When OCD Is Holding You Back – 7 Barriers Preventing You From Achieving Your Goals

Have you ever felt like your life was going nowhere? It is a terrible feeling that I am sure most of us have from time to time. There are times when you just do not know what you want to do with your life. Days when you feel that you are stuck in a job you hate doing or in a relationship that just does not work. But yet, you do not feel ready to do anything about the whole situation.

You feel that you need a change but you do not even know how to get started. Or sometimes, you do not even know what you actually want or need. Setting goals could be the first step to take for changing your life for the better but it is easier said than done. And it’s even more difficult when you’re suffering from a mental health disorder.

I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and as most of you may already know – especially if you have been reading my blog for some time – it is so much more than being obsessed about order and cleanliness. It is a disorder that can really turn your life upside down. And it can really hold you back from accomplishing your goals. For the last couple of months, I have been asking myself why it’s so difficult for me to set myself goals and to actually stick to them and I have come up with a list of 7 barriers that prevent me from accomplishing them.

What Are The Barriers Preventing You From Achieving Your Goals?

Mental Exhaustion

There are times when you just feel like your brain is drained. You know that you need a change and you may even know what could make you feel happy but you just do not feel you have the energy to actually take action. Like, let’s take me as an example – one of my biggest dreams is publishing my novel. However, after spending a day worrying about all the irrational things my OCD is telling me (as well as working full time) I will often feel completely exhausted so instead of focusing on something that would actually help me achieve my goals, I will just open a bottle of red wine and spend the night watching Netflix. You may say I am “lazy” but that’s not the case, it’s really about the state of mental exhaustion that OCD can give you. And let’s not even mention about the:

Time Consuming Obsessions

OCD is like a horrible boss. It never lets you take a day off. You lead a very busy life and you are glad to finally have some time to work on your goals but then….. OCD kicks in! You were planning to work out (I’ve been planning to do it for sooo long) or to study but your OCD doesn’t agree with your plans. Instead, it will start giving you instructions:

“What if you did not lock the door? Go and check it'”
“What if you will have an anaphylactic shock because of the lobsters you had for dinner? Do some online research about allergies!”
“What if you didn’t wash the dishes well enough? What if someone will get poisoned because of you? Go and wash the dishes once more!”

And well, I am sure that many of you have examples of “OCD instructions” – please feel free to share them in the comment section!

Feeling Guilty About Wasting Your Life

If spending your days with a totally exhausted brain and with your OCD chasing you with its requests weren’t enough, there is one more thing that can hold you back from accomplishing your goals: feeling guilty about having wasted your life.

This feeling is among one of the main reasons why it’s been difficult for me to focus on my goals. Like…instead of trying to do something in order to make my dreams come true, I often find myself thinking about the years I spent on worrying about irrational fears and catastrophizing. And it has taken a long time for me to realize that this was something that was holding me back. But now that I am more conscious about this feeling, I really hope it will be easier for me to get my life back under control. So far, it’s been going better!

Setting Unrealistic Goals

Talking about guilt! Having wasted much of your life on worrying, you may think that the best solution to your problems could be setting yourself as many goals as possible and try to achieve them overnight. Well, unfortunately, it does not work that way. Setting unrealistic goals can easily backfire on you…and so we arrive to the next barrier on our list…

Fear Of Failure

Not being able to achieve your goals will make you feel like a complete failure. And it will prevent you from focusing on them ’cause you will keep asking yourself:

“What if I fail again? What if I am not good for anything?”

And listening to your critical inner voice will make you want to give up your dreams – and that is something you should never do!

Fear Of Actually Achieving Your Goals

Sounds pretty paradoxical, does it not? Why would anyone be afraid of accomplishing their goals? Does not make any sense! But believe me, it can happen. There are times when you are afraid of succeeding because you just do not know if reaching your goals will actually make you feel happy. Like….what if you get the job of your dreams but you won’t be good enough or you will miss your old job or if your new position will not make you any happier?

Of course, we shouldn’t listen to our negative inner voice but again – it’s easier said than done. However, realizing that you have this kind of way of thinking is the first step for learning to keep it under control.

Waiting For A Miracle

The last barrier on my list – and I do not think it is particularly related to my OCD, but it’s another reason why it’s been difficult for me to make my dreams come true is that I often just “sit and wait for a miracle to happen”. Sometimes, when I go to sleep, I imagine that all of my dreams will come true when I wake up in the morning. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but the problem with this habit is that most of the time, I won’t take any action for achieving the things I want – I just wait…and hope. But of course, things won’t change for the better if you do not do anything.


Having realistic goals and actually achieving them has a hugely positive impact on your mental health – but on the other hand, setting unrealistic goals that you cannot possibly accomplish will make you feel even more hopeless. And there are a lot of barriers to overcome – and I think the first step to take is finding out what these barriers are and trying to address them.

This was the first article of my little “series” I am going to post another one about goal setting this weekend. Why two separate posts? Because I have been very busy with work this week but, so it wouldn’t have been realistic for me to include everything I wanted to say in one single post but at the same time, I really enjoy writing so I just felt I had to “let this all out”! 🙂

Further Reading

Your Thoughts

As you know, there is one thing that I love more than writing my stories: reading yours. What are the barriers preventing you from achieving your goals? Do you have any story you would like to share with us? Please share your thoughts, opinions, stories and experiences in the comment section! ❤

Love you all ❤



6 thoughts on “When OCD Is Holding You Back – 7 Barriers Preventing You From Achieving Your Goals

    1. Yes! I used to underestimate the important of goal setting but over the years I have arrived to the same conclusion – setting goals and actually accomplishing them is an amazing feeling ❤


  1. Oh! How I know this feeling.
    I was always saying “I make this latter” “finish latter” and always starting new projects never able to finish others.
    And when I try to complete, I get so bored and tierd that I could finish properly. So my perfeccionism says “this is not well done” and always, always get the bad feeling of did something wrong or stop that thing.
    I also started to make to do lists, when I understand that I had OCD, it helps me a lot.
    Still fight whit that feeling but got much easy.
    Like very much you post. Have a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! I too have the habit of telling myself that ‘I will do it later” and I can totally relate to what you have said about starting new projects without finishing the ones you’re working on! Unfortunately, I do it all the time like….I find something inspiring and I decide to work on it but then..something more exciting will come into the picture and I will just start overcommitting myself and I will often end up not completing anything.
      And well, I too have a problem with my perfectionism – it often holds me back from doing things like I am just afraid of not being able to do things the way I want….and that is a horrible feeling.
      Creating a to do list is a great idea! It is something I should do a bit more often.
      Thank you for reading ❤

      Take care


      Liked by 1 person

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