10 non-obvious reasons why you haven’t succeeded yet, and how to fix it

What does success look like to you? Is it a high-paying job? Is it traveling the world? Or is it making a difference in people’s lives?

Everyone has their own idea of success. But if you’re not there yet, you might be wondering, “Why not?”

We see young billionaires and instant celebrities and think, “Why haven’t I made it big yet?” But what we don’t see is all the hard work behind the scenes. Success usually doesn’t happen overnight—it takes time.

You might be thinking, “But I am working hard. So what’s going wrong?” The answer might surprise you. It might not be about how hard you’re working. It could be something else that you haven’t thought about.

In this article, we’re going to talk about 10 reasons why you might not have reached your goals yet—and how to fix that. So get comfortable, grab a drink, and let’s get started!

1. You’re Not Setting Clear Goals

It sounds simple, right? But you’d be surprised how many of us are sailing through life without a clear destination in mind. Think about it: If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?

Setting clear, specific goals is like setting a GPS for your life. It’s not enough to say, “I want to be successful.” What does success mean to you? Is it earning a certain amount of money? Is it starting your own business? Is it writing a book? Your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

To fix this, take some time to really think about what you want in life. Write down your goals and make them as specific as possible. Then set a timeline for achieving them. A goal without a plan is just a wish!

2. You’re Afraid of Failure

Fear of failure is one of the biggest roadblocks to success. It’s scary to step out of your comfort zone and try something new because there’s always a risk that you might fail.

But guess what? Everyone who has ever achieved anything worthwhile has failed at some point. In fact, failure often serves as a valuable stepping stone to success.

So, how do you fix this? Start by changing your mindset about failure. Instead of seeing it as something negative, view it as a learning opportunity. When you fail, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a chance to learn, grow, and become stronger.

3. You’re Not Taking Action

Sometimes, the biggest thing standing between you and your goals is simply that you’re not taking action. This was a huge revelation for me. I had dreams and plans, but I found myself constantly procrastinating, waiting for the perfect moment to start.

I realized I was stuck in a cycle of overthinking and under-doing. I was so worried about doing everything perfectly that I ended up doing nothing at all! It was a tough pill to swallow, but once I did, things started to change.

To fix this, I had to push myself to take action, even when it wasn’t perfect. I started setting small, manageable tasks for myself every day that aligned with my larger goals. Instead of waiting for motivation to strike, I created it by making progress, however small.

If you’re stuck in a similar cycle, break it by taking action. It doesn’t have to be perfect or grand; just start somewhere.

4. You’re Not Embracing Change

Did you know the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “Change is the only constant in life”? It’s an age-old wisdom that still rings true today. Sure, change can be scary and uncomfortable. But it’s also essential for growth and success.

Many of us resist change because we’re comfortable where we are. We stick to what we know, even if it’s not serving us well. But if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

If things aren’t going as planned, maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit. Try a new approach. Learn a new skill. Step out of your comfort zone. 

5. You’re Not Being True to Yourself

This one is a bit close to the heart. In a world that’s constantly trying to mold us into something we’re not, staying true to yourself can be a real challenge. But it’s also incredibly important.

Let me tell you why: Each of us has unique talents, passions, and perspectives that make us who we are. When we deny those aspects of ourselves in an attempt to fit in or achieve what society deems “successful”, we often end up feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled, even if we reach our goals.

Here’s the truth: Success won’t mean much if it doesn’t align with who you truly are. So take some time to explore your passions, your values, and what truly makes you happy. Then, align your goals with these discoveries. This way, the journey towards success becomes as fulfilling as the destination itself.

6. You’re Not Investing in Yourself

One of the best things I ever did for my personal success was to start investing in myself. And I’m not just talking about money here, but time, energy, and attention too.

In the past, I’d be so caught up in the day-to-day hustle that I’d forget to take a step back and invest in my own growth and development. But once I started doing this, everything changed.

Investing in yourself could mean anything from taking a course to improve your skills, reading a book that broadens your perspective, setting aside time for self-care, or even seeking therapy to unravel personal issues that might be holding you back.

If you’re not where you want to be yet, ask yourself: “What am I doing to invest in myself?” If the answer is “not much,” it might be time to change that.

7. You’re Comparing Yourself to Others

We all do this. We look at our friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers on social media and start comparing ourselves to them. “Why am I not as successful as them? Why is their life so much better?” Sound familiar?

It’s a toxic loop that we often find ourselves trapped in, and it’s doing us no favors. Because here’s the truth: Success is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Your journey is unique to you, and comparing it to someone else’s won’t get you any closer to your goals.

So next time you find yourself spiraling into the comparison trap, take a moment to refocus on your own path. Acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem, and remind yourself that every step forward is a step towards your own version of success.

8. You’re Not Asking for Help

Did you know that most jobs are filled via networking? This demonstrates the power of reaching out to others, yet many of us hesitate to ask for help when we need it.

Whether it’s due to pride, fear of rejection, or not wanting to bother others, we often try to do everything ourselves. But the truth is, we can’t always do it all on our own. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and wisdom.

Whether it’s seeking advice from a mentor, delegating tasks, or simply asking a friend for emotional support during tough times, don’t be afraid to reach out. You’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help and how much faster you can reach your goals with a little support from others.

9. You’re Not Celebrating Small Wins

I’m guilty of this one. With my eyes set on the big prize, I often overlook the smaller milestones I achieve along the way. But over time, I’ve realized that this is a mistake.

Success is not just about the big moments—it’s also about the small victories along the way. Each little win is a step forward, and each deserves recognition. By celebrating these moments, we create positivity and motivation to keep going.

So, I’ve started to take time to acknowledge and celebrate even the smallest victories. Got up early to exercise? Win! Completed a challenging task at work? Win! Every step forward, no matter how small, is a sign of progress.

If you’re not already doing it, take a moment to celebrate your small wins—it can make the journey to success feel a lot more rewarding!

10. You’re Not Patient Enough

Let’s be honest. We live in a world where we want everything right now. Instant gratification has become the norm. But when it comes to success, there’s no magic button you can push to get you there instantly. It takes time, hard work, and yes, patience.

It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t happen as quickly as we’d like. But remember, success is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about consistency and perseverance.

So, if you’ve been feeling impatient on your journey to success, take a deep breath and remind yourself to slow down. Keep putting in the work and have faith in the process. Remember, good things take time.

There you have it—ten non-obvious reasons why you haven’t succeeded yet.

The good news? Now that you’re aware of them, you’re in a much stronger position to tackle these barriers head-on and pave your way to success. It won’t always be easy, but trust me, it’ll be worth it!

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Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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