Make it happen part 3
The ten obstacles
In the previous module, we looked at the ten elements needed to get you where you want to be. Achieving your goals is not always easy and normally the bigger the goal, the more challenges come your way.
Why, when setting an important goal, do most people not follow through?
What exactly is it that stops people from moving forward?
In this module, we’ll take a closer look at the most common obstacles that can stop people from achieving their goals.
As we go through the list, think about which ones have affected you most in the past. What are the things that have stopped you from achieving your goals; what has held you back?
Ten obstacles that hinder goal achievement
- Low initial commitment to change
Many people will tell you they want to change, be fitter, smarter, healthier, stop smoking or drinking and so on, but don’t have a strong commitment to change. It’s not that important to them.
There’s no self-help or personal development programme that can help you achieve a change if you don’t commit to it yourself – you really do need to value the goal – it needs to be important to you.
That’s why it’s imperative to have a goal that has real meaning to you. One you really want to achieve for yourself – not because of someone else, or for social conformity.
- Lack of belief or confidence
How often have you had an idea or a dream, and put it aside thinking ‘I’ll never be able to do that’?
You question your ability, skillset, lack of resources or finances. It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy in action – typified by negative self-talk such as:
‘I can’t do that so I won’t try’ or
‘things will never change for me, so why bother’
In our modules on thinking errors, I’ll show you how to change this way of thinking – to address your limiting beliefs. I’ll also share with you a number of success stories from people who kept failing – repeatedly and for years – before they found ways to succeed. You can do it, too.
- Self-punishment instead of self-reward
You see this in people dieting or giving up alcohol or sugar, for example, whereby rather than rewarding themselves every time they achieve a step toward their goal, they constantly feel they should be punishing themselves instead, and depriving themselves as much as they can.
One good strategy we’ll explore in the Mynd app is developing the ability to replace one behaviour or habit you no longer want with one you do. So it’s not simply a case of stopping something – it’s replacing it with something of equal or higher value so the change becomes a want and a need, as opposed to a punishment. So, for example, if your goal is getting fitter, every time you lose your target weight – whether that’s 2lb or 5lb, you buy a ticket to a show you want to see or reward yourself with a weekend away.
- Depressive thinking
This can be a significant factor in not pursuing your goal, and is related to the earlier point on lack of self-belief. You may be particularly affected by this if you’ve tried things before and you weren’t successful – or you see others achieving things you want to, with seemingly much less effort.
At work, for example, someone might get promoted ahead of you; in a team sports someone gets selected before you – or you don’t make the cut for the Olympic team. All of these disappointments can be seen as failures and you might start to believe you’ll never get the breaks. This depressive thinking leads to lower motivation and confidence, leading to worse behaviours and the downward spiral continues.
- Failure to cope with the emotional stress
This may come from a lack of experience, belief or understanding of what it takes to be successful. By educating yourself on the best things to do and the best things to avoid, and by preparing for the many foreseeable problems that will come your way (as opposed to hoping they don’t), you’ll be better able to cope with the many challenges that come your way. Your coping strategies will come much more easily if you anticipate the obstacle and have a strategy to deal with it.
- A lack of consistent self-monitoring.
In our programme on goal-setting, one of the proven success techniques we discuss is the ability to continually evaluate and feedback to yourself.
Many people don’t prioritise the time and commitment needed to monitor and record progress. Many athletes I work with didn’t like keeping records to begin with – except the really successful ones. The successful ones kept detailed records and daily diaries of everything they do – what they did at training, what time they started and finished, what they ate and even how much they slept.
There’s a range of benefits you gain from constant self-monitoring. Firstly, it puts your goal at the forefront of your life. It makes it more important to you. Not only are you putting in the hours, but you can see exactly what benefits you’re gaining, and just as importantly where you need to tweak or adjust.
If the results you’re seeing are good, you have the confidence and motivation to push on even more. If the progress is slow, the monitoring allows you to be more informed when making changes to your program. You can also have confidence that the changes you are making are based on facts.
Most successful track and field athletes I work with keep daily diaries, which are useful not just to monitor progress but also to chart the emotional and environmental ups and downs – the way they feel and what else was happening around them.
By doing this, you start to identify patterns; and you’ll notice overall progress despite the hiccups. Eventually, you will become more strategic in your approach.
Consider how much self-monitoring you currently use in your goal achievement strategy. Do you leave it to others to monitor your progress and are you quite passive in the process, or are you active and continually seeking different ways that you can improve?
We’ve started to look at the main obstacles that stop people making things happen on their lives and looked at six factors that might get in your way – they included:
A low initial commitment to change
Lack of belief or confidence
Self-punishment instead of self-reward
Failure to cope with emotional stress
A lack of consistent monitoring
In the next module, we look at four other obstacles
Your Mynd Activity
Consider the obstacles we’ve described in this module – how many have held you back in the past – now think how you might avoid each of those obstacles next time? What strategies and thought processes might you use to help you get through these obstacles