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  • Writer's pictureJaveria Fatima Zaidi

Highly Sensitive Women: Unpacking the Struggle with Goal Achievement

In a world littered with motivational speakers, self-help gurus, and services to suit every budget, why isn’t everyone smashing their goals? Specifically, why are the detail-oriented, hardworking, highly sensitive women struggling to reach their full potential?

There are of course unique circumstances in everyone’s life, but certain general things can hold HSPs back.


1) (too) High Expectations

HSP’s: the poster children for detail, perfectionism, and high standards. These are great qualities to have, but if left unchecked, can overwhelm the highly sensitive nervous system.

As an HSP, you may get so motivated about your goal, that you plan… and plan… and plan some more! And before you know it, you have a 10-point action plan just for Step 1, and you’re exhausted before you’ve even started.


2. Overstimulation

Overstimulation can be caused by internal, as well as external factors. External things can be bright lights, strong smells, and loud noise.

Reflect on this: how do you spend most of your day? If you’re constantly rushing from one noisy, brightly-lit place to the next, your nervous system is likely frazzled. You might be using a lot of mental space just trying to manage the overwhelm and irritation, and that doesn’t leave much room for working towards your goal.

Overstimulation can also arise from within… the constant onslaught of ideas and thoughts rushing around your head as you hurry through life; aches and pains in the body making it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand; worries about the future and fears of the past swirling in your mind, governing your life.

Being a person so attuned to all external and internal stimuli in this busy, chaotic world, is it any wonder that you are overwhelmed, short-tempered and distracted?


3. Lack of Self-Care

Being the empathetic people highly sensitive women are, they normally put everyone’s needs above their own. Sometimes we do need to prioritise others, such as in the case of young children, but a lot of times, it is entirely possible to reclaim some time for our own selves.

And by self-care I don’t just mean a hot bath, although that could be part of it. Self-care refers to anything you NEED to do to take care of yourself.

For someone, self-care might include prioritising a tidy kitchen, so that they’re better able to deal with the early morning rush of everyone leaving for school/work. For someone else, self-care might mean batch-creating social media content. It looks different for everyone based on their needs and priorities, but it is essential to understand what you need, and give it to yourself.

Neglecting this step is the perfect way to remain stuck in the rut of starting out on new goals, but never quite reaching them.


4. Fear of failure

As deeply-feeling creatures, the pain of failure threatens to punch us in the gut. Failure, criticism, both either perceived or real, hit hard and often drag us down to the depths of despair.

When a person does not have the tools to regulate their emotions, they try to deal by avoiding this pain, which in turn means that they avoid doing things they may not be good at… which translates to avoiding any new things altogether, since there is normally a learning curve involved.

This fear of failure not only holds the highly sensitive woman back from the goals she wants to achieve in life, but also keeps her stuck in a rut; she does not set big goals, because she is afraid of failing, and then she feels deeply upset about not moving forward in life. It becomes a lose-lose situation.


5. Saying yes to everything

It is not a secret that many highly sensitive women are people-pleasers, and as such, struggle with saying no.

Now, I use the term ‘people pleasing’ with caution; consciously choosing to make someone happy is an admirable (and increasingly rare) quality in this transactional world.

The problem is when a person feels unable to refuse, despite wanting to.

By saying yes to things that do not align with your goals, values and vision, you waste your precious energy, while ignoring what you really want to be doing.


These are just some of the factors that could hinder your growth and goal attainment as a highly sensitive woman. It would be impossible to compile an exhaustive list of hindrances, but a few tweaks in mindset and habit changes could be deeply impactful in the pursuit of meaningful goals.

If you often beat yourself up for not doing better, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can be major hindrance to crafting your dream life, but you’re not alone.

Book a discovery call today to find out how I can help.

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