How is this year going for you so far?

Has the sense of renewed energy and purpose faded away since January or are you still full steam ahead towards your 2018 goals?

This article is for those of you that have slowed down, become stuck or didn’t really get going in the first place. We’re going to look at what is getting in the way, and how to move past it.

Are the obstacles getting in your way real or perceived?

There are 2 types of obstacles that stop us from living the life we want to live – real obstacles and perceived obstacles.  Both of these are as effective as each other in halting our progress, and each type needs a different action to overcome it. In fact, they often are disguised as the similar issues.  

Here are some obstacles that can be both perceived and real:


I don’t have enough time


It’s not the right time


I don’t know how to take action


I am not able to take action


I don’t have the energy


I don’t have enough money


I am comfortable where I am


I’m afraid of making a change

So how can you tell the difference?

So, how can you tell which obstacles are real and which are perceived?

Look for proof! Ask yourself these questions to see if your obstacles have substance to them.

Can you see the constraint physically?

Would it also be a constraint for anyone else?

Is the constraint linked to timing? 

Does the constraint apply 100% of the time?

If you answered no to the above questions, it is possible that you are being held back by a perceived constraint.  If you answered yes to some or all the questions, you may be dealing with a real constraint.  Let’s look at each of these in more detail and go through possible actions to overcoming them.

    Perceived Obstacles

    These gems are the obstacles that we create in our heads.  They are mental blocks made up by our brains, and they often linked to our core beliefs.  These can seem like ‘real’ reasons to not move forward, and are often just as difficult to shift as real obstacles.  Here are some examples of perceived obstacles. Click on the perceived obstacle to see the associated mindset, underlying issues, and core beliefs.

    Perceived Obstacle: I don’t have the time to take actions towards my goal.

    Linked Mindsets:  There is not enough time for me to do all the things I want to do.  I am too busy to make time for this.  My goal is not that important.

    Underlying issues:  You have not fully committed to your goal by prioritising it over other focuses.  You have not protected time to take action, by saying no to other committments.  

    Associated Core Beliefs:  You do not believe your goal is important. You do not trust your decisions or ability to be successful.  You don’t believe others will accept/love you if you say no to other committments.

    Perceived Obstacle: I don’t have the money to pursue my goal.

    Linked Mindsets:  I don’t have enough money to do the things I want to do.  I’m always broke.   My goal is not that important.

    Underlying issues:  You have not prioritised your goal over other focuses that also require money.  You have not planned how to fund your goal and how long that will take.  You are not saying no to other committments in order to save money for your goal.  

    Associated Core Beliefs:  You do not believe this goal is important. You do not believe in yourself.  You don’t believe you have the ability to make more money that you are currently.  You don’t believe you deserve to succeed in your goal.

    Perceived Obstacle: I cannot try to succeed in my goal, because I am afraid to fail.

    Linked Mindsets:  If I fail, I’ll lose too much time/ money/ hope.  If I don’t succeed, others will see me as a failure.

    Underlying issues:  You are focusing on possible negative outcomes rather than the potential gains.  You are letting fear become a reason to not take action.  You would rather stay safe and comfortable than risk discomfort.  You tell yourself that your current situation isn’t that bad.

    Associated Core Beliefs:  You do not believe your goal is important. You don’t trust your decisions or ability to be successful.  You do not trust that you will gain from the experience of pursuing a goal, whether you succeed or not.  You do not trust that others will accept you if you fail.

    Perceived Obstacle: I don’t believe things will turn out well.  I am unlucky.

    Linked Mindsets:  I don’t believe I can accomplish my goal.  I don’t think others support my goal.

    Underlying issues:  You don’t believe in your own abilities to succeed at your goal.  You believe the universe does not often work in your favour.  You don’t trust others to help you with your goal.

    Associated Core Beliefs:  The world is unsafe.  Other people are not to be trusted.  You are not good enough to be successful.

    Steps to Overcome Perceived Obstacles

    Step 1: BS Goals Meter

    Rate your goal in terms of importance (1 = what goal?; 5 = kinda important; 10 = crucial) and your level of commitment (1 = not committed; 5 = it would be nice to complete it; 10 = I will achieve my goal).  If you rated yourself as 5 or below on either scale, you need to throw this goal in the bin.  Sometimes we set goals because we think they sound cool or we are inspired by them for five minutes.  I call these BS goals.  It’s helpful to re-evaluate your goals often, and throw your BS goals in the bin so you have more time and energy for goals that you are passionate about. If you rated yourself  above 5 on both scales, proceed to step 2. 

    Step 2: Underlying Concerns

    The key to overcoming a perceived obstacle is to identify it as such, and examine your underlying concerns and associated core beliefs.  Once you are aware of and understand the obstacle, it holds less power  and opens you to more possobility.

    Step 3: Opening Up Possibility

    Now that you understand where your perceived obstacle is coming from, you have a choice.  You can either let this obstacle continue to block your progress, or you can choose to change it.  Start with shifting the core belief, what can you replace it with?  And with your new core belief, what new actions are possible?  What are new ways you can approach your goal and overcome your obstacle?

    Step 4: Take Action

    Choose your action and get started straight away.  Overcoming your obstacle will be easiest to sooner you start behaving differently.  Use this momentum to continue towards your goal.

    Real Obstacles

    In the process of pursuing goals, you will encounter real obstacles that are tangible, measurable, and partially or entirely out of your control.  These roadblocks are encountered by others in the same way as you. Let’s look at some examples of real obstacles:

    The resources required to complete my goal are much greater than I originally planned for.  Resources required could include time, money, information or energy.  My proof is that I have run out of time / money/ energy before my goal is complete.

    I do not know the right people to help me be successful or support my goal.  I need to start with building my network and reaching out to others that can make this goal obtainable.  My proof is that I do not know what step to take next or I do not have access to the information or expertise I need to achieve my goal.

    I know what I would like to achieve, but I don’t have the skills to be able to do it.  I need training / a mentor / practice before I can begin to progress towards my goal.  My proof is that I make time for my goal and know what step to take but do not know how to complete the step well.

    I know what I would like to achieve, but I keep going about it ineffectively.  Sometimes this can be due to not understanding prerequisites, the order of steps to be taken, or how the logistics all fit together.  And often, we do not know this until we begin to take action towards a goal.  My proof is that I have had to repeat steps and back track numerous times. 

    Steps to Overcome Real Obstacles

    Step 1: BS Goals Meter

    Similar to Step 1 for Perceieved Obstacles, rate your goal in terms of importance and your level of commitment.  If you rated yourself as 5 or below on either scale, you need to throw this goal in the bin as above.  When you encounter real obstacles, it is likely that the goal will require more investment of time and energy than you oroginally thought so make sure it’s not a BS goal!  If you rated yourself  above 5 on both scales, proceed to step 2. 

    Step 2: Rewrite Your Goal

    Take time to rewrite your goal, adjusting the steps, resources and training required, and timeframe to support you overcoming your obstacle.

    Step 3: Take Action

    Get started on your first step and build momentum to progress towards your goal.  Although the goal may take longer and require more from you than you originally thought, achieving it will likely also give you more of a sense of accomplishment as well.  And you will have learned a lot in the proccess.

    Working with a Coach

    Working with a coach can help you identify what obstacles, real and perceived, are preventing you from achieving your goals.  With ongoing sessions, a coach can help you stay motivated and accountable to progressing towards your goals.  For coaching options, click the button below.