When you see other people living their desired lifestyles, what’s your emotional reaction? Do you wonder what they know that you don’t? You might be surprised at what’s holding you back from your ideal life: these 4 dream killers are the most common.

The biggest factors that hurt your odds of deciding and executing your desired lifestyle (AKA lifestyle design) transcend income bracket and work industry.

Before you can execute your lifestyle design, you have to first identify what’s holding you back and what dream killers are looming in your life.

woman with backpack looking out over old european city

Intro To Dream Killers: What’s Holding You Back From Your Desired Life

Have you ever dreamt of living abroad, traveling full-time as a digital nomad or starting your own online biz? You can live these lifestyles, or any lifestyle you want, with lifestyle design.

Not only are they possible, but they may cost less and bring you more happiness than your current lifestyle. So, what’s holding you back then? Become acquainted with these dream killers so you can have a strong and productive mindset as you puruse your desired life.

What’s Holding You Back From Your Desired Life? Check These 4 Dream Killers

1. Taking Advice From Anyone

Would you ask just anyone to repair your car? What about looking at your cat’s eye infection? Advice on investing your retirement funds?

You would turn to people who understand the goal outcome and can help get you there. Lifestyle design is no different.

Internalizing advice from just anyone is a surefire dream killer. You may internalize someone else’s restrictions that, albeit are completely valid for them, have nothing to do with your life.

In my blog post about career fulfillment, I shared my story of me almost not quitting my corporate job to become a digital nomad because my colleagues kept telling me to not neglect my retirement fund.

woman with backpack looking out over old european city

Guess what? I was 23 years old. My retirement fund was gonna be just fine, thank you. But their warnings were so serious that I almost fell right into the trap of this dream killer. I internalized their fears when I needed to discard that advice and only make space for concerns valid to my circumstances.

Only hold a limited amount of space for people’s concerns. Real limited. Your dreams and your mental health rely on this.

Tthis doesn’t just apply to colleagues. The same advice goes for friends and family. As much as they try to help, sometimes what’s holding us back can be the people who love us most.

It was Moosha Rahat who said, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

The people around you and the advice you get will shape your future profoundly. Choose wisely.

Finding The Right Advice

You must be exposed to conversations by people living or pursuing their dream lifestyle for you to grow yourself.

If you don’t have anyone in real life to talk to, seek wisdom from books, podcasts and documentaries. In the internet age, lack of access is not what’s holding you back from “meeting” people living their ideal lifestyles. You just have go find them.

These are 3 good resources to get started carving out your own path in life:

2. What’s Holding You Back The Most: Self-Imposed Restrictions

There are people living on sailboats, starting their own businesses and walking for years (Forest Gump, but it’s true!). Don’t dream small! Dream weird and big.

For Pete’s sake, you can apply to go to the Moon or Mars. I beg of you, don’t be realistic. Shoot for the moon, literally, if that’s what you’d like to get from your one and only life.

night sky over lit up rock formation

In fact, dreaming bigger may actually make your dreams more attainable.

Tim Ferris says this about the danger of pursuing “realistic” goals in his book The 4-Hour Workweek:

“Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy-consuming.”

What would you do if you absolutely could not fail? If you were 100% guaranteed to succeed?

If you don’t have an answer to this question yet, that’s what’s holding you back more than anything. You must believe that you can achieve success, whatever that looks like for you, and decide that it’s worth pursuing.

Limiting beliefs and indecision have consequences. Risks of indecision include years spent waiting to figure it all out and becoming too afraid to ever start.

I’m not saying that you need to have a plan mapped out, but if you’re waiting for “one day” to start, remember that one day does not really exist until you decide to make it real.

Without realizing it, you may have already let other aspirations in your life fall to this dream killer. Have you ever had the aspiration to play an instrument? Or read more? Without picking an instrument or buying a book, these aspirations get stuck in limbo.

You must find your first draft of “what” and feverishly pursue it. And, you’ll have an infinite amount of drafts, so don’t be nervous.

3. Thinking It’ll Just Happen

An invitation will not arrive in the mail to invite you to pursue your desired life. Your boss will not call you into their office to tell you it’s time to take on the project that is your dreams.

Some people will survive a lightning strike or miraculously escape from a hideous car crash without a scratch and think “I’m lucky to be alive, I’ll never sleepwalk through life again.”

For many people, it will be quieter. Instead of an epiphany arriving with a flash and Whitney Houston soundtrack, it’ll be quiet. Solemn.

A desperate or even disgusting “this is what I have to show?”

It’s the moment that, as a child, I always associated with being midlife, disappointed with where life had taken your and without enough energy to even have a proper midlife crisis.

Kind of like Mr. Incredible coming home from his insurance job day in and day out.

Now, I’m not wishing that moment on anyone. Maybe you’ll win the lottery, realize your ideal lifestyle and execute it in an enlightened way.

Sure, that’s the dream, but waiting for that moment is an absolute dream killer.

Heck, if it’ll be a stepping stone to you living the life of your dreams, then, yes. I actually do wish that moment on you. That moment is a gift.

What Those Moments Have Looked Like For Other People

One of my business role models, Brian Trautman, shared his moment that decided to leave his corporate job where he was unfulfilled. He was climbing the ladder at Microsoft when his boss called him into his office and asked him about his career aspirations.

Brian didn’t have an answer to this question, so his boss shared his answer by turning to an organizational chart for Microsoft. His boss’s goal was to be big enough in the company to be a dot on the organizational chart.

top down view of a yacht in clear water

Brian has described this moment in interviews and the catalyst for leaving the tech world. He bought a sailboat and has now spent more than a decade sailing around the world. He and his wife run a Youtube channel that’s famous in the travel world called Sailing SV Delos.

Brain didn’t necessarily know he wanted to sail around the world when he was in the office that day. He didn’t a whole plan, but he took the first step but acknowledging that his daily actions weren’t moving him in the direction he wanted to go.

My personal moment was attending an event in Chicago. The event itself was inconsequential, but I remember that the people on stage had passion for what they were talking about.

This was noteworthy to me because it sharply contrasted the complete and utter apathy I had for my daily work.

The moment was quiet, and it felt sad. I felt like these people had reached some step in enlightenment that I hadn’t, and it was a step that I was worried I’d never reach.

Truthfully, at that time I hadn’t tried to leave my dream life. If someone had asked me “what’s holding you back from living your desired life?” at the time I would’ve mumbled a handful of really convincing excuses.

But, in reality: I was 100% responsible for my dream killers.

I hadn’t decided what I wanted or even tried to decide. I was still on the conveyer belt.

Don’t wait for the lightning strike of inspiration. Take this blog post as your sign.

An Exception To This Dream Killer

An exception to this dream killer is people who are pursuing FIRE or similar planned financial plans that still lead to their ideal lifestyle.

FIRE stands for financial independence/retire early. People pursuing FIRE have made a plan and mapped out their path to their desired lifestyle.

woman with backpack standing on a wooden bridge in the rainforest

4. Not Changing As You Grow

One of the biggest surprises of lifestyle design is how emotional it is. You’re constantly tuning into your emotions, to your sense of balance and purpose.

Changing your mind, or even hating what you’ve chosen is okay. But what will definitely not lead to actually finding your dream lifestyle is refusing to alter course.

What you want *will* change as you grow. Anyone with a baby can tell you that their idea of the perfect Sunday has changed. #RIPsleepingin

Don’t resist change or mislabel growth as failure. When the moment comes that you don’t feel what you chose is working for you anymore, have the courage to change.

These steps of finding what you want and deciding to pursue it will have to be repeated over and over.

It reminds me of a tweet that I read once. It said something to the effect of:

“Go ahead and grow. I’ll get to know you again if I have to.”

Bring that energy into your lifestyle design. And while you’re at it into all of your relationships because we need more of that in life.

Conquering These Dream Killers

Lifestyle design isn’t a genie in a bottle – you don’t have a limited number of wishes. You can choose over and over again.

But, decide to chose. Deide to put a dream on the calendar. Decide to start something new even if you have zero idea of how to make it happen.

Don’t mimick. Don’t pursue lifestyle a, b or c just because you see it online all the time. Figure out what *you* want.

Keep a strong mindset, make goals and go make your dreams come true.

Dream Killers: What’s Holding You Back Final Thoughts

Other people are living their dream lives. Why not you? Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

Do these dream killers feel like the source of what’s holding you back? I hope after this, you’ll be able to put your dream killers, whatever they are, in their place.