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  • Writer's pictureSarah Dresser

The 6 Main Reasons People Give Up on Their Dreams - And How to Keep Going

Online discussion of the dream life usually just mentions the unhappy "before" and successful "after".

But there is little discussion of the transition, the journey.

The path you will take to follow your goals and dreams will have so many obstacles, disappointments and delays. There will be a hundred reasons to give up. But the biggest blocks will not arise from outside factors; they will come from within you.

Here are the six which I believe most people will face. Read on to learn about them and, more importantly, how to deal with each one. I am passing on everything I've learned over the last 9 years to make your path smoother. I hope these help!

Person walking a road in the middle of the countryside

1 - You Feel Like a Beginner Again

Whether it's a career, or a relationship, so many people stay in a situation that they know is not right or particularly happy. But there is a comfort in the familiar. "Better the devil you know" as the saying goes.

But once you leave, you have to face uncertainty. Suddenly you feel like you are floundering, as if you don't have the know-how to do the work. You may not have liked your old job but you felt reasonably confident that you knew how to do it.

But everyone I know who has changed career has always brought some form of transferable skills from the old to the new. It may take you a few steps back at first, but stay with the discomfort. The discomfort is a sign of growing pains.

"Don't be afraid to feel that you don't know it all (yet). It might feel like you are floundering. Stay with the discomfort. If you are learning, you are growing."

The most important skill is the ability to learn.

If you are working for yourself, I firmly believe that the ability to learn and apply what you learn is as important as the skills and education you have at the start of your change in career. Set yourself learning goals. I will say this more than once: your mind is your most valuable resource.

2 - You Are Overwhelmed By Change

While there is no perfect time to make a change, I highly recommend you minimize the changes you do take on. If you can, transition from the old job to the new job. This wasn't an option available to me as my old career in Information Technology (IT) was all-consuming. There were no regular hours.

I also took on moving town and therefore also home at the same time as part of saving costs and also a complete life redesign. I have no regrets because I had a very clear vision of my life. But for anyone else, I would recommend that you take on one major change at a time.

Focus on two core areas of the business: the work itself and marketing the work

Assuming the only major change is your work, then I recommend you focus on two key areas; 1 - your core work

2 - one way of marketing your work.

Marketing can seem like a dirty word. Here's how to think of it: it is the way in which people will find and also understand your work. You cannot simply do your work and hope that people will find it. You need to make it easier for people to discover and connect with your work.

Expand your business presence gradually

Expand your business presence gradually. You do not need to have an Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, Twitter....account immediately, or at all.

In the same way, you do not need multiple ways to offer your services or work, just one in the beginning. You don't need to be on Youtube, touring, offering courses, podcasts etc. all at once.

Establish one way to attract people to your business and one core way you create the core work itself.

3 - You Focus Only on Doing the Work, But No Research

When faced with a new career there is so much to do, and so you may end up just "doing", working all hours to produce your work. But however busy you are, put aside an hour a day to look up a specific area that you are learning, more so in the beginning.

And don't stop there. Also research your niche.

If you're starting a blog, use a tool like Ubersuggest AI to find and refine topics. If you're on Youtube use Tubebuddy* to find highly searchable topics. Writing a book? Read others in your niche. This is not to say you should be like others; most definitely not. It will in fact help you define what is unique about you and your work.

4 - You Feel Undeserving of Success and Subconsciously Self-Sabotage

Maybe you received messages of "know your place", "stay in your lane" or "don't get too big for your boots". You were told to step in line and heard that success equates to being greedy, entitled and arrogant. The underling message is: how dare you want more.

Or perhaps the message you heard was that if you succeed someone else has to lose. This is not true, of course. But our beliefs shape our reality.

However busy you are, there will be those times when that negative self-talk speaks up. But as I say time and again, no child was ever born with a negative self-image. This is all learned. If you need help, my Meditation to Banish the Inner Critic may provide the support you need to eject that voice once and for all.

"You can be aware of your thoughts but you don't need to believe them. You are more than your thoughts"

Does self-sabotage show up for you? If so, how? Do you procrastinate and miss deadlines and let people down? Do you lose your nerve and back out of a presentation or a conversation that could help you advance along the path to your dream? Do you over-worry and lose focus on the work that really matters?

If so, you may find this Meditation to Transform Self-Sabotage to Success useful too. I also have a range of support for anxiety, from powerful hypnosis sessions, meditations and short mindfulness and coaching sessions all in one Anxiety Relief Playlist here.

5 - You Feel Lonely and Unsupported

In the beginning, your goal or dream will matter most to you, and perhaps will not matter at all to anyone else. It really requires self-motivation to keep you goal or dream alive. The online imagery and messaging I see portrays the pursuit of dreams as glamorous, exciting, and joyful. And it can be.

But the process of pursuing your dreams will also mean that you face every aspect of your shadow self, every self-doubt you ever had.

Get formal training or join a supportive group

If you feel you still need help, do get training. Get the education that will support your new career, your goal or dream. Find a peer group to connect with. Join a local or online networking group.

Suspend disbelief

When you are struggling to believe that your dream will be successful, suspend disbelief. Find the courage to carry on. I wrote these Dare to Dream Affirmations to encourage anyone and everyone with a dream to keep going.

6 - You Are Losing Money (in the Beginning)

Whether you spend money on education, on new tools and equipment, or simply to yourself as you establish your business and break even, you may lose money in the beginning. How long for? I can't say. For me it was three years.

How to deal with this? First, track your budget

For the last nine years I have tracked my budget, every dollar. I highly recommend you do the same. A simple Excel or Google sheet is enough where you record all weekly paper and electronic receipts.

And then challenge every assumption about what you believe you "have to" spend.

I stopped buying clothes, eating out and when I needed tools for work, where possible I bought secondhand equipment. Now that I am on camera for my work I have been able to buy all my on-camera clothes for a fraction of the cost at Thred Up* (this link will give you a $10 credit to try it out for yourself).

"To succeed in your own business you need to be both a visionary and a pragmatist"

Yes, you are following a higher purpose but you still need to understand the dollars spent. You can, and in fact must be both a visionary and a pragmatist to succeed in your dreams.

Second, remain clear on your definition of success. You will likely need to invest some form of money in your dream, but please do not take on the false abundance of "spend big to earn big". Invest in your mind, in learning, and in the practical tools you need to do the core work of your new career or dream.

We live in a world where people are driven to measure themselves in material success. But those who flash their material possessions do not necessarily have financial wealth or stability. Do not fall into that trap.

"Get crystal clear on your definition of success. How will the world, or at least one person's life, be different as a result of your work? "

Yes, your end goal is to be financially self-sustaining in your dream job. But success in your goal or dream has to mean more than just the stuff that can be bought; more than material gains. How will you know you are successful? What will that mean, and not just for you but for those around you and those you serve through your work?


After you begin the path to your dreams, you may feel at first that you have lost, not gained: lost money, time, competence even.

But remember: you're changing path, not starting again. Keep learning and you will grow and improve. You will regain a sense of assurance.

Passion got you started. But many other qualities are needed to reach the end goal. As you become aware of them, tackle those limiting beliefs. We all have them.

It my take longer than you think, one in another article as a mindset shift you need in order to succeed. We consciously or subconsciously put a timeline on success and not meeting that timeline can be devastating. Patience, friend.

And always, always, retain clarity on what success means to you.

And to support you in whatever your goal or dream may be, listen to my Confidence Affirmations to Go for Goals and my Sleep Meditation to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Dreams

Thanks for Reading

Sarah Dresser, Creator of Unlock Your Life

My name is Sarah from Unlock Your Life, and I quit a 17-year corporate career to create the job I love.

You can access my hypnosis, meditations and affirmations sessions on my YouTube channel here and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

If you have benefitted from my work, please donate to support me here on Paypal or through Donorbox.

And, as always, I am here to support you on your journey.

*Please note that this is an affiliate link and if you sign up for a paid plan now or later I may receive a commission. However, the price to you is the same or, in some cases, lower than the full retail price


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