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Five Reasons You Won’t Get What You Want

shutterstock_219521062There are a lot of things we all want — a great relationship, a meaningful career, a slimmer waistline, less stress, and maybe a little more happiness — and try as we may, the sad truth for most of us is that it won’t happen. And for all of our trying, seldom do we stop to ask why. Yet consistently, we make errors in pursuit of our desires, often sabotaging ourselves, getting in our own way, and ultimately preventing getting what we really want. Here are just five ways you might be standing in the way of what you really want.

You Give Up Too Soon. Getting what you want isn’t supposed to be easy. While you may think you deserve a great relationship NOW, maybe you haven’t truly learned how to cultivate one. It takes years after all. And so do most things you want. That meaningful career isn’t hatched overnight, and for those that do have it, they know that it was earned over many years of hard work. Yet, for most of us, we have wants, and then we have excuses. Why we don’t go after our dreams. Why we can’t start that business. Why we can’t bear another relationship that may break our heart. And why we don’t really think we can learn to be happy, because the stress just keeps on coming. Yet if our wants are truly great — which for most people they are — they are not supposed to be easy, and earning them is a requirement of enjoying them.

You Don’t Take Setbacks Well. Setbacks hurt. Loss hurts. Failure hurts. But these things are inevitable and NOBODY escapes this life without them. Yet, what do most of us do with setbacks? We focus on them, on how unfair, unjust, or just plain painful they feel. What do we not do? We don’t focus on how to move through them — even use them — to propel us forward. Because setbacks are never the problem, yet what you do with them is.

You Doubt Yourself. You may want a lot of things, but do you really think you deserve them? Because if you don’t, the doubt you have will direct everything you do. If you don’t believe 100% that you deserve what you want, it shouldn’t be news that you won’t get it. You will find excuses, give up too soon, listen to the critics, because, it’s what you think too. Getting what you want, after all, means you have to believe you deserve it.

You Focus Too Much On What You Don’t Want. Most of us are more regulated by fear than by desire. And if you are afraid of what you don’t want — ending up alone, being rejected, being overlooked for that promotion, feeling as if your life doesn’t matter — you will focus on that, and tune all of your efforts toward preventing it. And what will you miss? That in order to get what you want, you have to focus on it more than anything else in your life. And if you are busy keeping your eyes on the obstacles in your way, or the things you are afraid of, you are not seeing the path to what you do want.

You Focus Too Much On What Others Think. Sure what others think matters. But if it matters more than getting what you want, you will shift your behavior to make sure you are accepted by everyone but yourself. And instead of going after — will full force — what you want, you will be busy worrying about what others think. Maybe they will think you are a failure if at first you don’t succeed. Maybe they will think you are foolish. Maybe they will think you are too forward, and you’ll scare them off. But what does it really matter? Because in the end, it your life, not theirs. And if you are busy living it for them, you are not living it for yourself.


Getting what you want isn’t supposed to be easy and anyone who tells you that it is, is probably trying to sell you something. It’s hard — really hard. So if you are asking yourself why you don’t have what you want, instead, you might want to ask if you are making these five errors.

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Five Reasons You Won’t Get What You Want

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Claire Dorotik-Nana LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in post-traumatic growth, leveraging adversity, and other epic human achievements. Claire has written multiple continuing education courses for Professional Development Resources, Zur Institute, and International Sport Science Association. Claire has also authored multiple books, including:
Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards and On The Back Of A Horse: Harnessing The Healing Power Of The Human-Equine Bond. For more information about Leveraging Adversity or Claire, visit

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APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2014). Five Reasons You Won’t Get What You Want. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Nov 2014
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