Five Habits That Keep You From Achieving Your Goals

For every successful novelist, blogger, business owner, Olympian, inventor, and innovator you can name, there are countless individuals who never made it to the top of their game.

While luck and talent play an important part in these success stories, these individuals have ultimately succeeded because they have gotten out of their own way.  They have conquered these five bad habits that can keep even the most talented individual from achieving greatness:

The Five Habits That Keep You From Achieving Your Goals

1. Failing to plan.

You could have any number of reasons for indulging in this bad habit, including feeling overwhelmed and confused about your goal.  It may seem easier to just continue along the course you are on, relying on whatever infrastructure you have already built, rather than bring everything to a stop so you can spend some time planning.

But it’s important to remember that failing to plan is basically the same as planning to fail.

No matter where you are in the process, you will need to periodically take some time for brainstorming and planning sessions to understand what you want to do and how you intend to get there.  Otherwise, you may not know who is at the helm of your endeavor, but it’s certainly not you.

2. Going with the flow.

We are all programmed by society to avoid making waves and to try to please others.

While these habits are well-suited to a classroom and some types of jobs, they will never help anyone achieve big goals.

Rather than simply accepting a situation as is, successful innovators are willing to be disruptive and ask for what they need and want.  Unless you were already born into privilege, “the flow” is never going to run in your direction.  So get over your fear of offending and take control of your goals. No one else will do it for you.

3. Single-mindedness.

hitting financial goals

Make sure you achieve your financial goals by avoiding these habits.

It pays to be determined when pursuing your goal, but single-mindedness can make you forget that success can come in many forms.

For example, a freelance writer who dreams of being a novelist might shoot herself in the foot by turning down assignments that come her way to give herself more time to write fiction.  This writer is giving up a sure way to make money writing to focus on a gamble.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to focus on your specific goal, always remember that careers can take many different shapes.


Be open to the possibilities that come your way, whether or not they fit inside your pre-determined idea of success.

4. Refusing to take risks.

It can be hard to step away from your comfort zone, particularly if you feel like you’re well established wherever you are.

But there is no way to grow without taking risks, and that means you might lose.  Holding on to the safety of your status quo is a perfectly reasonable decision to make, but it’s not the way to reach your goals.

Accept the fact that you might try and fail.

5. Not believing in yourself.

Actually succeeding at something can be intimidating.

For many of us, we mentally hedge our bets by assuming that it won’t really happen or by downplaying any success we have already had.  We protect ourselves from the “inevitable” failure by pretending all along that we knew it was pie in the sky dreaming.

But this kind of thinking is a good way to make sure that you never achieve your goals.  There are going to be many nay-sayers who don’t believe you can do it, so don’t add to it by being one of them.

Be confident about what you want and how you will do it.

The Bottom Line

If you want to achieve your big dreams, make sure you identify the habits that are holding you back.  Knowing yourself and your weaknesses will give you a leg up on the path to your goals.

This is a guest article from One Money Design.

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Published or updated July 26, 2014.


  1. Great article, I recently stopped being single-minded and my goals began to appear in different forms than I originally believed they would !

  2. This article is true of many things in life. I really so need to get a plan together for the future or my blog so I know the true direction I want to go.

  3. “This writer is giving up a sure way to make money writing to focus on a gamble.”

    But what if it is the gamble that is that young writer’s goal? How do they achieve that goal without focusing on that ‘gamble’?

  4. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    I would add giving up too early or not knowing when you should cut your losses.

  5. So true. I admit that I am guilty of some of negative factors mentioned especially number 2. The level of failure is different to each individual yet the determination and persistence to succeed should be the same. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I struggle with #4 – as I’ve gotten older I’m so much more risk averse than I was when I was in my 20s! But I’m pushing past it by having a plan for dealing with those risks. :)

  7. I think single-mindedness is a HUGE thing for so many people. get over yourselves! :)

  8. I’ve suffered several years from the number 5 and it was very difficult to achieve the goals I’ve set, I think it’s one of the negative aspects that holds you back the most.

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