Make it happen part 4
The ten obstacles
In the previous module, we started looking at the ten obstacles that most commonly stop people from achieving their goals. Let’s continue looking as we explore four more potential challenges you’ll face.
- Failure to use effective habit change techniques
You know that changing habits is not easy – look at diets and fitness as prime examples.
Most diets fail to work because changing eating habits is not easy – especially when you’re not that invested in the process and if it’s not really important to you.
One habit-changing technique athletes can use to help them get into the right training mindset, for example, could be using the entrance gates to their training venue.
The entrance could act as an anchor or reminder to leave any non-sport related issues at the gates when going into training and then collect them on the way out – this could help to get into training mode every day and leaving potential baggage at the door.
A similar approach could be used in business, by committing to leave issues at reception, doing your best at work and collecting the issues on your way out!
In either case, you’ll find training or work much more enjoyable and productive.
- Giving in to social pressure
Tell any young person at school that they shouldn’t smoke, shouldn’t be involved with gangs, and shouldn’t carry a weapon or that they should spend more time doing homework, and they’ll probably tell you that they feel obliged to go along with the majority or certainly the main influencers’ – the potentially cooler kids.
They don’t want to be seen as a loner or someone who’s not willing to take risks. It’s difficult not to be influenced by peer pressure.
One issue I’ve recently encountered is the level of self-harm in young people – if lots of people in your class self-harm, you might feel pressurised to do the same even if you don’t want to.
When you see highly paid athletes behaving inappropriately, drinking to excess, taking drugs or going to nightclubs at the wrong time and so on…there’s a good chance it’s because of social pressure from their peers or friends who don’t understand the lifestyle professional athletes need to choose to be successful.
Another potential issue or obstacle is that your close friends might not want to see you change – this might sound strange but it’s actually quite common;
if you’re trying to achieve something they found difficult, for example, or if they fear that your success might mean you start mixing more with another group of people.
This can be a particular cause of concern for your closest friends, who start to battle with wanting you to do well and not wanting to lose their close friendship.
Again, let’s hear what soccer legend Lionel Messi sais about social pressure – he showed a remarkable amount of self-control from a young age and recalls:
“I’ve always really just liked football, and I’ve always devoted a lot of time to it.
When I was a kid, my friends would call me to go out with them, but I would stay home because I had practice the next day”.
Another big contributory factor that stops people from achieving their goals is…
- Failure to cope with initial relapse.
Many people begin with good intentions and commitment only to be knocked sideways by an early relapse
you might be trying to stop smoking and it’s going well until you’re hit by some bad news and you light up a cigarette.
This could lead to you telling yourself ‘I knew I couldn’t do it’ and you start smoking again – rather than just accept it as it minor hiccup – a temporary relapse that may well happen in any behavioural change.
Similarly, someone trying to give up drinking might relapse when a friend asks them to go out to a club one night;
in this instance, a strategy to employ might be to avoid the temptation in the first place and refuse to go, rather than go and try not to drink.
- Paying attention to the wrong type of thinking
In this case, you might focus on the difficulty of the problem rather than the attractiveness of the opportunity.
Again, using poor eating habits as an example, the error thinking would be along the lines of
‘I like this so much I’m going to eat it even though I know it’s no good for me’
only to regret it a few moments later.
Replacing the thoughts with
‘how well you’ll be feeling and looking as you get healthier and thinner’
might have helped, along with maybe having a healthy snack and doing something else you enjoy.
Another example of paying attention to the wrong type of thinking is when you face a large and somewhat difficult challenge.
By thinking of the challenge in its entirety, it might seem overwhelming;
rather, by looking at it as a number of small steps, you’re more likely to start, get some momentum, and then piece by piece, get to where you need to get to.
There’s a great saying in goal-setting that will help you to avoid this type of over-thinking –
“What’s the best way to eat an elephant?”
… “one bite at a time!”
There’s a number of key factors that will stop you from achieving your objective –
it’s useful to use our ten-point list as a guide to the potential, foreseeable and predictable obstacles that are going to get in your way;
you’ll then be better prepared and equipped to develop preventative or coping strategies to deal with each.
By understanding, acknowledging and being ready for each of these potential problems we’ve looked at in this module, you’ll give yourself every opportunity to be in a better place to deal with them when they arrive
In the next module, we’ll start looking at the strategies and tactics you can use to help guide you toward your goals.
Your Mynd Activity
Be aware of the potential hurdles and obstacles that come between setting your goals and achieving them.
Having an idea of what challenges you might face before they happen, and developing strategies to overcome or deal with them, will be an essential element in your journey to success.
If this all seems daunting, remember: The fact you’re listening to the Mynd App in the first place puts you in a special category –
You’re in a minority who wants to change and is actively doing something about it.
Prepare yourself by thinking of ‘what-if’ scenarios for each of the ten points we talked about, and develop YOUR counter-argument and coping mechanism before they happen