter is, your strengths will always be your strengths. You can take classes and use resources to to get better at one thing or another, but all the work you do still makes your strengths stronger. So what does that mean for you?

Instead, focus on your positive attributes. What do you bring to the table that others don’t? You have strengths that add value and make you interesting. Celebrate and focus on those things.


“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

I have always admired people that have so much confidence in their abilities and aren’t plagued by self-doubt. As an INFP (see what your Myers-Briggs personality type is here), self-doubt is a trademark hindrance for any type of productivity For me,  self-doubt is paralyzing and keeps me from doing anything but sit in front of my project, frustrated and defeated. Self doubt is an important part of the creative process because it keeps you looking at your work with a critical eye. A little goes a long way with self-doubt, and it’s easy to let it overpower our thought process and keep us from taking risks.

Self doubt holds you back and here’s how: it keeps you from doing. 

Instead, give value to your accomplishments. I remember reading Harry Potter when Hermione is talking to Harry about the amazing ways he defeated Voldemort again and again and Harry says “That was just luck! It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had (insert magical tool)!” Us HP fans know that absolutely wasn’t true and Harry’s fictional accomplishments were events to be celebrated. Just because the circumstances may have been right, or because you worked years on your craft and finally see success does not take away from your accomplishments or the hard work you put in.

This is not to be confused with being arrogant or cocky, but taking a minute to give yourself some love in the way of “I did a great job with X thing, and I am proud of my accomplishments. It was a success and that’s what I was going for.” You could even reach out to a friend that is known for being blatantly honest and ask them about the things you’re doubting, and listening to someone who’s honesty you respect will help you see that your irrational self-doubt is holding you back.



“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” – Charles F. Glassman

If you find yourself riddled by negative thoughts, you’re not alone. Our brains are wired to learn best from bad experiences, but when the bad experiences aren’t always related to life or death situations (like that one mean comment you got), how can we shift our thinking to focus on the positive?

Negative thoughts hold you back and here’s how: they make simple tasks more difficult.

The best way to fight negative thoughts is to practice mindfulness. One initial negative thought will spur more negative thoughts and perpetuate the negativity in our brains. This makes our minds a toxic place for creativity, positivity, and focus. When these thoughts arise, acknowledge them rather than push them away and be grateful for them. Mentally thank these negative thoughts for coming to light, and truly believe your gratefulness. This exercise may not feel impactful, but meeting each negative thought with positivity will create different (positive) responses in our body for these negative thoughts and break the negativity cycle.



“When we blame, we give away our power.” – Greg Anderson

We all know that person that blames everyone and everything for the bad in their life. You know who wants to be around those people? No one. Blame externalizes our problems and keeps us complacent in our daily struggles. When we blame, we give away our ability to change our circumstances and rise above them.

Blaming others holds you back and here’s how: it helps you make excuses.

Mark Manson said it best: “There’s a difference between blaming someone else for your situation and them being responsible for your situation. Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you.” Blaming others, circumstances, or situations only keep you from moving forward. It’s a way for you to make excuses for yourself to not be productive, to not create something amazing, and to not be better. And you know what? Nobody cares. People may sympathize with your situation, understand your frustrations, and listen to you vent. But at the end of the day, none of us lead perfect, conflict-free lives. Some of us lucked out in one way or another, but that’s the way things happen and we need to take responsibility and move forward.

If you find yourself blaming others often, ask yourself “What could I have done to improve this situation?” You will likely find that there are steps you could have taken to mitigate issues and this exercise will empower you to proactively think about situations in the future.


“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective of success.” Ellen DeGeneres

I grew up playing sports and that alone was instrumental in making me who I am today. Failure is something I encountered daily, and each time I failed I learned a better way to catch a ball or steal a base. Public failure (even if only in front of 10 parents) is one of the best medicines for success there is because those lessons are the ones you don’t forget. It humbles you and prepares you to do things differently and better, ideally, in the future.

Being afraid to fail holds you back and here’s how: you don’t make as many mistakes, so you learn less from your work. 

The only way we know how to be better versions of ourselves is to fail. Fail over and over and over. We don’t know that something isn’t effective until we fail. We have the opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes, but at the end of the day the most memorable lessons are from those where we’ve failed. I’ve met so many amazing and wonderful people that are capable of so much. Some of them could start an incredible Youtube channel, be writers or comedians, but they don’t. You know why? It’s because they’re afraid of failure. Don’t be one of those people. Fail in a big, big way. Then fail again.

I can honestly say some of these changes in mental habits can make a huge difference in your life. There is no reason to show yourself anything but love and look to positivity to make an impact in your goals and overall happiness. The solution is simple, but not easy. Overcoming these toxic mental habits take time and energy, but your body and your work will thank you!

Thanks for stopping by!



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