Achieve Your Goals Regardless of the Obstacles

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC

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Sometimes you will find that life will be a twisting path of “potholes” that you have to swerve around to reach your desired outcome. You’ve probably already experienced times in your life where you wondered if your luck would ever change. Then, things calmed down and you discovered a smoother, straighter road. You may have figured out some ways to avoid and/or prevent reoccurring problems; you may have picked up some helpful coping skills along the way or, perhaps, you implemented some structure, strategies, and routines to keep you on course.

Regardless of where your journey leads, it’s important to be able to continue making progress to meet the goals you’ve established for yourself. Through the tough times, staying focused on what you want in life will keep your spirits up, give you purpose and infuse happiness into your daily life.

The key, then, to a fulfilled life is to set and achieve your goals regardless of the road blocks thrown in your path.  

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” -Carl Rogers


Try these tips to continue going for your goals even when life’s road gets rough:


1.      Know exactly what you’re after in life. What do you want your life to be like? Make both long and short-term goals. What is your ideal day? Walk yourself through it. How can you create that for yourself? What is missing now? What do you appreciate about your daily routine that you would like to keep? Where do you hope to be in 5, 10, 15 or more years? What does it look like? What will you be doing? You can start in general terms and become more specific.


For example, in 20 years I want to be healthy and able to enjoy my grandchildren. What are some steps you can take today to invest in your future? Do you need to reevaluate your diet? Incorporate lifting weights into your workout? When you’re sure or at least know what you want in general terms, you can then plan your activities over the short and long term to help you achieve your goals.


“A dream without a plan is just a wish.” -Anon

2.      Keep your list of life goals short and to the point. Some good examples of life goals are“: Save 25% of my yearly earnings for kids’ education, vacations, and retirement,” Take budget-friendly vacations out of the country every 5 years,” and “Retire when I’m 67.”


3.      Infuse elements of achieving your goals into your everyday life. Let’s say one of your goals, a trip out of the country, will be to Australia 3 years from now. Have a couple of books about Australia laying around the house, on your coffee table and nightstand. Listen to music from Australia on your MP3. Watch television shows about the land down under.  


·         Have reminders and tasks to do that are related to meeting your life goals throughout your home. Make your life goals part of your everyday life so that even when times get bumpy, you’ll be able to keep your eyes on what’s really important to you.

·         Track your progress and reward yourself. Long term goals can be tiring. Don’t give up. It will be worth the effort.


“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” -Brene Brown

4.      Talk positively to yourself. It can be quite helpful to use positive self-talk. When you do, you’ll be more likely to keep working toward your goals in life. Say something like, “I’m in a rough patch but I will still keep saving for my retirement and my kids’ educations.”

·         Other examples of positive self-talk are “I can get through this challenging phase just like I did before,” “As long as I keep moving forward, things will be okay,” and “Life has many more wonderful adventures in store for me.”

·         Using positive self-talk will keep your spirits buoyed when you feel like you’re floundering in choppy waters with no land in sight.


“Aim for progress, not perfection.” -Unknown


5.      Reflect on your efforts in order to reinforce them. Even though you may be struggling, think about the steps you took this week to get closer to your goals. Maybe you made a couple of phone calls, explored the internet to gather information, or drew up a new budget to ensure you’re on target for saving for your life goals.

·         The fact is you did something. And recognizing that will reinforce your efforts in your quest to achieve your goals. You can excel in times of great challenge.


Keep working toward accomplishing your goals even though life throws out more than a few obstacles.  Know what you’re after and stay focused. Make your life goals a part of your daily routine and use positive self-talk. Acknowledge what you’ve done to keep moving forward and remember that striving to reach these goals helps you grow and change.