Three Things Holding You Back

Melanie Green


black iPhone 7
black iPhone 7

Have you ever felt stuck like you're not progressing as fast as you would like? I think we've all been there. We all get really motivated and want to be productive and get something accomplished, but then we find ourselves feeling like we're ankle-deep in mud as we try to push forward. In this post, I'm going to go over the top 3 things that are probably holding you back and how you can overcome them. These top 3 are the most common I have found among a variety of people, including myself. Overcoming these hindrances is what separates those who are successful from those who remain stuck in the mud.

Number 3

The third top thing holding you back is your attitude or your outlook on life. Attitude is everything. My grandma used to have a lot of sayings, but this one has always stuck with me. She used to tell me to get out of bed every morning so the devil says, "Oh shit, she's awake." I used to laugh so much when she used to say this, but as an adult I get it! Get up every morning with intention. If you wake up knowing you're going to do your best no matter what is thrown at you, how can you possibly lose? Does this mean you should wake up smiling and hearing birds chirping every morning? BAH!

Life isn't a Disney movie people. Most of us wake up with hellacious morning breath, crazy hair, and if you have kids you will likely be asked 10 questions the first five minutes after opening your eyes and possibly have to diffuse a situation before getting them off to school. What I mean is that you should embrace life every morning. Be as prepared as you can. It doesn't matter if you are a corporate lawyer, a teacher, or a stay-at-home mom. Know what is on your plate each day. How do you do that? One word, plan. Plan what you can plan for. How do you do this? Well, I'm glad you asked.

You need to find a way that works for you, no one else. It's your life. No one knows you better than yourself. If that means stocking up on sticky notes and making a section of your bathroom mirror your attitude adjustment, do it! Write motivational quotes, write your to-do list the night before, and write important meetings and events. If you like planners, get a planner that works for you. If you can't find one then contact me letting me know what you really need or want and I'll make one for you! Find a calendar app that includes all the things! I use Artful Agenda. What I like about this app is seamlessly syncs the app on my phone to the desktop version. It has beautiful covers you can choose from. It has a month, week, and day layout, digital stickers, to-do and priority lists, water trackers, color coding, and more.

I also have a calendar whiteboard in my kitchen, and one in my closet. The one in the kitchen is for the family and the one in the closet is for me and my husband. It helps everyone be intentional with our day-to-day activities and planning.

You also need to get in a positive frame of mind. If this means downloading an inspirational app on your phone, do it. If it means posting motivational posters or sticky notes in strategic places, do it. It's all in your head. You are the one holding yourself back, stop making excuses and stop blaming others. If someone is toxic and holding you back, let them go or distance yourself. You need to do what's best for you. If they are not on board with you wanting to be the best possible person you can be by surrounding yourself with positive support then they don't deserve to be in your life!

Number 2

Fear. This could be holding you back and you might not even know it because you are naturally cautious. Do you think of every possibility of what could happen before making a decision? If you do, you could be sabotaging yourself, so stop! It's okay to plan, it's okay to think of pros and cons, but don't go overboard. Stepping into the unknown can be extremely nerve-wracking and scary. We can sometimes be creatures of comfort and habit. To accomplish something we've never done before, we might need to do things we've never done before. Step out of our invisible box. Easier said than done right? I was stuck in my box until a hole was punched in it and I realized what else was out there just waiting for me to discover it!

I was a paraprofessional for 10 years when my divorce went down. I could not support myself and my 3 kiddos off of what a para makes. If you don't know what that is, it's different positions in a school that are supporting roles to teachers and administration. Think teacher assistants, secretaries, instructional support, etc. Paras don't get paid crap. Seriously. That's a rabbit hole in itself, but I thought stepping into a teacher role would be the easiest transition for me. I'm so extremely happy I got my degree in English and not education. After teaching for 3 years and having been in the district I worked in for 15 years, I decided teaching in a public school was not in the cards for me. (This is a serious rabbit hole we won't dive into right now.)

My husband sat down with me one night and helped me see what I really dreamed of and wanted. Those adventures I wanted to go on could not happen in a classroom. He said something that resonated deep down in my core. He said, "Maybe teaching in the classroom is not the end of your journey, but only a stop along the way." He could not have been more right. I liked teaching, but teaching in a public school is not teaching anymore. It's babysitting the majority of the time now. It's trying to make kids understand basic human respect. I was tired of exhausting myself in trying to make sure other people's kids grew up to be good humans while I felt I was neglecting my own. They'd been through a rough divorce too, they'd had to make sacrifices and adjustments and they deserved better.

I overcame my fear of the unknown and I took the leap with the support of family and friends. It hasn't been easy, but I'm happy. This is what I want to do. I have my own blog and I'm an Executive Virtual Assistant for an awesome company! The people are absolutely amazing! I get to stay home and work. I've even crossed the first few stepping stones to accomplish one of my dreams, to be a published author. I've been a ghostwriter, and I've been given the opportunity to write press releases! I would not be able to follow through on all these awesome experiences if I would not have taken the leap. So muster the courage and take the leap! You can do it!

Number 1

Here it is, the top thing holding you back. This is a doozy because it can encompass a broad number of things. Distractions. We are a distraction-filled society. I have really faced this myself this year working from home. I am so much more productive, but I definitely have to keep distractions in check. Working from home or remotely means you don't have coworkers showing up when you're trying to get something done, but I have 2 dogs and 2 cats, there are solicitors who come by in the middle of the day (SERIOUSLY), and then there's technology.

Being a blogger means I have to think about marketing and social media. We all know what happens when we open Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or Pinterest right? We end up going down a never-ending hole of videos, scrolling, and scrolling through funny cat and dog videos. There are also text messages, email notifications, and phone calls. It's non-stop! So how do you get anything accomplished with all these distractions?

You make a schedule and you stick to it. I literally make an hour-by-hour schedule for my day, every day. It's not the end of the world if things change, I just rearrange and shuffle things around which is easy to do with my calendar/planner. I'm purposeful with my planning. I plan the hours I need to complete my virtual assistant tasks and Zoom meetings. I'm also purposefully planning specific days and hours for blog writing, working on my Etsy shop, and marketing using social media. I set timers and when that timer is up I move to the next scheduled item. When working on social media and marketing I am extremely aware and purposeful in what I'm doing. It's super easy to keep scrolling, but I am very detailed about how my time is spent on social media.

Lastly, the phone calls, text messages, and emails. It's a lot! Again, you have to be purposeful in your planning. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb. If you have kids, then set rules for your DND. I have mine set so the only phone calls and texts that will come through are from my husband, kids, and their schools. All else can wait until I have a break or I'm transitioning to my next scheduled item.

For email, set alarms on your phone. Schedule an email check every 3-4 hours for 15 minutes at a time. Once that time is up, don't leave your email browser open. You need to close it or you will constantly be checking it.

You need to have self-control to achieve number 1, especially if you work remotely. You might think you don't waste a lot of time during the day but I'm going to give you a challenge. Download a time-tracking app like Clockify or Toggle, they're free. For a few days track everything you spend your time doing. At the end of the few days, you will see just how much time you waste during the day due to distractions. I pride myself on staying organized and having great time management, but it was eye-opening just how much time I was wasting here and there on the smallest things. Most of my distractions were my pets and technology. I had to zero in on the technology distraction. The tips I have given you are what really worked for me!

I guarantee if you can break the chains of these top 3 things that are holding you back you will be successful and more productive. Every great achievement anyone has ever accomplished has not come "easy." It has taken dedication, motivation, and hard work. Do you have what it takes to pull your feet free of the mud and move forward? If you can you will undoubtedly succeed in all your endeavors!

Have questions? Have a story to share? Did one of these tips work for you? What is something you are struggling with that I can help with? Head to my home page and fill out my contact form at the bottom of the page. I'd love to chat! You can always follow me on social media as well!