7 Common Obstacles to Your Goals and How to Navigate Them
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Having goals will help you achieve the life of your dreams. Some of life’s most satisfying experiences are those that involve staying focused on a goal until you achieve it. Yet you’ll likely experience times when, no matter how hard you try, you’re stymied by obstacles blocking the way.
Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some typical blocks to goal achievement:
1. Lack of creativity. You might have your own struggles determining how to best work toward attaining what you want. Perhaps you’ve run out of ideas to make it happen.
2. Negative thinking. We’ve all been plagued by negative thinking. You feel you’re just not going to be able to achieve your dreams. Negative thinking is a potent block, because once it begins, it tends to escalate and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. Lagging confidence. Following closely on the heels of negative thinking, sagging confidence is the bane of goal achievement. You begin to seriously question your skills and abilities to complete the work required to reach your goal.
4. Focus follies. Who among us can claim we’ve never lost our way on the path toward our dream life? We want to reach that milestone but we keep getting thwarted by distractions. How can you work on an important project when your wife keeps asking you why you aren’t painting the house or spending time with the kids?
5. Refusing to put in effort. It goes without saying that every goal requires you to work and persevere to reach success. As the saying goes, in order for your dreams to work you have to.
6. Time traps. Making your way toward goals is challenging enough without having the irritation of not enough time to do it.
7. Vague aspirations. If you’re unsure about what you really want and why you want it, it’s a challenge to continue steadily toward your goals. Vague aspirations equal unmet goals.
Now that you have a good idea of blocks you might encounter on your way to achieving your goals, review the suggestions below (corresponding to above-numbered items) to determine how to best avoid them.
1. Take responsibility to keep creativity going. Draw pictures of what you hope to achieve. Make a storyboard of your plan of action. Design a vision board of what your goal pathway looks like and include how your life will differ after achieving your goal.
2. Arrest negative thoughts. As soon as they creep in, think, “Stop it now” and mean it. Then, replace that negativity with an “I will persevere and achieve” message. Tell yourself, “I can and will do it.”
3. Review past achievements. Give yourself props for goals you’ve achieved before. What were those goals? Use these reminder techniques to find and connect with your confidence.
4. Commit to goals. Remind yourself daily about why you want to reach a particular goal. Perhaps you’ll earn more money, get a better job, live in a place you prefer, or protect your family’s future. Stay the course by re-committing to goals each morning. Set some mini-goals and reward yourself along the way.
5. Work. Along with committing wholeheartedly to goals, you’ve got to put in the work. Tell yourself your effort will, in the end, be worth it.
6. Use your schedule. No matter what your goal, consistently schedule the time to work toward it. If you don’t keep a calendar now, start. Look at your entire week or month and what’s scheduled with a quick glance. Write in when you’ll work toward goals.
· Maybe it will be Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. or Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Follow your schedule consistently.
· Have daily, weekly and monthly goals with deadlines.
7. Clarify goals. Write them and place copies everywhere inside your house, briefcase, and calendar. When you’re sure about what you want, then you can diligently work toward those goals.
There will be obstacles to block the pathways toward your goals. But if you can identify the sources of the blocks, you can develop solutions or use these time-tested strategies to navigate those obstacles and claim your success.