8 Bad Habits That Crush Your Dream And Stop Your Progress

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you. ~Tom Bradley

Fear of dream success can be just as paralyzing as fear of heights. You might fear being successful with your dream because it stretches your perceived limits and exposes you to new situations. Even worse, dream success can expose your weaknesses and force you to deal with your self-sabotaging bad habits.

Self-sabotaging habits may occur when you’re afraid of being successful at your dream.

You can tell when your self-sabotaging bad habits are getting in the way when you feel like something is blocking your forward progress – often not even realizing the roadblock is you. Do you ever find yourself not doing the things you know you should be doing to achieve your dream?


That’s self-sabotage showing up as a bad habit. But how can you tell you are crushing your dream with self-sabotaging bad habit?

image courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk

The 8 Bad Habits That Crush Your Dream and Stop Your Progress –

1. Focusing on what is not working, not right or missing from your dream.

Do you recognize statements like, “It’s too difficult. I just don’t know what to do”; “I’m too busy right now”; “It’s taking up too much time”; “It was harder than I thought so I stopped”; “I don’t have the money . . .”? Consistent focus on your perceived obstacles causes you to feel dissatisfied and lose your resolve. Often these are the excuses people use to quit their dream. Notice how often you speak negatively about your perceived obstacles.

2. Being immobilized by fear.

You can tell you are living in the fear bad habit when you are worrying more about the future of your dream and what is going to happen (or might happen) instead of where you are at with your dream at this moment. Typically you are taking the worst-case-possible scenario and running through your mind like it’s going to be the absolute outcome.

3. Feeling your dream has no value.

You forget all your dream accomplishments thus far and focus only on any perceived lack of success. You often criticize yourself and your dream. If someone says something like, “Great job on [fill in blank].” You then answer in any of the following ways: “Oh I totally bombed”; ” It just wasn’t me. I didn’t feel like myself while I was doing it”; “It could have been better . . .”

4. Comparing your dream progress to others.

You constantly compare your dream progress (or lack thereof) to others, then feel bad about where you are. Do you pay more attention to what other people are doing (or not doing) rather than focusing on your dream? Comparing your progress against others is an easy way to justify not working on your dream.

5. Self-Sabotage — making great progress on your dream and then quitting.

This bad habit falls under your core beliefs and is all tangled up in whether you truly believe that you deserve to have a dream. Do you often start to get something you want, then lose or ruin it somehow? Do you search for reasons things aren’t working outside of yourself, then use it (or them) as an excuse to stop? Maybe subconsciously you believe you aren’t good enough to have your dream. If you have this bad habit, there is a hidden deep limiting belief inside you that softly whispers to you why you can’t have what you want.

6. Chasing away the people willing to help you.

Do you always find fault with the other people who are trying to help you succeed? Do you get angry or hostile when they make suggestions? Are people afraid to give you honest feedback because they fear your reaction? Do you always take feedback personally? Do you pretend to listen to other people’s suggestions by nodding or saying “Uh huh” when you wish they would stop talking? Does the truth make you angry? Theses are all signs that you fear being abandoned, or exposed as a fraud – these core fears cause you to distance yourself from others by pushing them away with cruel actions or words so they stop trying to help you.

This bad habit is a habit that may need professional help to overcome. You may recognize that you do this, but don’t understand why and a mental health professional can get to the root cause and help you bring it out into the light.

7. Thinking you need to change something before you start working on your dream.

This habit is thinking you need to change something about yourself before you can have your dream. An example of this type of thinking is, “When I lose 45 pounds I am going to . . . “ or “When I get XYZ, then I am going to . . .” The cure for this habit is to start on your dream NOW – this step forward will cause you to take care of what it is you think is preventing you from having your dream. Often you find that what you thought you needed to do (or be) before you can have your dream wasn’t needed at all.

8. Procrastinating on taking steps toward your dream on a regular basis.

Procrastinators think and act in terms of “dreams and wishes” instead of “do’s and completes.” Procrastinators are often disorganized in their thinking, which causes them to be forgetful and not plan, or carry out a plan to fruition. Procrastinating dreamers seek out more and more information about alternatives to goals that will get their dream going before attempting anything at all. Often procrastinating will show up as dream switching just as the dream gets difficult or attempting to have several dreams going at once, but never really sticking with one and seeing it through to the end.

If you recognize yourself exhibiting any of these 8 dream-crushing bad habits, what can you do?

Ask yourself these questions –

  • What would happen if this bad habit was not there anymore?
  • What would you focus on after you resolve this bad habit?
  • What makes it impossible to heal this bad habit?

Sometimes recognizing that you have a dream-crushing habit is enough to get you to move forward on your dream. Keeping a dream journal can also help you look back on your thoughts and actions and see where you are allowing a bad habit to get in the way of your dream.

Playing victim or blaming others is not the answer. You must take 100% responsibility for your dream. You must also take full responsibility for all the reason why you are not working on your dream or your dream isn’t coming true. I like how Jack Canfield says,

You are either creating or allowing everything that is happening in your life.

Committing to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your dream is the first step in making your dream come true. You must decide to make the necessary changes and break your dream-crushing habits one by one. Once you acknowledge your bad habits you’ll discover it’s much easier to move forward on your dreams by taking control of your thoughts and actions and breaking the habits that keep you stuck where you’re at.

Make 2011 the year you break your bad dream habits.

What are you going to do today?


Catherine HughesCatherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Monday mornings and fills in when needed.

Have you started your New Years resolutions for 2011 yet? How about figuring out what your big dream is?

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  • Terry

    Self-sabotaging, or exhibiting bad habits is a common problem with people who are burned out too. Sometimes I think you ladies need to check in when it’s go-go-go, put down your electronic devices and go away for the weekend or a long Sunday drive. Imagine your troubles, obstacles, and dreams in a backpack by the door that you leave behind you. Go play. Then come back and look at what you are doing to get in the way of your dreams.


  • Remy, Photographer & CEO of Cornerstone Creative

    yea i like #7 as well. Funny how we can sometimes do that to ourselves…great post. And i LOVE the photo. I just never seem to be in the right place at the right time for those kinds of shots. hehe

  • I love Gay Hendricks! I have Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment and Five Wishes: How Answering One Simple Question Can Make Your Dreams Come True.

    You are quite welcome – it’s been some wild ride!


  • “You are either creating or allowing everything that is happening in your life…” WOW. Yes, yes, yes!

    Brilliant post Cath. I love what you said #7: “Thinking you need to change something before starting on your dream.” How true is that! Love your reminders to everyone that NOW is the time to jump in your dream, that there is nothing else that needs to change or “be more perfect” about us before we can jump in and live our dreams… After all, we are all a lifelong work-in-progress.

    A great book that talks about these concepts of self-sabotage is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. He describes it as the “Upper Limit” problem where we’re so used to a certain level of happiness (our “set point”) that when we start to exceed it by living our dreams we often freak out, and drag ourselves back down to an earlier level…. i.e. self-sabotage in some way. By recognizing this and choosing new habits and patterns, we can raise our happiness “setpoints” and also do what we need to do to live our dreams.

    thanks for helping us live ours, Cath!

    Love ya!