I asked over 300 women what their top challenges preventing goal achievement were, and boy did you answer! There were so many common themes that ran through out; countless people dealing with the same challenges in making their goals a reality. So, know that you are not alone in your hurdles and struggles. Even knowing your biggest challenge is a huge step in the right direction. Congratulations! Now that you have identified the challenge in your path, you can start to make a plan to get around it. To give you a helping hand to get back on track, here are your top challenges preventing goal achievement (and what to do about it!).
This was by far the biggest challenge you reported facing. We live in a time poor society where busy-ness is often held an indicator of the road to success. With information and opportunity at our finger tips, we take on more than ever.
So what can you do to get more time? I hate to break it to you, darlin’, you can’t! We all get the same 24 hours each day. Sure, you could steal some time from somewhere (who needs to sleep/food/play/work anyway?) but the consequences will catch up with you. What you can do is get time smart. If you feel like you don’t have time for your goal, start with “how much do I want this?”. Often feeling like we don’t have time for something suggests that we haven’t made it a priority. Now this could be for a number of reasons, but start by checking in with yourself and making sure that this is a goal you really want.
It is? Great. Now check that you haven’t over-committed. Have you taken on too much in your enthusiasm to make this happen? Often, in our excitement to make change a reality, we over-commit. Over-complicate. Overdo it to the point where it’s not sustainable. And then we end up overwhelmed with no time for any of it. So check in. And make it simple. Get clear on what your end goal is, then ask yourself “If I could only do 3 things today to start making this a reality, what would they be?” Now focus on those things first and go from there.
Very clearly the second most common challenge. Let me tell you, I hear ya! So many of the women I work with struggle with the blocks that finances can present in their lives. And I know first-hand how frustrating it can be to work so hard toward something, only to feel held back by money. Now, this is a tricky one, because it is extremely circumstantial. First and foremost, if you truly do not believe you can afford something, don’t do it. It is never going to be worth the extra stress, pressure, and debt that over-committing yourself financially will bring in to your life.
However, along with time, money is one of those things that is offered as a reason without hesitation. “I’m too busy”, “I can’t afford it”, “there is no way it will work”. Now if that is true, then perhaps now is not a great time to work toward that particular goal. And that is perfectly okay. But if this is a goal that you truly deeply want, I really encourage you to check in with yourself with brutal honesty and ask: is this a reason, or an excuse? An excuse is a self-built roadblock that keeps you from achieving what is possible. In order to reach potential, we must learn to recognize when we are making excuses and not allow these to dictate the decisions that we make.
If you are really serious about a goal, you will go to great lengths to find other ways of getting there. So, check in. Do you really want this? And if so, what could you do to make it happen? Take a moment to look at it from another perspective – what is it costing you to NOT achieve this goal? Time? Health? Happiness?
A big juicy complex challenge that we all hit time and time again. Firstly, let me say this: if you are struggle with working toward your goal, go easy on yourself. Constant and never waning motivation is an unrealistic expectation to put on ourselves. We all have our days. For those moments, get a good resource bank of strategies that work for you to get you motivated – is it having a one minute dance party? Chatting it through with a friend? Posting your goals somewhere that you see them every day? Positive affirmations? Whatever it is, know what works for you and use them.
But when the motivation dwindles off completely we need stop and take note. It is extremely common for motivation to be high at the start, and then for enthusiasm to slowly (or quickly!) slip away to nothing. Here are a few questions to ask to get your motivation back on track:
- Do you have a plan for the motivational dip? It is natural; it happens. So make a plan for it. Work in to your action plan times dedicated to review progress, celebrate success, and keep you on track.
- Was your goal set BY you or FOR you? This makes a big difference. If it was set for you, then no wonder your motivation has faded. Set your own goal if you can, or get in touch with your own ‘why’ behind it.
- Do you know WHY you are doing this? Your ‘why’ will be your driving force when things get tough.
- Did you set your goal too high? Break it down in to more manageable chunks.
- Too low? Adjust your goal posts accordingly.
- Is your goal framed in the positive or negative? Are you moving toward something, or away from something? Psychology has long shown that we are typically far more motivated by what we gain, than by what we lose. Try re-framing your goal in the positive.
Mindset & Fear
Mindset and fear go hand in hand with our motivation. A negative mindset equals negative action. If you expect to fail, then it is near impossible to be motivated enough to try. Negativity and fear are like weeds. They sprout when you least expect it, and it you don’t take action to manage them from the root source, they will keep coming back. Until eventually they take over.
The desire to remain within our comfort zones is intrinsic and natural. Progress is uncomfortable. But in our comfort zones, nothing happens. Don’t get me wrong, the comfort zone is a wonderful and important place. This is the place where we can recoup our energy, build our strategy, and get the strength to make real change. But nothing happens if we don’t leave it.
To move through fear, we must first understand it. Identify what it is you are afraid of. Ask yourself, is this a real or a perceived risk? A fear of a real risk is an extremely legitimate concern, and must be treated as such. Perceived risks are typically what a negative mindset will focus in on, and (if we allow it) hold us back from success. To overcome this, we must make a conscious decision to change our thinking. Be gentle on yourself as you do this. It can be easy to get critical about it, which only leads to negative thinking about negative thinking! Instead, clarify the type of thinking you would like to replace it. When you notice yourself moving into a negative or fear mindset, acknowledge it, then calmly and firmly refocus your thoughts on the positive. It may feel uncomfortable or difficult to begin with, and don’t expect it to happen overnight, but each time you do it, it will get easier and more natural.
I have never met a person who doesn’t have these fears. You are not alone. And there is nothing wrong with experiencing fear. But do not let it dictate your decisions when it doesn’t need to.
Many of you reported your top challenges preventing goal achievement as being an unexpected circumstance that arose in your life. Health issues, relationship changes (break ups or new relationships), unplanned job changes, unexpected financial issues – all external factors out of your control. These can prevent some pretty big hurdles in your goal journey. External factors are a part of life. Things happen that we really have no way of controlling, and can have a large impact on our progress toward our goals. All we can do is minimize the negative impact these have on our lives. These are often situations that can benefit from a shift in goals. Reflect honestly with yourself and ask “is this still the right goal for me at this time?”
If you choose to continue on the path toward the same goal, understand that whilst the challenge may be something external that you have no control over, there may be things that you can control. Knowing what you know now, are there things that you could do differently to ensure your success? Are the people in your life aware of how important this is to you? Where can you find additional help or support? What can you say no to, in order to say yes to progress toward you goal?
Challenges Preventing Goal Achievement
There are countless challenges that you might face when working toward your goals, and this is just a small snapshot. Some challenges you will overcome, and others you won’t. But one thing that we can do that will always lead us on the path to success (eventually) is to learn from them. When we understand the ways, and potential ways, that challenges impact us and our goals, we can start to develop the tools and resources to manage them.
What are the top challenges preventing goal achievement in your life? Share them in the comments below.