Personal growth and self-help are hot topics over the past few years. We are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves, whether it’s through exercise, eating well, or searching for the elusive balance we hear everyone talk about.
When something doesn’t go our way, it’s easy to look outside ourselves for reasons why, but many of the things that prevent us from reaching our goals are actually individual choices and behaviors. Here are five things you may not have thought about that can prevent personal growth.
In any aspect of life, be it image, work, finances, etc., comparison does one of two things — makes you feel better or less than another person. Feeling less than someone else can lead to negative thoughts about yourself, feelings of low self-worth, and even the desire to give up certain aspirations.
Feeling better than someone else is equally as damaging; it causes you to place value judgments on others and your sense of accomplishment and self-worth is directly related to those rankings. It leaves you with an underdeveloped sense of self since you can’t exist without being in relation to someone else.
2. GIVING INTO FEAR
Fear is an extremely successful motivator. It is a primal emotion that is important in our fight-or-flight response and warns us when we may be in danger. While fear can be a potent signal to examine our surroundings, it can also cause us to become paralyzed in situations that aren’t particularly life-threatening.
3. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Having high expectations can be a good thing, but make sure that they are realistic. By setting the bar too high, you run the risk of disappointment. If you’re not in the place to accept and process disappointment, you can easily start to view yourself as a failure, which makes it harder to get up and try again.
Perfectionism is a great example of having unrealistic expectations. The inability to accept anything less than perfect will guarantee a lifetime of stress, comparison, and preoccupation with the unachievable.
4. UNDERVALUING YOURSELF
The less you believe in your own value as a person, the less others will. Stop undervaluing yourself at work, with others, and especially with yourself. Learn to value your time. Ask for what your time is worth so that you are compensated fairly.
5. THE “WHEN I’M _____” PROBLEM
We are all familiar with this problem. It’s the “I’ll be happy when I’m ______” or “I’ll eat a cookie after I’ve worked out 6 days this week.”
If you’re not happy or satisfied now, you probably won’t be when you hit the arbitrary goals you set for yourself.
Erin is a NASM-certified personal trainer, and a writer dedicated to focusing on physical, emotional, and mental health. When she’s not writing, she’s trying out new desserts in Chicago and relaxing with her husband Neil and her dog Donut.