5 difficult to admit reasons you’ve stopped growing as a person (and your life needs a shake up)

Have you ever felt like you’re just treading water, not making any progress in life? Like no matter how hard you paddle, you seem to stay in the same spot, watching as others glide past you toward their goals and dreams?

I know it’s frustrating knowing you have so much potential, but somehow, you’re unable to tap into it fully.

But what if you’re inadvertently sabotaging your own growth without even realizing it?

Today, we dive into five reasons your personal growth has come to a standstill. 

Let’s get to it.

1) You are allowing self-doubt to hold you back

So, I’m going to start with one that’s a little personal. 

Early in my working life, I faced a significant career setback. Basically, I was certain a promotion was on the horizon, only to be passed over for a colleague. 

I don’t want to complain; things like this and much worse happen to us all. 

But this incident didn’t just sting; it allowed self-doubt to seep into my mindset, limiting my potential for months. This change manifested in various ways: 

  • I hesitated to voice my ideas in meetings, doubting their value; 
  • I shied away from new projects, fearing failure; 
  • I gave up at the first sign of defeat. 
  • and I found myself constantly second-guessing decisions I used to make confidently.

I’ve since realized I wasn’t alone in this struggle.

A survey by PsychTests, which involved over 12,000 individuals, found that an astonishing 80% of those grappling with self-doubt tend to over-analyze situations. 59% start projects or goals only to abandon them halfway.

Needless to say, doubt like this leads to stagnation, preventing personal and professional growth. The antidote? 


But regaining confidence isn’t just about flipping a switch; it’s a process, one that requires intention and patience.

How to get your confidence back

Regaining my confidence wasn’t easy, but it was possible through deliberate actions and shifts in perspective. Here are a few strategies that personally helped me:

  • Celebrating small wins: Acknowledge and celebrate every success, no matter how minor it may seem. Each victory is a step forward and a testament to your capabilities.
  • Embracing challenges as opportunities: View challenges as opportunities to learn rather than insurmountable obstacles. Every attempt, successful or not, is a chance to grow.
  • Seeking feedback: It can be difficult to hear, but constructive feedback is invaluable. It provides insights into areas of improvement and reaffirms your strengths.
  • Visualizing success: Spend time visualizing and achieving your goals. This mental rehearsal boosts confidence and prepares you for success.

Self-doubt is a natural part of the human experience, but it doesn’t have to define you. 

This next reason you might not be growing could be a challenging one to face, but it’s just as crucial in your personal development journey.

2) You are spending your time with the wrong people 

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once famously remarked that we are shaped by the five individuals we interact with most frequently. 

And it’s true; I mean, it may not be five people, maybe it’s ten or three or whatever, but there’s no doubt that the company we keep rubs off on us.

The point is hanging with the wrong people might be holding you back more than you know.  

Let’s say you have a friend who, while fun to be around, tends to focus on the negatives in life. 

They often complain about their job, their relationships, and their lack of progress, yet they make no moves to change their situation.

Whenever you share your goals or achievements, they might respond with skepticism or even subtly discourage you, saying things like, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” or “That sounds like a lot of work.”

How might this friendship affect your growth and mindset? 

He or she isn’t helping you. 

Negative influences, be they friends, family, or colleagues, can inadvertently hinder our evolution, keeping us tethered to old habits and mindsets that no longer serve our best interests. 

These relationships can create an environment that stifles growth, encouraging stagnation instead of progress.

How to change things up

Start by evaluating the nature of your current relationships. Identify those that uplift and inspire you versus those that drain or demotivate you. Gradually increase your engagement with the former and reduce your involvement with the latter.

Also, seek out new connections that align with your aspirations and values. Engage in communities, both online and offline, that reflect the kind of person you want to become. 

Changing your social circle doesn’t mean you need to cut people out of your life abruptly or completely, however. It’s about creating boundaries that protect your energy and foster your growth.

you want to be socially connected as you get older 5 difficult to admit reasons you've stopped growing as a person (and your life needs a shake up)

3) You are neglecting self-care. 

Your day is packed from morning to night with tasks, meetings, and obligations. You say you will get to the gym tomorrow, but more often than not, tomorrow never comes. 

You were looking forward to visiting a friend last week, but work got too busy, and you had to cancel. 

Before you sleep, you spend your time mentally planning your next day so that you squeeze every commitment in. You feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. The truth is, you’re barely finding time to breathe, let alone attend to your personal needs.

Sound familiar?

Neglecting self-care can lead to a host of problems, including burnout, stress, decreased productivity, and even serious health issues. 

And when we’re not at our best, everything we do suffers, from work performance to personal relationships. Not only do we stop growing, but we can also start going backward. 

Ways to start caring for yourself

  • Prioritize your health: Make time for regular exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep. Treat these activities not as luxuries but as essential parts of your day.
  • Learn to say no: It’s essential to set clear boundaries to protect your time and energy. Saying no to something means you’re saying yes to something else that might be more important to you.
  • Pursue passions: Engage in hobbies or activities that bring you joy and fulfillment outside of your work and responsibilities.
  • Seek support: Don’t hesitate to ask for help or seek professional support when things get overwhelming. Sometimes, talking to a friend, family member, or therapist can make a world of difference.

By adopting these practices, you’re not just improving your own quality of life; you’re also enhancing your capacity to contribute positively to the lives of those around you.

Self-care is not selfish; it’s a necessary foundation for a balanced and fulfilling life.

4) You have not set clear goals 

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable,” – Seneca

Without clear goals, we inevitably find ourselves adrift. It can lead to aimlessness, a sense of stagnation, and the feeling that despite being busy, not making meaningful progress. 

Well-considered goals, however, give us a destination, a point on the horizon to move toward. They provide structure, motivation, and a way to measure progress, turning the journey of personal growth into a series of achievable steps.

How to set goals that serve us

Setting specific goals is crucial in giving your aspirations clarity and making them attainable. 

You probably remember SMART goals from your school time; they work. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s how to set them. 

  • Be specific: Define your goals clearly. Instead of “get fit,” aim for “run a 5K in under 30 minutes by December.”
  • Make them measurable: Ensure you can track your progress. Quantify your goals where possible.
  • Ensure they’re achievable: Set realistic goals that challenge you but are within reach, considering your current situation.
  • Be relevant: Choose goals that matter to you and align with your values and long-term vision.
  • Time-bound: Set deadlines to keep yourself accountable and maintain momentum.

This next reason is such a big one that we all need to keep tabs on. Not only can it prevent us form moving forward, it can really affect our happiness. 

5) You are too concerned with what everyone else is doing

Let’s be honest, we’ve all found ourselves scrolling through social media, feeling a bit down because everyone else seems to be doing great things. 

It’s easy to do.

We see friends and even strangers living what looks like the perfect life, and we wonder why we’re not doing the same. 

But here’s the thing—constantly watching what others are doing can hold us back. When we compare our life to someone else’s highlight reel, we’re not being fair to ourselves. 

We, more often than we might admit, elevate the best moments of others’ lives, stitching together an idealized existence from their vacations, promotions, and picture-perfect family moments, and then wonder why our lives don’t measure up. 

This leads to a dilution of focus and sets us up for unrealistic expectations. The inevitable disappointment that follows when we fail to achieve this fabricated ‘perfect life.’ 

Worst of all, it never ends. There will always be someone who has something we don’t. 

It’s a cycle of comparison and disillusionment that distracts us from our path and the unique challenges we face.

What to do instead

Everyone’s journey is unique, and we all face different challenges. Start by recognizing your own achievements, no matter how small. 

Set your own goals based on what’s important to you, not what you think you should be doing because of someone else. Celebrate your own progress and remember that it’s your journey that matters, not how it compares to others.

By focusing on our own path and not getting caught up in what everyone else is doing, we can find more joy and satisfaction in our own lives

It’s about being the best version of ourselves, not trying to match up to someone else’s life.

Until next time

So there you have it, folks.

As always, I hope this post has given you some food for thought. 

Keep pushing forward, one step at a time.

Mal James

Mal James

Mal James Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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