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What stops you from taking action to reach your goals? I asked that question for years until one day I realised that it was all down to one thing – the way I think.

Why-You-May-Be-Less-Successful-in-Reaching-Your-Goals-Than-You'd-LikeThe more I talk with others – both adults and young people – the more I realise that those who fail to take action to bring about the outcomes they say they long for in life, have one thing in common.

I’ve also found this to be true for myself, so over the years have sought to address it. And it’s this – that the degree to which we take action to make changes in our lives that’ll help us to achieve our goals, is directly linked to our thought process.

Your thoughts are powerful

Your thinking is key to your progress. Both your inactivity and activity, are the result of your thoughts. Your thinking drives everything and it’s the difference between you being successful in reaching your desired outcomes, or not.

Henry Ford famously said,

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford

Though arguably a simple concept, I’m saddened when I see the potential in others – particularly young people – not being realised because they fail to see this principle and make a conscious decision to do something about it.

Our mind is like a gateway to our being, so what we allow into our minds will shape who we become and what we do. Without first acknowledging this, our chances of success in every area of life will be almost impossible.

Why is this? Because our thoughts, whether negative or positive, are powerful.

Such is the power of our thoughts that they’re able to determine whether we act in a way that’s either supportive or detrimental to our success. They shape our worldview, how we feel, our decisions, and how we determine our priorities.

What you think impacts your outcomes

With the average person thinking between 50,000 – 60,000 thoughts a day, it’s important to understand the significance of thoughts on our lives.

Our thoughts trigger our feelings, our feelings govern our actions, and our actions determine our results. They have the capacity to either help or hinder our ability to reach our potential, realise our dreams, and make our greatest contribution.

As such they need to be cultivated and managed.

Just for a moment, think about how many of your thoughts are negative, potentially destructive, or obstructive towards helping you reach your goals.

A thought example of mine over the years has been, ‘I’m not smart enough’. This thought, rooted in comments made by other significant people during formative years, led to a feeling of a fear of looking stupid.

This thought and resulting feeling have led to procrastination, withdrawal and various other negative actions that have served to protect me from potential humiliation.

For example, as a teenager, instead of attempting a task that I feared I’d fail at, I’d choose to be rude to teaching staff as an avoidance strategy. I didn’t want to run the risk of failing and looking ‘stupid’.

I’ve since learned, that if left unchecked, my thoughts will always veer towards the negative and result in me not taking opportunities to develop the confidence needed to grow personally, whilst simultaneously helping others.

When I consciously manage my thoughts, and make an effort to think differently about circumstances, people, and myself, I make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and feel more empowered and confident to fulfill my life purpose.

What about your thoughts?

Having seen an example of mine, take a moment to consider one of your own negative thought patterns. Think about the impact it’s had on you. Give thought to how its possibly hindered your progress in the last week, month, year, or longer?

This is important to consider, because if you don’t first recognise how your thoughts have impacted your progress, your potential future success could be limited by the thoughts that’ve been an obstacle to any past achievements.

Thinking differently will change your feelings and outcomes

Equally, now consider what it’d be like if the majority of your thoughts helped you towards successfully reaching your goals. Imagine for a moment the impact of those thoughts on your feelings, actions, and resulting outcomes.

The possibilities would be endless.

By simply deciding to notice and modify your thoughts so they’re more supporting of what you want to achieve, you’ll increase the chances of getting the kinds of outcomes in your life that you really want.

So, having briefly considered negative and positive thoughts, here’s a question for you.

Which thought patterns would you rather commit to, those that hinder you from reaching your goals and experiencing growth, or those that’ll open doors of opportunity for you to walk through with confidence?

My guess, if you’ve read this article, is that you’d want to work on developing the thoughts that’ll help you to reach your potential, maximise your influence, and make your greatest contribution to the lives of others.

After all, that’s what you’re here for, right?


To make lasting change to the way you think, you need to first commit to understanding your thought processes. Once you’ve done that you can work on modifying your thoughts so as to change your feelings, actions and outcomes.

Sadly, too few people realise or accept this, and as a result walk through life struggling to achieve their goals because they’re captive to the thoughts preventing them from moving forwards and reaching their potential.

But you can be different.

Start by being honest with yourself and looking at how you think about your life. Then choose to change your thinking. You can decide today that struggling through life because of destructive thoughts doesn’t have to be your story.

Over to you

What thoughts are currently stopping you from achieving your goals and dreams, and what could you replace them with?

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