5 Patterns that Keep You from Living Your Dream

thrive global author
Have you been waiting for that moment of truth when everything clicks for you, when you know your life’s purpose, and you are living the life you’ve always wanted?
By Millette Jones, originally published on Thrive Global.

We wait and wait and wait for that moment when we have our lives together, have clarity and focus, and can live. Meanwhile, we jump from one thing to another to find our meaning, or we stay stuck in the same place for years. The next thing we know, decades have passed, and we are still waiting. Does this sound familiar?

Most people do not understand what they want in life, and that included me for many, many years. I had a good job, a good marriage, a good life; but there was something missing, and I didn’t know what it was. I assumed things would just fall into place someday, and that missing piece would appear and complete my puzzle. For many years, I waited and waited. Then it dawned on me that time was ticking and ticking fast. If I didn’t live the life of my dreams now, it would never happen, and it would be no one’s fault but my own.

Since the waiting game had not worked, I looked for answers. Instead of looking outside of myself for answers, as disguised in the form of another degree, job, or relationship, as I had exhausted all of those things, I looked inside myself to see what was there. I had been unsuccessful up to this point, so what did I have to lose? What I discovered was a vast field of unfulfilled potential, a mountain of dreams and passions, and an ocean of strengths and possibilities; but it required a conscious effort to move beyond my familiar patterns of mediocrity.

So why did I stay stuck for so long and allow time to keep passing by without living up to my true potential? For the same reasons we all do. There are five main patterns we run whose sole purpose is to keep up the status quo. The good news is we don’t have to let these patterns run our lives anymore.


Everyone has bad habits, and we can break those habits. We can replace old habits with new life-affirming habits. For example, I love to watch documentaries a few times a week. If I walked my dogs instead, I would be in much better shape, my life would be more fulfilling, and I would be a happier and healthier person. Can you name a habit that has kept you stuck that you could replace with a new habit that will move you toward your dream?


Fear can keep us immobilized and stuck in the same job, relationship, or situation for years. It is scary to step out of your comfort zone to see what’s on the other side.

What is one thing you can do every day that moves you outside your comfort zone? Try doing this for a few days, and before you know it, the size of your comfort zone will have grown. Keep doing it every day, and your comfort zone will expand.

Lack of Clarity

Not knowing what to do or where to look can keep you from pursuing your dream. To lead you toward your true calling, the only place to look is inside yourself.

Ask yourself these questions daily: What would I love to be doing? What are my strengths? What does a perfect day look like? What is my purpose? We all have a purpose, but it takes courage and willingness to find it.

Outdated Beliefs

What is your belief about success? Somewhere along the way, I learned that success equals hard work and doing what I don’t enjoy; and someday after putting in my time, I will finally be successful. This belief about success has not worked for me, and I’ve been miserable trying to live up to it.

What is your belief about happiness? Some people believe if they finish college, land a great job, get married, have 3 kids and a dog, they will have a happy life. Many are happy, but there are just as many people that are not happy living this life. Can you identify your outdated beliefs that are keeping you living the status quo?

Lack of Focus

If you can keep your mind on what you love and how it will feel to live a life that is fulfilling, you will move toward your dreams. Keep reminders around that will motivate you to move forward. You can put them in your car, on your mirror, or anywhere to reignite that spark within you when you lose your focus. Open your heart to your true calling and listen because it wants to express itself to you.

Which of these patterns do you experience? Please share any tips you have for moving beyond these patterns to create positive change in your life.


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