Whenever I think of the future, of a goal or where I want to go and the life I want to live, I’m initially filled with a small glow of hope. Immediately afterwards, I’ve overcome by an overwhelming weight of the obstacles on the way.

Imagine any of the following :

You want to go on your dream holiday to Australia – you’re paralyzed by the travel options, confused about the visas, uncertain of the tour providers, clueless as to the legalities there, you don’t know how you’d even get to the local airport let alone travel across Oz, oh, and you’re petrified of spiders…

You’ve been advised to loose some weight – but you already eat healthier options where possible, you’re too exhausted for exercise, too busy to fit in a power walk each morning, can’t jog to the end of the road let alone run around the block…

You want to cut down / stop smoking – what else will you do with my hands, how else will you get precious ‘me’ time to think, you’re too stressed right now…

You want to write a novel – you have no ideas for characters let alone a premise, your spelling is atrocious, poor concentration makes it hard to focus your thoughts, you don’t have the time to dedicate to it, no one will read it anyway…

Goals can be big or small, immediate or long term. They may be related to your health, your lifestyle, hobbies, skills, friendships, the life you want to lead, the type of person you want to be.

Most goals will come with a cost, some higher than others. It may cost you in terms of money, or stress, or moving out of your comfort zone, for instance. The vast majority will also come with numerous other obstacles along the way, be they physical, mental, emotional or otherwise.

Obstacles, like goals, can vary dramatically. In some instances, they may be almost self-imposed: self-limiting beliefs, doubt of your own abilities, fear of failure. Others may be situational: lack of time, resources, money, energy, health, knowledge, support.

The problem is, more often than not the initial inspired feeling we have quickly gives way to being disheartened; all we see is the mammoth hill we have to climb and the myriad of challenges and problems along the way. Then we start doubting ourselves, our abilities, our motivations.

Everyone’s heard of the old cliche ‘one step at a time’, and it’s true. Breaking down a challenge or goal so that there are smaller, more manageable mini tasks makes things a lot more appealing and do-able. But the main thing is to not lose sight of the goal along the way. If you’re travelling down a long road, you’re exhausted because you’ve been walking for hours, you’re hungry and you’re incredibly thirsty, but up ahead is civilisation. However, all around you suddenly appears an army of zombies, thousands of flying insects and furry spiders around your feet. You remember how exhausted you are, and now you have all of this to contend with. Suddenly, all of your focus and energy is diverted; all you’re thinking about are the challenges and you’ve lost sight of the goal, which now seems impossible, forgotten about, and you lose your motivation to keep going.

There will always be an obstacle or problem of some sort, if not several. Getting past one usually means that others that will shortly follow. You have overcome them in the past and can do so again. Don’t focus on these obstacles to the point that you forget where you’re going, your motivation for continuing and the hopes you have for the future.

 

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