If you’re like most people, who have some things that you would like to achieve. You may have goals, dreams and aspirations. Some goals may be small, like going for a walk three times a week. Some goals may be large, like starting a business or saving a large amount of money.
During New Years, many people set goals but by the next month, most have already abandoned their goals. Why is that? Why is it that so many people want to improve their finances, want a healthier body, want better relationships, but a year later, nothing has changed.
Here are a few common road blocks to achieving the things you want and how to overcome them.
You worry about what others might think.
Many people will say “I don’t care about what other people think” But deep down most people do care.
After the initial excitement of your goal, the negative thoughts start to creep it. What will my parents/spouse/friends/family, etc. say?! What if I fail and they throw it in my face?! What if I look dumb?! And on and on…
Caring about what others think limits you. The reality is what other people think has very little to do with you. You may get the relative or friend who will point out the negatives, and that may come from a place of worrying for you. Others just talk from what they “heard” and not from experience.
You really have to learn to think for yourself. As long as you’re not hurting others in the pursuit of your goal, keep moving forward.
You don’t believe in yourself.
Believing in yourself is HUGE to pursue any goal. You can have all the talent in the world and all the support from friends and family, but if you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll find an excuse to stop or slow yourself down.
Even if you don’t have all the resources, when you believe in yourself, you know you’ll figure out a way. When others criticize you and you believe in yourself, other’s opinions don’t affect you.
Many times this comes from past experiences where maybe someone did put you down and was not supportive. That experience contributes to negative thinking.
“Who am I to do this?” “It’s already been done, I’ll just be waisting my time.” “It’s too hard, I can’t do that”
When you experience negative self-talk, you have to challenge it. Ask yourself, “where did I pick up this thought?” “Is this a fact or just an opinion?”
For example, I used to see a woman who would constantly say “Nothing I do is ever good enough” When she began questioning that thought, she remembered always feeling that nothing she did was good enough. She’ll get a good grade on a test, and her dad would say “why don’t you do that all the time?” instead of just saying “good job” And her parents were always comparing her to other people’s kids. Therefore, she was always made to feel that nothing she did was enough, she developed this belief that she was not good enough into adulthood.
It wasn’t a fact, She just kept replaying old childhood wounds.
If this one is big for you, really question it. The negative thoughts may have come from bullies, a verbally abusing relationship, a boss or family members.
Being afraid when pursuing something new is completely normal. Fear is not necessarily bad. Instead of letting the fear freeze you and not take any action, prepare for what you’re afraid of.
Ask yourself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen?” Then, “What can I control to prevent that bad thing from happening?” And, “Even if that bad thing happens, how can I get out of it?”
This works for any type of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of things changing.
Use the fear to prepare instead of letting it freeze you. If you take no action on your goal because you’re afraid, you’re short changing yourself and the world of that thing that you could be sharing with others.
You’re feeling overwhelmed.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed that always means that you’re doing too much with not enough time and you’re too focused on the whole goal.
The trick to overcoming feeling overwhelmed is to break down the big goal into smaller goals.
For example, let’s say you want a new job. You go on Indeed and start looking for job postings. You see one you like and apply. After a whole hour of filling out one job application, you start to feel stressed out because you have a bunch more to do.
Instead, set a smaller goal of applying to two jobs per day.
Another example is loosing weight. Let’s say you want to loose 25 pounds (or whatever number). That number seems big. You then start to think of all the things you can’t eat and all the things you have to do to loose weight. Instead of focusing on the 25 pounds, break it down. If you want to loose 25 pounds in two months, divide 25 (pounds) by 8 (weeks in two months) and you get 3.12. So instead of focusing on 25 pounds, just focus on loosing 3.12 pounds each week. 3.12 is a much smaller number than 25 so you don’t feel as stressed out about it.
Whatever you want to work on, break it down to the smallest step. Then focus on one step at a time.
“You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals.” – Booker T. Washington
About the author.
Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and spanish-speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.