Home guest articles Human Nature: Five Bad Behaviors That Are Keeping You from Reaching Your Goals

Human Nature: Five Bad Behaviors That Are Keeping You from Reaching Your Goals

written by Guest Blogger March 26, 2015

Got goals you really want to reach but they just never seem to become realized? Our beloved regular contributor, Dixie Somers, is here today to share with us some insight into human behaviour so we can overcome these common tendencies and finally reach the goals that are most important to us! 

We all have goals that we’d like to achieve, but oftentimes human nature gets in the way. Part of the blame is ours, of course, but another part can be laid squarely on the shoulders of human nature. Bad behaviors often take over our best-laid plans and can make us feel like we will never reach our goals. Take a look at how human nature interferes with achievement, and how to outsmart bad habits in order to cheat the system.


Studies have found that the brain is slow to recall tasks that have not yet been started. However the brain does recall and is motivated to finish tasks that have been started and partially completed but not finished. Therefore, if we can get started on our goals, we’re far more likely to complete them than if we procrastinate on taking that first step.


Visualization is supposed to be a tool to help you reach your goals, but too much visualization can be too much of a good thing. Studies show that people who spend the most time fantasizing about reaching a goal spend the least time engaging in productive behavior directed towards achieving it. Jeremy Dean, psychological researcher at UCL London, points out that fantasies take place in the “here and now” part of our brains. Why take steps to achieve a goal, he asks, that it feels like we’ve already attained?

Surrounding Yourself with Negativity

This can take the form of listening to your own negative self-talk, absorbing the words of naysayers, or hanging around with others who never seem to meet their goals, either. Being with others in the same fix can be a special problem because it is human nature to want to be accepted by your friends and therefore to reinforce each other’s negative, discouraging messages. You may need to find more positive friends in order to finally start achieving your goals.

Watching Too Much Television

Television is, by nature, captivating. It doesn’t encourage you to move. It compels you to sit and watch. Furthermore, once you’ve started a program, it can be almost impossible to walk away in the middle of it. Remember how the brain tends to cling to half-finished tasks as discussed in Point Number 1? Try removing the TV from your life altogether, or only watch television to celebrate concrete actions you’ve taken towards your goal.


For some, it seems impossible to over-plan, but planning for your goal can get out of hand, especially if you are trying to achieve several goals at once. You set goals, and then you set interim goals and write out complicated lists and plans to help you overcome the obstacles you see in your path. It all looks good on paper, but in the real world, nothing is happening. Remember that while there’s something to be said for looking before you leap, planning is no substitute for action.

Sometimes human nature throws obstacles in our way to keep us from reaching the very goals that are most important to us. Learning about the negative behaviors that keep us from reaching goals and how to overcome them can increase our chances of attaining success. By recognizing your weaknesses and the human nature within you, you can more easily create a plan of attack to help you combat human nature and achieve your goals.

The information for this article was provided by professionals who offer a bachelor of arts in sociology for those who are interested in studying human behavior.

About the Author

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer from Arizona. You can find her on Google+.

How do you overcome these human tendencies? Have you identified other human tendencies we need to be aware of to reach our goals?


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