Last Updated on August 4, 2022
We all have goals that we want to achieve, but sometimes it feels like we’re up against a brick wall.
It can be really frustrating when you feel like you’re doing everything right and yet you’re still not making progress. You might start to wonder if you’re just not cut out for this kind of thing. Maybe you’ll never move forward in life. Ugh.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. These are the 10 most common obstacles that people face when trying to achieve their goals.
There are some consistent actions that successful people have taken in their quest to reach success. The key focus word in that sentence is, ‘consistent’. Remember that as you continue reading through these obstacles, my friend.
This blog post will provide you with ideas, insights, and wisdom to overcome these common obstacles and finally make progress toward achieving your goals.
Obstacles to Achieving Goals
In our desire to succeed, to move forward in life and accomplish our goals, and turn our dreams into reality, there are some consistent habits that we need to form as well as obstacles that we need to face and conquer.
Some of those are internal obstacles and others are external obstacles, but they are all very real and can challenge us every single day.
Sometimes it will entail getting out of our comfort zone and forming a new habit or daily routine. Yes, it’s not easy, and we have to work hard to honestly identify the challenges that are holding us back.
So let’s take a closer look at ten of the stumbling blocks to achieving our goals and dreams.
1. Negative Thinking
Your mind is a powerful thing. When you think something, then that thought becomes real for you. This process is known as “mindset”.
When you start thinking about how impossible your goal seems and all the reasons why you can’t achieve it, then this starts to seem more and more realistic for you – even if it wasn’t real in the first place!
For example, when you tell yourself “I’m lazy” then this makes you feel less motivated and start feeling less productive. This can then end up in a downward spiral where even though you don’t want to be lazy, negative thinking makes you become lazier and lazier.
How can we overcome negative thinking?
Start becoming more self-aware. Every time you have a negative thought, stop and reflect on it. Ask yourself if this is true or not? Or if there are any other possible explanations for what’s happening. Then ask yourself what the positive version would be.
For example, if you start thinking “I’m lazy” then how might that be a positive thing? Well, you might need some rest as you worked hard yesterday! This can be turned into a positive by giving yourself permission to relax today.
You might also start asking yourself “What’s great about my life now?”. This helps bring your focus back to what IS working and how you’re already achieving your goals – even if it’s in a small way.
2. Lack of Knowledge or Experience
It can be really easy to look at someone who has a lot of experience and assume that they have all the answers. But this isn’t necessarily the case – they’ve just been through more experiences than you have. And they’ve probably worked very hard to get where they are today.
Or, they could be going around in circles or going down a dead end. You never know for sure! Just because someone is successful today doesn’t mean that they were successful yesterday.
For example, it can sometimes feel like you have to have a bachelor’s degree before you’re considered for a decent job, but many people find that this isn’t the case!
Another example is when someone has been studying for a new skill for a while and yet their progress seems really slow. We might assume that they don’t have what it takes to achieve their goals, but this isn’t necessarily true. They might just need more practice.
How can we overcome obstacles due to lack of knowledge or experience?
Remember that you’re not alone! You probably have things that other people don’t know either, and this means that you can learn from each other to help speed up the process.
For example, when you’re learning a new skill, make sure that you track your progress. This helps shift your focus to what IS working and how much you’ve improved over time, which is much more motivating than focusing on how far there is left to go! You could do this in the form of a journal or progress tracking spreadsheet.
Another example is to build strong relationships with people who are further along than you are. Not only do you get access to their knowledge, but they might also be able to help connect you with other people too!
3. Fear of Failure
We might have a terrible fear of failing, even if we know that some failure is inevitable. A lot of this comes from our brain thinking that everything it encounters is a life or death situation, which is really not the case!
For example, if you’re pitching an idea to your boss and they shoot it down, your brain tells you that your life is over. OMG, how could I have done that, you think?
But this isn’t true – it’s not a matter of life or death. The world will keep turning and your boss might end up saying yes to a slightly altered version of the idea that you proposed.
On the other hand, if you’re going for a job interview then telling yourself “I’m going to fail” might not be very motivating.
Instead, focus on asking yourself “What’s great about my life now?” so that you can bring your attention back to the fact that you already have plenty of things going for you!
How can we overcome the fear of failure?
The best way to overcome the fear of failure is to practice being okay with little failures. If you’re practicing tying your shoes then it’s okay if you don’t get the knot quite right, just keep practicing! I know…really oversimplified example, but you get the idea.
For example, if you have an interview for a new job then think about how being hired is not necessarily a life or death situation. And even if they say no to your application, there are other opportunities out there for you to pursue.
As well as this, try to surround yourself with positive people who believe in your abilities. This is because having more positive people around you makes it easier to be positive too. (Source: Personal experience!)
4. Unrealistic Expectations
When we set an unrealistic goal it can be demotivating when we don’t reach that goal. For example, if you’re trying to run a marathon but you’ve never exercised before then it’s likely that you won’t finish the race. Not by a longshot.
How can we overcome the issue of setting unrealistic expectations?
There are two options in this situation: Find another goal that is more realistic, or practice running. You can see how the second option is usually more helpful and will help you move slowly toward your goal.
On the other hand, if you break your goal up into smaller, less intimidating chunks then it becomes much easier to achieve too. For example, instead of trying to run a marathon next week, you could start by walking for 10 minutes each day or even just 3 minutes each day, gradually increasing your time and speed.
Another way to overcome unrealistic expectations is to think about why you set that particular goal in the first place. Is it because you genuinely care about achieving this goal, or did someone else suggest it and now you’re chasing their agenda?
It might also be helpful to find other people who have already achieved something similar to this goal and hear about their experiences.
5. Poor Time Management
It’s really easy to put off tasks until later and feel like we have plenty of time for them. Unfortunately, it can be pretty difficult to get back on track once this happens!
For example, if you’ve got a big essay due next week then you might say “I’ll start that tomorrow” and then tomorrow comes around and you say “I’ll start that when I get home”. A week later you finally start writing the essay but it’s already too late to submit it on time.
How can we overcome problems with poor time management?
The best way to overcome this problem is to change your mindset. For example, if you’ve got homework due tomorrow then treat each minute as precious and ask yourself “What can I do right now to help me complete my goal?”
And if you keep avoiding a task then it’s a good idea to find someone who will hold you accountable for actually doing it. For example, I set a reminder on my phone that says “Finish this blog post by 8 pm”.
And creating a schedule helps you stay focused on completing your tasks instead of thinking about what else you could be doing.
6. Lack of Motivation
It’s easy to lose interest or motivation for a particular goal. This is because it’s hard to sustain our energy for that long unless we genuinely care about what we’re doing.
For example, you might start your first semester of college with the goal of getting good grades and becoming an all-star student. But after a few weeks, you get so busy with other priorities that caring about your grades becomes less of a priority.
How can we overcome a lack of motivation?
If you lose motivation for a particular goal then there are two things you could do. You could either change what you’re doing or find some way to create more motivation for yourself along the way.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight then you could change your diet from unhealthy foods to healthy foods. Or you could find a way to make it more fun, like exercising with a friend or listening to music while you walk for exercise.
Another way to overcome a lack of motivation is by setting small milestones along the way instead of focusing on the end result. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, then set a more manageable milestone like losing 1-2 pounds and celebrate achieving it. This will motivate and inspire you to keep going.
7. Self-Doubt and Low Confidence
It’s really easy to lose faith in ourselves and start thinking that we’re incapable of doing something. This is especially true when we’ve never done the particular task or action before, or if it requires a lot of time and effort on our part.
For example, writing a book might be your goal but you’ll feel like you can’t do it because you don’t have that kind of talent. So you never start developing the story idea because you’re not good enough, so why bother.
How can we overcome self-doubt and low confidence?
The best way to overcome this problem is to learn how to believe in yourself even if other people don’t. This means developing goal-setting skills, believing in your own ability, building confidence over time, and having a positive mental attitude.
And if you still feel like you’re not good enough then it’s a good idea to get lots of practice and coaching from someone who knows what they’re doing.
Another way to overcome self-doubt and low confidence is to take steps towards achieving your goal even if you don’t feel 100% confident.
For example, if you want to write a book then start planning it out on paper even though you’re not that confident yet. This will get your brain used to the idea and make it easier for you to take action later.
As you continue that planning process, you’ll be able to move on to the next step, then the next step, and you’ll reach the point where you are ready to begin writing.
8. Inability to Accept Feedback or Change
Some people never want to change or listen to feedback from other people. This could be because they feel like they’ve already wasted too much time perfecting their current approach and don’t want to do it again.
For example, you might be trying really hard to learn a new skill but when someone gives you some helpful insights or constructive criticism then you get defensive and refuse to change anything.
How can we overcome an inability to accept feedback or change?
The best way to overcome this problem is to be open-minded and humble. This means being okay with changing your approach if it’s not working, taking constructive criticism from other people, and learning how to give useful advice.
And if you’re not receiving any feedback from other people then it might be a good idea to seek out a mentor to help you learn faster.
Another way to overcome an inability or unwillingness to accept feedback or change is by taking small steps towards improving every day. For example, if you want to learn how to speak in front of a group then you could ask someone to watch your presentation and tell you what they thought.
Then use their feedback the next time you give a presentation. And if you’re not receiving any helpful feedback from other people then it might be a good idea to get coaching or guidance from someone who knows what they’re doing.
9. Not Measuring Progress
Many people procrastinate on achieving their goals because they don’t have a measurable way to track their progress. They might know what they’re trying to achieve but this isn’t enough because there is no evidence that shows how much work they’ve put in or if their efforts are paying off.
For example, let’s say that you want to write a book but you don’t actually know how many words you’ve written. This means that there’s no way for you to measure your progress and see how far you are from completing the task.
How can we overcome not measuring our progress?
The best way to overcome this problem is by taking action every day towards achieving your goal. For example, if you create an outline for your book then you can see how many words you’ve written. This may not seem like much but over time these small steps will add up to the completion of your goal.
Another way to overcome not measuring progress is by setting priorities and realistic deadlines. This means focusing on the most important tasks and making sure that they get done before you move on to something else.
And if your goal is writing a book then set a reasonable deadline for when it should be finished.
Not Having A Support System
Some people feel like they need to do everything by themselves in order to be motivated and keep going. They might even try to convince themselves that they can handle everything on their own without any help from other people.
For example, you might be trying to become a professional musician but never ask for advice or feedback from other people. This means that you could miss out on important insights and motivation for achieving your goals.
How can we overcome not having a support system?
The best way to overcome this problem is by asking for help whenever you need it. This doesn’t mean that you should give up every time there’s a bump in the road, but sometimes it can be helpful to ask other people who can support us.
And if you’re not receiving any help from other people then you might want to consider finding someone willing to support or guide you on your journey.
Final Thoughts: Moving Forward in Life & Focusing on Achieving Goals
Why do some people seem to have reached that successful life while others continue to struggle? It’s not magic dust sprinkled on their heads, my friend. It is hard work facing difficulties yet persevering, minimizing distractions, overcoming obstacles, and putting one foot in front of the other.
But it can be done!
If you gained nothing else from this article, I hope you will remember this: forward progress in your life will only be possible when you are honest with yourself. Putting on the blinders, unwillingness to acknowledge mistakes, and waiting for success to just ‘happen’ are all ways to achieve nothing.
Whether it is a big goal or a small task you want to conquer, a major obstacle, or a tiny pothole in the road, take these words to heart and you’ll be further ahead today!