Navigating Common Obstacles to Your Goals – 7 Examples

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Having goals will help you focus your energy and efforts and get you closer to achieving the life of your dreams. Some of life’s most satisfying experiences (and sometimes most frustrating and strength-building) are those that involve staying focused on a goal until you achieve it. That means not giving up – even when you want to. It means not giving in – even when those around you are telling you to do just that.

It means that even in the times when, no matter how hard you try, you’re stymied by obstacles blocking the way, you take a step back, look at the obstacle or “tripping point” and do some analysis.

Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes – by recognizing what they are, you get one step closer to removing them from your path. Here are some typical blocks to goal achievement:

1. Lack of creativity. You are likely to have some type of struggle determining how to best work toward achieving your goal – that thing or circumstance that you want. Perhaps you’re fresh out of ideas to make it happen.

2. Negative thinking. We’ve all been held back by negative, energy draining thought processes. You feel like you’re butting your head against a concrete wall and you’re just not going to be able to achieve your dreams. Negative thinking is a potent block, but it’s not undefeatable. Once it begins, if not stopped in it’s tracks, it can escalate, pick up more negative energy,  and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. Lagging confidence. Closely associated with negative thinking, sagging confidence is the antithesis of goal achievement. You start seriously questioning your skills, your commitment, and your ability to complete the work required to reach your goal.

4. Focus follies. Who among us can claim we’ve never lost our way or been distracted on the path toward our dream life? We want to reach that goal, that positive and oh-so-attractive milestone but we keep getting derailed by distractions. How can you work on that important project when your spouse keeps asking you why you aren’t <fill in the task here> or spending time with them, or helping the kids with their activities?

5. Refusing to put in real effort. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it again: Every goal requires you to put in work – and more than just one minute, one hour, or one session, and persevere to reach success.

6. Time traps. Making positive progress toward your goals is challenging enough without having the irritation of feeling that you don’t have enough time to do it.

7. Vague aspirations. If you’re not sure about what you really want, and can’t see a clear goal in front of you, it’s even MORE of a challenge to keep making positive progress toward your goals. Vague aspirations equal unmet goals – if you don’t know what you want, how can you create a plan to get it?

Navigating Obstacles: 7 Starting Points

Now that you have a good idea of what the blocks you might encounter on your way to goal achievement look like, review the suggestions below (corresponding to above-numbered items) to help you create action plans that will empower you to avoid them.

1. Take responsibility to keep creativity and motivation going. Draw pictures of what you want to achieve – make them as realistic as you can. Make a storyboard of your plan of action, using photos and graphics you find online or in magazines. Design a vision board of what your fastest pathway to your goal will look like and include how your life will be different and how you will feel after achieving your goal.

2. Arrest and detain negative thoughts. As soon as those negative thoughts start to creep in, think and then say out loud, “Stop it now!” Put emphasis behind it and really mean it. Then, replace that negativity with a message that speaks to your commitment: “I will persevere and achieve!” Tell yourself, “I can and will do it.”

3. Review past and related achievements. Give yourself kudos for goals you’ve achieved before – especially if they are related to the goals you’re currently working to achieve. Use these reminder techniques to find and connect with your confidence, and recall the times you overcame obstacles, kept moving forward, and ultimately WON.

4. Commit to your goals and renew your focus. Remind yourself daily about why you want to reach a particular goal – create emotional and visual reminders of your goals. Perhaps you’ll earn more money, take on a better job, live in a place you’ve previously only dreamed, or secure your family’s future. Stay on the course you’ve chosen by re-committing to goals each morning, and again throughout your day if needed.

5. Work, Work, Work. Along with committing wholeheartedly to goals, you’ve got to put in consistent time and effort – DO THE WORK. Tell yourself your effort will, in the end, be worth it – because it will.

6. Use your schedule wisely. No matter what your goal, consistently schedule the time to work on it and toward it. If you don’t currently keep a calendar, start now. Use a method that allows you to look at your entire week or month and what’s scheduled at a quick glance. Schedule time to work toward your goals and refuse to take that time away.

* 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.

7. Clarify your goals. Write out your goals – or perhaps the steps toward your goals – and place copies everywhere: inside your house, your briefcase, and your calendar. When you’re sure about what you want, and your path forward is clear and at the forefront of your thoughts, then you can work toward those goals with commitment and power.

There will be obstacles to block the pathways toward your goals – seemingly appearing out of nowhere. But if you can identify the sources of the blocks, you can develop smart and strategic solutions, Start today to use these time-tested strategies to identify and navigate around those obstacles and claim your success.