What image comes to mind when you imagine a battle between two adversaries at war?
An image that comes to mind is the biblical stand-off between David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. David was a young shepherd with sharp hunting skills and unwavering faith in God. His 9-foot adversary, Goliath, was a seasoned, arrogant soldier in full battle armour who, for 40 days, challenged the opposing army to a duel. The army, including three of David’s older brothers, were terrified of their intimidating opponent and fled in fear every time Goliath appeared. Then, David stepped onto the scene with the simple hunting tools he uses daily to protect the sheep in his care—a slingshot and five stones. David stood his ground with inner confidence and steadfast faith that overshadowed his giant adversary. In one of the most epic biblical accounts, David defeated his pompous opponent.
How Do You Identify Obstacles
The previous article in this summer series, Live Your Best Life, focused on three mind shifts or goal gremlines that hold you back from pursuing those goals:
- Understanding distorted thinking patterns
- State of readiness to change.
Goal gremlins are a lot like Goliath’s character—loud and intimidating, invisible giants intent on keeping you stuck in states of helplessness and fear. As Iyanla Vanzant suggests, when you can identify the obstacles holding you back, you have already gained ground to overcome them. This article explores ways to overcome these obstacles to bring you closer to reaching your goals.
How Do You Overcome Obstacles to Achieve Your Goals?
- Strong self-identity
- Spiritual strength and faith
- Practical skills
- Positive self-talk and rational reasoning
One of the notable things about David is that he knew himself better than those around him. He knew his strengths and skills because he practised them regularly. After trying on someone else’s heavy coat of armour, David found it didn’t fit. He realised, in the end, that he already had everything he needed to defeat his adversary. Similarly, you may have tried every new remedy or trend to reach your goals, only to find it didn’t work for you and your personality. You are uniquely shaped with personality and character strengths, learned skills and beliefs that can help you overcome your obstacles. The key is to identify these.
What Are Examples of Self-Limiting Beliefs?
Using rational reasoning, disputing myths and busting stereotypes and biases, you can challenge the beliefs, faulty thoughts and silent fears that are keeping you stuck in a comfort zone. You can draw inner strength from your spiritual beliefs and be confident in your trained skills. In keeping with a common writer’s prompt, show, don’t tell, here’s how to battle 5 gremlins that may be lurking in your life and keeping you from going after your goals.
Gremlin 1: Fear of Failure
I’m too scared to try something new because what if I fail? What will others say if I fail?
What if you don’t fail and actually succeed? And if you shouldn’t get it right, what does that really mean? That you’re a failure, or that it was only your first attempt at trying something new and unfamiliar. Resilience is part of growth and becoming okay with trial and error. Oprah Winfrey describes failure as the universe’s way of steering you away from the wrong path to help you get back on track.
Gremlin 2: Too old to start something new
I’m too old to do this. It’s best to stick with what I know.
You are never too old to do new things. Erikson outlines 7 life cycle development stages we will go through, and each stage includes new tasks, transitions, insights and new growth. Life and self-growth are not stagnant because we are lifelong learners.
Gremlin 3: Unrealistic Goals
It’s too hard. I don’t think I can do this.
You can set smaller goals by splitting big goals into manageable steps that are SMART, to ensure they will be attainable. Celebrate small wins along the way. It will help you enjoy the journey rather than strive for a destination. Think of these as rungs on a ladder between where you currently are in your growth journey and where you want to end. It will motivate and inspire you to tackle bigger, still manageable goals. The first rung is the first step and the last rung is the final step before you reach your ultimate goal.
Gremlin 4: Self-Doubt
I’m not sure that I can do this. I can’t handle harsh feedback or criticism. I’m afraid of what ‘people’ might say.
According to Intrinsic motivation theory, you’ll never know what you’re capable of achieving if you don’t trust yourself enough to explore new things from a place of curiosity rather than focusing on a specific outcome, external validation or rewards1.
Become clear on your motive for sharing your interests and plans with others, especially on public platforms such as social media, where you cannot control the responses. There will always be people who agree with you and those who don’t. That’s okay because it is impossible to please everyone. We are all different and hold varied views, values, and beliefs that influence our thinking and responses. Establish a select, trusted group of people whose opinions you value to share your ideas or plans with initially to gain constructive, respectful feedback.
Gremlin 5 – The Comparison Trap
I will never be as good as others. Others are so much better at this than me.
Comparison is pointless. There will always be someone who has more than you, just as there will always be people who have less than you. It is absolutely essential that you do not compare yourself and where you are currently with your goals and where others are in their journey. You have different circumstances in your environment that influence your growth. Even if your work or interests are similar to someone else, it is never exactly the same because no two people are. What you can offer the world is unique because that is how each of us is shaped. Your innate gifts, your voice, creativity, style, personality resources and anything else you have to share with the world, is what makes you so beautifully unique.
The summer series: Live Your Best Life in 2022, included five articles and tools to help you plan your year. I hope the series inspired you to approach the year with a stronger arsenal of tools to strengthen your chances to reach those elusive goals and create lasting positive change.
- A Time for Every Season: Reflecting on 2021.
- Live Your Best Life in 2022, which included a 2022 Mind Map that integrates a word for the year, a personal manifesto, and a few thoughtfully chosen SMART goals.
- Master Three Mind Shifts to Reach Your Goals in the New Year
- How to Cultivate Spiritual Growth with Daily Devotionals.
- How to Fight Your Goal Gremlins to Fast Track Your Goals in 2022 (this post).
The Autumn series focuses on Five Midlife Milestones. Visit the About page to learn more about this topic.
Disclaimer: The resources available on this website are for inspiration and general use only. If you need professional help with a specific health issue, speak to your nearest licensed medical doctor, counsellor, or therapist. Or, see the helplines below: