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BREAK THE PATTERN: Conquer The Obstacles That Get In The Way of Achieving Goals


Goals are like sparkling jewels. They glitter and glow from the energy they instill at their inception. They are our bright ideas inspired by books, music, movies, ideals, caffeine, or alcohol. We daydream and envision a future when goals become reality.   Excitement sets in! Then the hard work of implementation begins. Many are thrown off-track by this phase. The glitter fades and eventually may die out completely.     After all, the skills that are necessary for the successful implementation of an idea are completely different than the skills that were instrumental to developing it. The CEO of an organization may set the vision, but different executives with a different skill set implement it.   Unfortunately, when it comes to our personal goals, we alone are responsible for both the vision and the implementation.

This is not an article about how to achieve goals. Rather, it points out some of the typical obstacles that are encountered during this process.   Setting and achieving life-changing goals is hard and the process will bring up much resistance.   Recognizing this can help to normalize the process and fuel the engine of determination to overcome the obstacles.

  1. Life-changing goals are outside of the predictable zone. Goals should always be stretch goals, ones that you have no ready-made strategy for achievement.   This means that you must strike into the unknown – and this can be daunting. How do I get from here to there? Have confidence that one small step will lead to another as long as commitment and determination remains strong.   This journey could take some time. Ask and answer questions like this: What resources can I use? Who do I know? Which expert can I ask? What connection can I make? What skills do I need to develop or acquire? Opening one door frequently leads to the next door, and the next, and so on.
  2. Expect resistance. The better the idea, the more resistance it is likely to stir up. This resistance will come from the outside (i.e. others) and from the inside (i.e. inside ourselves).   The best strategy is to expect this resistance and bring it to the surface at its first presentation. Recognize that the source of much of the resistance that stops us comes from our own beliefs about our limitations.   When your thoughts get stuck in the “I can’t…….” mode recognize this as a sign of your internal resistance and make a choice.   Do you choose to stay mired in stagnation or take positive steps forward?
  3. Harness emotions. When we experience our emotions fully, we will eventually move through them. They will not disappear simply because we don’t acknowledge or express them. Emotions are intended to be felt and fully experienced. They benefit our existence. The emotion that is frequently encountered on the journey to lofty goal achievement is fear, which typically manifests itself in feelings of anxiety.   After acknowledging that experiencing this emotion is a normal part of the process, how can you move past it? What is your normal habit for responding? What would be a different choice? How can the energy of the emotion be harnessed?
  4. Recognize self-sabatoge. We start each day knowing that we will not get it all done. Momentum is lost when the sparkle of inspiration is buried by the stress of reacting to the demands of others. Momentum is also lost by other glittery distractions such as text messages, social media, youtube videos, mindless TV, and so on. Recognize the actions in your day that consume time and energy without producing results.   Make a conscious shift from reaction mode to choice. Avoid the activities of waste and make time for planning, reflection, and activities that produce results consistent with your goals.
  5. Share. It’s easy to abandon lofty goals when no one knows about them but you. Take the first step into the unknown by sharing your goals with your family, friends and connections. The rewards of this action are manifold. Opportunities will be uncovered, doors will open, support will pour forth, and you will be held accountable. Continue to share through the process. Goals can change or be modified by the process, but cannot easily be abandoned once you become accountable for your efforts.

This is a partial list of the normal obstacles that surface on the journey out of the known and predictable world toward a future that seems impossible today. A coach will help you navigate these obstacles, keep you focused, give you a boost of energy and hold you accountable. To learn more about the benefits of a personal coach, call me for a free consultation.


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