Bust Through Those Obstacles!
Bust Through Those Obstacles!
By Sarah VanderMeiden, M.S.
Board Certified Coach
Goals. We all have them. Sometimes we reach them, sometimes we don’t. Then there are these pesky things called obstacles. We all encounter them. Sometimes we overcome them, sometimes we don’t. Obstacles can be very real - a shortage of time, money or other resources. People getting in our way. A creative block. Or something else that hinders our efforts to accomplish our goals. But what I want to focus on today is perhaps the biggest obstacle we face. Ourselves. How many times have you gotten in your own way? Sabotaged yourself in one way or another? Told yourself that its too hard, that it won’t matter, that this is never going to happen, that other people don’t care or some other self-defeating message? Yes, in many ways, it can often be our own thoughts and beliefs that lead us down this path. But sometimes the way in is also the way out. We can change how we think about our obstacles so that we can bust through them and keep moving forward toward our goals! Here are some ideas for you to try: Change Your Thinking There is a simple formula to remember when it comes to “stinkin’ thinkin’.” Perhaps you remember learning it in an introductory Psychology class. a (activating event) + b (belief about the event) = c (consequence, how you feel and what you will do) So we have our goals, or our obstacles. These are the “a.” Our beliefs, (what we are thinking about our goals/obstacles), are the “b” that influences the “c,” which is how we feel about our goals/obstacles and what we will do about them. The key to improving our outcome in “c” is to change “b,” HOW we think about our goals/obstacles. When we start thinking in more positive terms, we start feeling better, more encouraged, and ready to take action. Change the “b,” and you will affect change in “c.” Of course, this formula also applies to any event in life we encounter. Known as the cognitive approach, this is one of the most effective means of helping those dealing with life challenges. Change Your Habits Sometimes our tendency to think negatively about our goals and obstacles has been developed through habit. Once habits have carved a neural pathway in our brain, they become our “go-to” natural and automatic reaction to the triggering event or situation. Here is another way to understand neural pathways. Imagine a grassy field in front of you. There is a well-worn path that you have taken many times before, so you naturally take it and you have an easy walk. But once you get to the end of the path, you see something interesting across the field in another direction. You’d like to walk through the field to get a closer look, but there is no path, so you wade in. The grass is so tall and thick, you can’t even see your feet and the going is slow and tough. Tempted to turn back to find an easier way, you press on. Once you get to your destination, you turn back and look upon where you came. You might be able to detect the way you walked but the path is faint and won’t become nearly as well-worn as the other until it has been travelled many times. Much is the same way with neural pathways connected to habitual thinking and behaviors. Once they are established, they become the path that you automatically take. When you decide to think or behave differently, you are on a new path and it can be slow, difficult and tempting to go back to the easier, albeit undesirable, path. The key here is repeatedly practicing the new thought patterns or behaviors to get that path established. Eventually the old one will grow over and fade. Bust Through Those Obstacles! My "Bust Through Obstacles!" worksheet is a very practical resource you can start using TODAY to bust through your obstacles!
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Once you have completed the worksheet, take it a step further and share it with a trusted business associate, friend or family member, asking for their feedback and support. Maybe you even want to ask them to hold you accountable to your stated intentions! Feedback My hope is that you have found at least one tool to help you bust through the obstacles you are facing. I would love to hear your reaction to these ideas and if you have tried them, how they have worked for you!
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