5 common obstacles preventing progress

You want to advance, yet there is something preventing progress.

You may know exactly what you want to do (or need to do) yet you’ve found that you’re simply not taking the necessary steps.

This can be annoying and frustrating, especially when some patterns of behavior seem to repeat themselves over time.

Why is this?

Often there is something blocking us. Something that prevents us from making progress. Or at least in the manner and speed that we’d like to proceed.

Below we look at 5 common challenges that might be getting in the way and preventing progress, including some ideas to overcome them (in italics).


Fear or being scared of something is very common. This could be fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of judgment, or fear of making a fool of ourselves.

We may have one or all of these going on at any time.

In reality, most things don’t turn out to be quite as scary as we fear they might be. This is regardless of the stories we tell ourselves.

Compare your initial fears with how things ultimately played out.

Try to focus on what’s in your control and try to “let go” of what’s not.  You can learn how to be confident or other essential soft skills by taking my online course here.


You may have had great intentions to get something completed for X days in a row, or maybe longer. You know it’s important, but it never becomes quite urgent enough to get done. There always seem to be other more urgent things ahead of this in the queue.

I find creating “false deadlines” and milestones can be a useful way to get things over the line.


Somethings we spend so much time thinking about things and analyzing the best way to go about them and then overthinking some more etc.

This is sometimes referred to as analysis paralysis.

Sometimes when we just get on with the task and focus on keeping things simple and pragmatic, it’s amazing what we find we can achieve.

I challenge you to block out some time in your diary and just get started. Even if it’s just for planning. How much you actually achieve isn’t important, but you may just pleasantly surprise yourself!


We often have such high standards for ourselves. Often much higher than we have for others. It can stop us from considering something as complete or fit for purpose. It can sometimes even prevent us from getting started in the first place.

In reality, there is no such thing as perfect. Sometimes we have to accept and acknowledge that “good enough” is good enough, to do what we can and move on


Sometimes we know what to do and why & it’s on our list. We also have the best intentions in the world…but the time slot comes and goes and before we know it, we’ve totally missed our window of opportunity.

Oh well, it’ll just have to wait for another slot now.

Try to identify what’s tripping you up and causing you to do this.

Look back over the other challenges and see if anything else resonates here.


We are only human. Sometimes with the best will in the world, we need to stop and give ourselves a break.

However, it can be useful to look at what might be holding us back and preventing progress – especially if the patterns appear to keep repeating themselves.

Grab a cuppa and take some time to reflect. Ask yourself honestly if any of the above are getting in your way and stopping you from taking action you know you want to.

Awareness is an important first step to acceptance and then being able to move forward appropriately.

If you’d like an independent sounding board to discuss this with, why not book a free Career Discussion.


Thanks for reading. Check out other Blue Diamond articles to help you take control of your work and life.