What’s blocking you?

The project looks good, but for some reason you stay in the shadows and don’t start it. What’s wrong? Photo by Nikola Knezevic on Unsplash

Do you find yourself setting out to do something, and then becoming unable to do it?  Does it seem strange to you?  It’s extremely common to experience blocks.  We are very good at conceiving goals, but not very good at negotiating the complexity involved in achieving them.  We may not even be very good at setting goals in the first place.

It’s worth taking time to analyse where you feel the block is coming from.  It needs a bit of honesty and clear sight, but it can help you choose a course of action to clear the block, or to accept it.

Let’s imagine there is something you want to do, but, inexplicably, you never quite get round to achieving it.  Here are 10 possible ways in which things can get blocked.  You’re welcome to use it as a checklist in your self-examination.

  1. Fear.  Am I afraid that I won’t succeed?  Do I have a fear of the embarrassment of failure?  It’s common for sensitive people to be intensely aware of the gaze of potential onlookers.  It’s also common for risk-averse people to be intensely fearful of potential loss.  This can stop action, because the mind is thinking that inaction is safer than action-with-failure.
  2. Conflict.  Does the desired action bring me into conflict with other things I hold dear?  For example, if I value my reputation, does the action represent a risk to it?  Does the action cost money, causing a conflict with my financial priorities?  Will it take so much time that I have to sacrifice relationships?
  3. Inauthenticity.  Is the goal an inauthentic one?  If it is, then my mind and body may be trying to tell me something with their uncooperative response.  It’s worth checking that the desired action is consistent with our own values and character, and not done to please others, or as a reaction against others.
  4. Unsustainability.  Is the action unsustainable in the long term?  Many diets can fall into this category, and become short term actions which fail to cause long term change.
  5. Tiredness.  Am I too tired?  Athletic training involves rest – otherwise the body will cease to cooperate.  In the same way, if we aren’t working with our tiredness, we can find that our body refuses to play ball.
  6. Tendency to chaos.  Am I ready to be habitual, methodical and steady?  All humans are a balance between order and chaos.  Those with a tendency to chaos will resist when they try to be reliable and predictable.  They will experience frustration, and fight against the restriction of their freedom.
  7. Lack of skill.  Do I lack the skills to perform the action competently?  For instance, if I am contemplating a job or business change, do I have the necessary skills in the new area?
  8. Lack of resources.  Do I lack essential resources for the task?  Many tasks require money, equipment, people and systems.  Sometimes, until those problems are solved, the task is held back.
  9. Uncertainty.  Am I confident, emotionally and logically, that the action is right for me?  Have I resolved issues of fear, conflict, skill, authenticity, sustainability, energy and freedom-restriction?  If not, then my body may tell me it’s not time to act.
  10. Lack of motivation.  Even if everything else is right, do I simply lack the motivation to act?  Is the deficit chemical, and may I therefore need medication?  Is the deficit social, and may I therefore need support and teamwork?  Is it not fun, and do I therefore need to make it more fun?


Here are the ten opposites of the above.  If you prefer thinking more positively, use this checklist of affirmations to see if you have everything in place:

  1. Confidence. I am comfortable being seen to do this, and am comfortable trying even if I fail.
  2. Integrity.  I have thought through the effect on my reputation, finances and relationships.  I believe my behaviour is consistent and honourable.
  3. Authenticity.  I am doing this because it’s consistent with my personality and values, not to impress anyone, or to prove a point.
  4. Sustainability.  I have thought this through, and it works long term.
  5. Energy.  I am in good shape, and have enough spare energy for this.
  6. Discipline.  I have the right habits and methods to keep control.
  7. Skills.  I have the appropriate skills for the task.
  8. Resources.  I have the money , equipment, people and systems around me to make this work.
  9. Clarity.  I have done my homework, and am as clear as I can be.
  10. Motivation.  My mind and body are healthy, I have a great support team, and I have made it fun.


If any of the above don’t ring true, then go back and do more homework.  You may need to drop an activity, or adapt it, so that your life hangs together better.  Your life, in this sense, is a continuous editing process.

Keep working on your projects until they come up to scratch.  Pay attention to blocks and analyse them.  If you aren’t honest with yourself, you may find yourself getting angry with others for no reason.  You will unconsciously sense that something isn’t gelling, and will just feel out of kilter, deeply uncomfortable.

The elimination of blocks takes openness and effort.  If your projects are worth it, you’ll be prepared to go back to the drawing board, again and again, until you have it right.