Barriers, obstacles, challenges, goals, mountains and mole hills….

Whatever our goal and whoever we are, the road to achieving our desired outcome (dream, goal, accomplishment, personal achievement) will inevitably be bumpy, or rough or full of challenges, blocks and obstacles or barriers – whichever term you choose to use to describe the hiccups along the way.

So, we need to ask ourselves when setting a goal – what obstacles or challenges (my choice of words, as they imply, I can do something about them) are possibly going to get in my way? If you set out on a car journey, you tend to have planned your route in advance, or at least have a trusty Satnav at the ready to help you along the way. Then, if there is trouble on the roads, say bad traffic, or an unexpected diversion, you’d hopefully have an alternative route planned, if not, you’d figure something out, right? You wouldn’t just give up and go home.

So, why when we set goals do we sometimes meet barriers or obstacles and just give up and go home?

Well, there are a variety of reasons and it would require me to write an entire coaching book rather than a quick blog to address them all, so today, we’ll focus on barriers.

What are your barriers? Are they real or perceived?

Obviously, there will be real barriers to achieving a goal… a lack of finance, time constraints, child care issues, a need to up skill or get support and the need to acquire resources, etc…we can usually do something about these (that is if we choose to), and the trick is to learn how to get around these.

BUT, what we forget to address, and which is the most powerful force in holding most people back, are perceived barriers.

Perceived barriers are the limitations we create for ourselves in our own minds that stop ourselves from being who and what we want to be, and doing what we want to do and feeling the way we want to feel.

Perceived barriers give way to that age-old cycle of self-sabotage. A great deal of my work is helping people to identify, address and make changes to destructive, limiting and hurtful patters of thinking and behaving.

Why do we do it? Well, the list of reasons is endless and personal and unique to each individual…growing up in a family that didn’t believe in you, experiencing bullying, collecting and believing limiting self-beliefs from family, friends, teachers, the media, romantic relationships and the relationships we develop with ourselves that impact on our self-talk, self-esteem, self-image, self-belief, self-motivation, self-discipline and self-confidence.

Our perceived barriers are unhelpful and negative assumptions that we make about ourselves.

A few examples include….

  • It’s not worth it (I’m not worth it…)
  • People like me are just unlucky
  • I got the fat genes
  • I’m too old
  • I’m too young
  • People from my area don’t…

Again, this list of limiting perceived beliefs would go on and on, and they are unique and personal to each and every person.

How do you overcome perceived barriers?

Firstly, you need to be curious…what are your perceived barriers?

Secondly, identify and acknowledge them.

Thirdly, become inquisitive about how you gained them and accepted them as true.

Fourthly, how are you going to deal with them now you know that you have them…are you going to keep them (people do get comfortable in feeling uncomfortable), or are you going to address them, challenge them and overcome them?

Fifthly, replace the negative with a new positive…what would you like to believe to be true now and in the future.

Sixthly, put this new thinking into practice and be willing to support yourself in this new way of thinking.

This isn’t an easy journey, but it is worth it…. remember not to let your perceived barriers about changing your mind-set stop you from changing your mind-set!

About Sara Wright

Sara Wright is a confidence coach based in Leicester. She specialises in helping improve people’s mental health self-esteem. She has over 20 years’ experience in the sector, as well as a BSc and MSc to back up her practical knowledge. To find out more, check out her website and Facebook page.