a person with their hand up in the air.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way

Amber Murphy

The world has many people who will stand in your way if you let them. Sometimes, you’re even the person in the way. You don’t have to block yourself, though. You can be the reason all of your dreams come true. Get out of your own way, so you aren’t self-sabotaging yourself. You can’t complain that you didn’t get what you wanted when you weren’t willing to put forth the effort. Taking a risk may be necessary to get results. It’s time to break the cycle of holding yourself back and, instead, be accountable.

15 Tips to Get Out of Your Own Way

1. Clean Slate

Blank cassette tape

Part of how to get out of your own way is to start with a clean slate. Stop beating yourself up for your previous mistakes. Forget the times you set a goal but failed to achieve it. This time, focus on what you can do differently to change the outcome. Consider creating a SMART goal: a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. By doing this, you’ll set yourself up for future success. And from this clean slate, you’ll be able to reposition yourself for that next level. With a little bit of focus, you’ll know how to get out of your own way because you’ll be too busy taking action that’ll lead you to greater heights.

What do you want to accomplish in your career, personal life, hobbies, or in life?

Keep your eye on the prize to keep you motivated. Consider asking yourself why you choose a particular goal. What is the result you want? Are your intentions pure, or is there ego involved? How will your life change and improve once you reach that goal? Focus on the why. Doing this will prevent you from giving up on those big dreams you deserve to achieve. Having the right plan in place is one way to help you get out of your own way.

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2. Break Habits That Hold You Back

Our inner critic can cause us to start bad habits. And those bad habits can make block us from what we want. You’re going to have to be brutally honest with yourself and figure out the root cause. Getting those barriers out of your own way allows you to have a chance of achieving success. For example, if you often procrastinate, focus on starting projects earlier and committing to assigned deadlines. Don’t slip back into your old ways as you’ve already tried that and know it doesn’t work in your favor. By breaking bad habits and developing good habits, you get out of your own way because you’re no longer self-sabotaging your chance.

3. Identify Your Strengths

Man pulling on rope on dock

When was the last time you sat down and made up a list of what makes you remarkable? Make a list of your strengths and keep it where you can see them. Place it on your computer monitor, the mirror, or in your Notes folder on your phone. If you don’t constantly remind yourself of what you’re capable of, your negative thoughts will have enough power to take you down. You’re worth so much more than you realize. By knowing what you excel at, you can optimize yourself to master those great traits. It’s about bringing out the best in yourself. If you bring the best version of yourself to the world each day, you’ll have a significant impact on your life. You’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that enriches you.

4. Acknowledge Your Weaknesses

We all have weak areas, don’t let them hold you back. Identify them and decide how to get out of your own way despite their existence. For example, if your skills are lacking in a particular area, outsource or delegate the work to someone else better suited to that type of work. If your weaknesses are more of a character flaw than a skillset weakness, consider reading books, taking courses, or practicing other self-development actions to rework your weaknesses into strengths. For example, if you’re bad at communicating, that’s not something to ignore but something to improve. By not investing in mastering this skill, you’ll be standing in the way of your success.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Other People’s Success

Learning how to get out of your own way includes overcoming a fear of comparison. It’s easy to compare yourself to others around you and feel like you don’t measure up. What you don’t see is how many times they failed before they reached that success. You don’t see the hard work, the time, or the lessons learned along the way. Success eventually happens to everyone. So, when it’s someone else’s turn, high-five them, praise them, and celebrate their wins. You will also have your moment in the sun. It’s so hard to find true allies in life, so be that person to others when you can, and stop comparing yourself to others.

6. Find Allies

Group of friends around a bonfire

It’s important not to put too much emphasis on how others view your goals, your successes, and your decisions. If you want to include people in the process of goal sharing, you can share it with friends and family. Sometimes, you’ll run into a situation where half support your path and others question it. They may not share that vision. And you can’t get mad at that because they’re not you. Not everyone will have the same life experiences, education, or passions as you. You might worry about letting people down or hearing that dread ‘I told you so.’ The only opinion that matters is your own. If you feel a burning desire to achieve something, you need to get out of your own way, find allies, and go out and do it.

7. Avoid Perfectionism

If you have a concept of perfection, you will always be disappointed in yourself. Perfection isn’t attainable. Not one person on this planet is close to perfect. All you can do is try your best. But even then, there are so many variables you can never predict. If you can honestly tell yourself that you’re trying your best, let that be enough. You can change your plans along the way, but there’s nothing wrong with it not being exactly as you planned initially. People who strive for perfection often fail to launch, start, or take any action. And at the end of the day, it’s the failure to start that prevents you from getting out of your own way.

8. Think Positive Thoughts

Get out of your own way by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Negativity can spread through the mind fast and affect your performance. Any time you have a negative idea, say the polar opposite belief in your mind. Do this every time it happens. You’ll retrain your brain to think more optimistically. Often when we think negatively, our brain creates pathways to make negative thinking more common. Fortunately, a positive thinking practice can make happier thoughts more common too.

If you’re dealing with frustration, negative thoughts can become hard to ignore. Feeling overwhelmed with negativity can be a telling sign you need a break from the project at hand. Talk a walk, put it aside for a day, or talk it over with someone to get their input. If you aren’t getting enough rest, focus on sleeping well and then get back to it. When you have a clear head, it is easier to stay positive. Practicing meditation is a great way to clear your mind of negativity.

9. Develop A Plan of Action And Execute It

Woman writing down her goals on paper

Once you have identified your goal, how are you going to accomplish it? When will it be completed? Develop a detailed plan of action and execute it. Assign deadlines and timeframes to specific tasks. Otherwise, the days turn into weeks and months. A year has gone by before you know it, and you aren’t any closer to your goal. With a great plan in place, that won’t be the outcome.

10. Focus on Milestones Towards the Ultimate Goal

Big goals can seem particularly hard to achieve. The amount of time involved shouldn’t deter you. Create milestones along the way. Break down that ultimate goal into manageable pieces. As you see the progress you make, it will help you stay focused on the ultimate goal. The milestones allow you to high-five yourself and see the bigger picture. By celebrating your small wins along the way, the motivation and excitement of success will help you get out of your own way and relish in a happy moment.

11. Allocate Your Resources

Trying to tackle too much at once is going to hold you back. You can’t give 100% when you are feeling drained. You can’t dive into a project when you are already spread too thin. Focus on what is essential and delegate the rest. Allocate your resources to help you get everything you set for yourself done. You may have to hire people to help you with ongoing or one-time pieces for your project.

Take advantage of free resources online and in your community too. Use them to help you achieve your desired outcome in less time. By working smarter, you can apply your time well and manage your tasks on the table. Don’t overlook mentors relating to the topic at hand. They may be people you know, those you used to work with, or even a book you read from an expert on the subject.

12. Stop Making Excuses

Man confidently looking into the camera

You can’t make excuses for yourself and get out of your own way at the same time. Stop with the excuses and make some changes. If you don’t have time to work on what you want to, change your schedule. We all get the same 24 hours per day to work with; Spend your time wisely. Focus on what matters to you and let the rest go. When you have a goal in mind, don’t let anything stop you along the way. If you have a job and a family, it can be harder to use your time exactly how you want to.

Carve out some time to work on the specific goal you have created. It may take you longer to achieve it due to your other responsibilities. Keep moving forward, even if you must do so at a slower pace. It will all be worth it in the end.

13. Get Creative

On your path to get out of your own way, you’ll need to take chances and try something new. If you can’t achieve a goal with your current plan, change it up. Get creative and do something different and see if you get a better outcome. Look for information online from others who have done what you’re trying to achieve. They will share stories and provide feedback so you can try some of the concepts others tried that work.

14. Overcome Challenges Along The Way

Even with a solid plan of action, there will be challenges that get in your way. Don’t let them hold you back or discourage you. Instead, think of the best way to overcome any challenge you face and keep moving forward. If you can’t eliminate the challenge, how can you go around it or over the top of it? Never give up and feel your goal is at a dead-end. You may have to create a new road to keep it going.

15. Establish Rewards

Woman looking at the path ahead of her

Give yourself credit for your efforts, even if the outcome is disappointing at times. Get out of your own way and see how far you can go. Establish rewards for what you accomplished, how you spent your time, and the milestones you have reached toward a goal. Those rewards should be motivating for you. They can be simple, but they should be something you are eager to earn.


The journey of figuring out how to get out of your own way is all about taking the steps with a bit of self-confidence. You do deserve all the success and happiness you want for your life. Ignore the inner critic who fills you with self-doubt and focus on creating a plan to help you create the life you want. Standing in your own way only hurts you, no one else. With a little bit of self-love, you can accomplish anything you set for yourself. Now, get out there and take that first step.

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