Four ways you're holding yourself back and simple steps to overcome them (in your journal)

Learn to overcome these four ways that you're holding yourself back in business.


I know what it’s like.

You know there’s so much more you want to do with your life, but you also feel it’s easier said than done.

You have so many other responsibilities that spending time figuring out what your ‘so much more’ is, or how to achieve it, seems like something you might be able to get around to one day…


at least, you hope so.


You know you’re lucky to have the life you have.

You have work, a home, children perhaps, and other family responsibilities. Not to mention the myriad ad hoc activities you undertake daily.

You want to give your time and energy to all of it, and you do, but you wish (guiltily) there was some left over for you and this elusive ‘something more’ that keeps nagging at your brain.

And your heart.


I’ve been there.

I’ve felt depleted, squashed, unfulfilled, yet unable to muster the bandwidth to do anything about it.

I’ve felt dissatisfied with my lot and felt SO selfish and self-indulgent for thinking that way.

I’ve felt that I wanted to do, have and be so much more, but I didn’t even know how to go about it.

Does that sound familiar?

It’s horrible, isn’t it?

So, let’s do something about it, together.

Are you ready to break that debilitating cycle?

Then let’s address four reasons you might be holding yourself back from following the pull to achieve your ‘something more’ and what to do about them. Today!


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  1. Gratitude guilt

I’ve already touched on this above and I don’t want you to think for one second that I’m knocking gratitude. I’m absolutely not, the concept is a solid one.

Focusing the mind, even for a few minutes, to note down all that is good with our lives or has gone well in the day can have a positive impact on mood which can only be a good thing.

However, I’ve come to realise that our feelings of gratitude for the life we already have can keep us stuck.  We feel guilty, selfish and greedy for wanting more and this can prevent us from trying to fulfil our potential or achieve our personal vision of a successful or happy life.  

At least, that’s what I allowed to happen to me.

I was stuck in this pattern for years but, after much personal development research and exploration, I finally realised something I’d really known all along.

When we go all out for our ‘something more’, we shift mentally into a position to give so much more to our life and those around us – our family, our work, our relationships and the wider world.

In fact, I’d even go further than that.

I believe that trying to achieve our personal vision of success and be happy is the best way we can demonstrate gratitude for the life we’ve been given.

And, if you make the mindset shift to look at it that way, wanting to fulfil our potential is nothing to feel guilty about, it’s exactly the opposite.

If you’re ready to take charge of your future and fulfil the potential you know you have within you, I have a free guide to help you break free from gratitude guilt and embark on your own personal development. #HoorayForThat

Click here to get your free copy of How to stop feeling guilty for wanting something more from life.

It’s time to ditch the guilt and get started.


  1. Time

Even if you’re on board that focusing on your own development is a good idea (I hope you are!) you might be thinking to yourself, ‘Sounds great in theory, but I just don’t have the TIME.’

I get that. There’s so much on the ‘To Do’ list that we balk at the thought of adding something else – at least, I certainly do.


I believe journaling for personal development is a valuable activity to make a priority, but I totally get that it’s not easy to see how and it took me some juggling to become consistent.

Here are some short exercises to journal on to help you see where you might find some time in your day that you could use to kickstart your personal development. I’m not a time management guru, but I am pretty organised and use these tips to help.


  • Think about how you currently spend your time

Consider your work days and non-work days separately and make a note of how you spend your time. How much time do you spend commuting? Eating? Sleeping? Working? Washing clothes? With your family? Make a note of all the elements that make up your typical day.

There are some elements of your day that you won’t be able (or want to) to cut out. After all, we have to eat, sleep and look after the people and pets for whom we are responsible, don’t we?

  • So, what activities for you are ‘non-negotiable’?

Be clear with yourself. And know that what you class as non-negotiable is up to you. It may be that you class something as a “must do” that would sound frivolous or definitely negotiable to someone else. That’s OK. We all have only 24 hours in the day and, really, everything is about prioritising and trading-off one activity for another.  You’re in charge, it’s your choice, so try not to attach value judgements (especially other people’s) to what you’re classing as non-negotiable.

  • Look back at your ‘non-negotiable’ activities.

Is there someone else who could legitimately take one of more of them off your plate whether occasionally, permanently or for a short period of time? Really think about this before you say no, and be honest with yourself about whether it’s just because you don’t want to ask. (Anyone else want to be superwoman and feel awkward asking for help? No? Just me? Good! You’re all much more sensible than I was).

  • Consider common areas for loss of time and your time spent on them

Technology gets a bad reputation as being a time suck, and it can be but, like anything else, it has its place and it may be something that you feel benefits you.

But TV, social media, texting and surfing the net may be eating into your day more than they need to. Perhaps you’d be happy to reduce or eliminate some of these activities in favour of another but, if not, think about the following:

Could you:

  • Batch TV shows and watch them on a rainy Sunday?
  • Set a timer to remind you to step away from your computer or phone to get on with something else?
  • Do anything a different way? For example, could you read on a commute or in the bath?
  • Prepare meals for two days at once?
  • Set up your house in an easier way to manage? Is everything you need at hand?
  • Get up a little earlier? Stay up a little later? *

*A note about extending your day

Consider if this really is the best choice. Depending on our age, adults need 7 to 9 hours sleep a night (source: The cumulative effect of too little sleep will eat into your ability to do everything, including your non-negotiables, so make sure you’re not burning the candle at both ends. It’s not worth it. Make it a priority to maintain healthy routines. I’d do any of the other things before I’d extend my day!


  • Planning

Hopefully you have already found some time from the exercises above, but, with a little thoughtful planning, perhaps you could find some more.

Make scheduling your activities work for you:

  • Diary a time to start each activity, particularly those you are likely to want to put off, and stick to your schedule
  • Block out time for similar activities such as cleaning, paying bills or returning calls/emails so you don’t waste time switching from task to task
  • Set timers for any activities that might run away with you, such as spending time online or playing with the cat!
  • Block out time for your personal development activities and protect it like you would another appointment.

I hope these exercises help you carve out some time in your day. Let me know!


  1. You don’t know where to start

You no longer feel guilty for wanting to focus on your personal development and you’ve carved out some time in your week to do so. #HoorayForThat

So, what’s next?

There are many ways to work on your personal development and it wouldn’t take you long on your old pal Google to come up with a list. In fact, I wrote a post on my tips for the top five tools for personal development but, if you know me, you know I’m going to advocate journaling as the most powerful.

Whenever I want to CREATE a change to better my life, THINK something through or, most importantly, EXPLORE and shift the unhelpful mindset and thought patterns that hold me back, putting pen to paper is always my first step.

I believe an intentional writing practice can infuse positive change in our lives, help us explore and express our creativity and, importantly do all that it a way that’s fun. For me, journaling falls into the same sphere as meditation, healthy eating, yoga and other exercise, although it's something I do far more easily and regularly.

If you’re interested in journaling for personal development, come and join my free FB group Success Story Journalers to get inspiration, support and encouragement as you explore your personal development path. If you’re up for creativity, fun and camaraderie with new friends who also want to achieve personal fulfilment and have a positive impact on the world through writing, click here to take your place.

It’s a new group, we’re just getting started and there’s a virtual seat with your name on it!


  1. You start things and don’t follow through

Are you:

  • Reluctant to start something new because you believe you don’t follow through?

Do you follow through to an extent then become

  • Distracted by life’s other priorities
  • Overwhelmed because there’s so much you want to do or try to learn that you can’t keep up with it all

Yep, I’m groaning inside, and raising my hand to all of the above.

Whether it’s personal development, health and wellness activities or hobbies, there’s always more I want to do.

Does that sound familiar?

I try to fit too much in and then, on top of it all, blimmin’ life wants some attention too.

Tough gig.

But, joking aside, when I realised it was helping me make positive changes in my life and, by extension, a positive difference to my family, I was hooked on sticking with the topic of journaling for personal development and knew I had to come up with a way to do so.

So, how?

By making your journal your lifelong, life enhancing companion for clarity, creativity, support and success.

I said above that, for me, journaling falls into the same sphere as my other efforts to enhance my daily life such as meditation, healthy eating, yoga and other exercise. I call these Personal Success Activities and I see journaling as the ‘command centre’ for the enriching practices that support my ongoing commitment to, in a nutshell, lifting my life game through personal development.

That’s why I developed Success Journaling, a framework that will help you

  • Gain clarity on what personal success means to you 
  • Strengthen your sense of self, including your self-knowledge, self-awareness, self-trust and self-belief 
  • Develop a helpful mindset and inner dialogue that will support your personal growth
  • Develop a strong foundational springboard to help you create your own success in the way that matters to you most

Success Journaling is a framework you can revisit time and time again to support your personal growth and allow journaling to become your lifelong, life enhancing companion.


You don’t need to hold yourself back anymore! You can write the next chapter in your life story and you’re too important to leave your happy ending to chance.

Elle xo

*You're invited to a FREE Masterclass*

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Free Facebook group: Success Story Journalers  - Journaling for personal fulfilment and impact

Course waiting list: Your Personal Success Story an online course that uses the Success Journaling framework to help you get the something more you want from life.


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