Is Your Mindset Holding You Back? 5 Ways to Find Out

With goal setting or achieving anything at all, bumps are bound to come up along the way.  Your mindset can get in the way at times because your subconscious doesn’t always agree with what you consciously want.

“One reason why people don’t achieve their goals is because they don’t know what part of them choose the goal.”  ~ John Kehoe

The best way to keep things smooth along your journey to greatness is to start by recognizing the great trickster that triggers these speed bumps.

Here are 5 ways to recognize when your mindset is holding you back:

#5: Lots of Reasons and Excuses show up.

Excuses for not doing what you know you should be doing, but still aren’t doing.  Maybe you’ve had a goal to lose weight. You know there isn’t any “secret” to losing weight.  The real secret to losing weight is to get your butt to the gym and stop eating so much; but following through takes more than will power – so you never bother to go.

If your mind is making up excuses to stop you from doing what you know you should be doing, then recognize that this is the great trickster at work.  That mass of molecules between your ears doesn’t like change – so it’s going to do whatever it can to trick you into staying the same.  Just ask yourself who’s in really in control: you or your mind?

#4. Lack of Consistency or Self Discipline.

I’m not a big fan of the world “self-discipline” because in my opinion it implies that self-discipline is work and it really isn’t. Self discipline just requires thinking.

It means thinking about what you want and then going out and doing what’s necessary to get it.

One way to do that is by intentionally creating your day.  Instead of letting your day create you, you create it.  There’s no magic here, just a simple system.  Start by crafting a daily plan.  Craft a plan everyday by writing out the 5 most important actions you’ll take that day.  Do this everyday and you’ll be on your way to greatness.

#3. The words “I can’t,” show up.

Maybe you’re really determined, you don’t get any reasons or excuses – you just do what you need to do. You’re consistent and you get results.  But maybe, just maybe you get to the point where you hit a wall – a stumbling block or an obstacle and this little voice peeps up and says, “I can’t.”

That little voice can transform a resourceful person into a frustrated and defeated person.  Yes, the mind has that much power.

This tiny little voice comes from a deeper level.  It comes from not being worthy or not being good enough. At some point you’ve got let go of these old ways of thinking because they don’t support you.  The real question you want to ask yourself is this: If you’re not worthy enough now, then when will you be?

#2. Feelings of Doubt or Uncertainty

Starting something new and playing with the unfamiliar can be awkward at first. If you set goals that break new ground then you’re bound to feel doubtful at times.

Just keep this in mind. If you’re going to persist and achieve your goals then you MUST overcome these feelings of doubt.

“If you do not expect it, you will not find the unexpected, for it is hard to find and difficult.” ~ Heraclitus, 500 B.C.

You want to put yourself in a state of expectation.  You want to expect good things in your life because when you expect good things, they usually show up.

#1. Self-Sabotage

See this video I put together for Jay @ for the last way to recognize when your mind is holding you back:


  • Ideas With A Kick

    Reply Reply December 14, 2009

    Hey Steve,

    I like the fact that you focus a lot on identifying patterns in thinking and emotions, which can give you clues about a limiting mindset. I think this works very well, and every person can benefit a lot from becoming more aware of her inner world and seeing the patterns.


  • Steve

    Reply Reply December 14, 2009

    Hey Eduard,

    It’s a great place to start. I mean there are always patterns in behavior that we can go to. We can look at how people behave and act, but ultimately (as I’m sure you know) those behavioral patterns stem from internal patterns in the ways we think and feel.

    I see that you’re a Communication Coach. It’s great to meet you Eduard,


  • John

    Reply Reply December 15, 2009

    Hey Steve,

    I love constructive and optimistic thinking, but in the area of doubt/uncertainty, I suffer from an anti-pride complex. There is an evil invisible line many people draw where a down person is encouraged, but if they gain confidence, the “beware prideful/arrogance” voices (can) try to knock you back down. Add to that the “someone else has probably already done it” nay-sayers. Is there an art or method to find that balance of honest confidence on a task/topic?

    I was also curious where you would place “lack of focus”. I’ve become addicted (in a good way) to podcasts on a wide list of subjects to learn from and I’m great on the idea phase of projects, but I find myself wanting to do too many things. Is that just still self-sabotage?

  • Steve

    Reply Reply December 15, 2009

    It really depends John.

    I’ve found that when there are times when I feel really confident and know that what I’m doing is making a difference AND still happen to self-sabotage my efforts in some way that there is a deeper belief or program running that is at the source of this self-sabotage.

    But that’s not always the case. Let me explain with an example.

    Over the past few months I’ve hit at a plateau in terms of my blog. It’s been steadily creeping up in traffic and my following is growing but it seems to have flatlined. I’m not getting the big jumps in traffic like I did say even 4 months ago.

    So first thing I did was look at my actions. What am I doing to advance my blog? What actions am I taking?

    What I realized is that my actions were not congruent with my bigger goals for my blog. So the next obvious question was, “well, how do I feel about my bigger goals?”

    And when I examined my bigger goals I realized I didn’t feel quite right about them. In other words, I wasn’t being completely honest with myself. My desire felt slightly off in one direction from where my goals were.

    So I’ve made some adjustments and I still am – to get my goals in alignment with my desire. That’s the real secret because almost nothing can stop someone who is absolutely in love with what they do.

    As for your second question it’s too hard to say without knowing more information. For starters, do you have a crystal clear goal that you’re 100% in alignment with?

  • John

    Reply Reply December 16, 2009

    Sorry, I think it is more of having too many crystal clear goals. I’m an idea kind of guy and I started blogging on politics a few years back and for every issue I research more on, I find more and more things to learn about… which spawns more ideas. Maybe it is a desire to not look stupid, or compensation for always feeling like I was two steps behind everyone else. I sure am learning a lot, but my head is getting full.

    Normally, not much is that time sensitive, but I’ve recently been forming a VERY clear and unique perspective for a book, and I want to finish it for obvious market sweet spots in the next year or so.

  • Kostas

    Reply Reply December 16, 2009

    Hey Steve. can this article help me at getting rid off of bad thoughts…like unpleasant places and negative thinking and believing that everything around is really crappy??? if it doesn’t please help :D

  • Sandra Hendricks

    Reply Reply December 20, 2009

    Hi Steve,

    The things you said here sounded so much like my idea, that I had to share it with you. If you don’t post it, I understand…I just wanted to share the idea with you :)


    Why do we have such difficulty making up our minds, and why are we reluctant to take action toward what we want? During a process of elimination, we use a line of reasoning that I call “I do, but I don’t thinking”. While attempting logic, we use this thinking procedure automatically – we use it while trying to make choices and to avoid making decisions. We can witness, “I do, but I don’t thinking” frequently throughout our day, if we are watchful. Have you ever caught yourself following this train of thought?
    A dress hanging in the store window catches, your eye and you think, I want that dress, but I don’t need it, my closet is full of dresses that I never wear.  You’re in Best Buy watching football on a big screen television and you think, I sure would like to have that in my living room, but I don’t want to pay that much money.  Your odometer just hit 175,000 miles and you think, I need a new car, but I don’t want the payments. You’re watching T.V., a Dairy Queen commercial comes on, and you think, I want some ice cream, but I don’t feel like going uptown.

    When things we want to do, do not correspond with the things we need, we wrestle with uncertainty. We want something, but we don’t feel a need for it. We need something, but we don’t want to take the necessary steps to get it. We would like to have something, but we are unwilling to apply ourselves. Hesitation takes place, when what you want to do, does not measure up to what you need.  
    This reasoning can cause procrastination – when we are unable to make up our minds, we hesitate to take action.  In addition, the odds-on making a poor choice is enormous when we are thinking, “I do, but I don’t”.  Indifference, brought about by this kind of thinking, can cause us to dismiss what we want, and deny what we need – “I need a new car, but I don’t want the payments.”

    “Opposing thoughts confuse the issue, and adversity is the outcome.”

  • Nakul

    Reply Reply January 27, 2013

    Now, what do I do about my mindset? How do I change it?

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field