Max Ehmer's 76th-minute goal condemned Pools to a 1-0 defeat at Stevenage and leaves them eight points adrift of safety with four games left.
Hughes said: "It's the story of our season, we'll play well and get all the plaudits but we will concede and we have not got the steely determination to keep a clean sheet and play.
"That's not having a go at the players, but is that the mindset? If it is we will have to change the mindset as I really feel for the boys.
"When teams are on a winning run it seems to go in for them, but these things are going against us, in all your great sportsmen you see a real willingness and self-belief.
"Maybe that comes with winning, so if we can bring that to the club and turn up and play with that confidence then I'm sure we will score goals.
"I thought we were the better footballing side, but it is the same old story, we cannot get the ball over that white line. I felt we controlled the game and passed it well, but it's just the final third."