Monday, August 31, 2009

Overcoming Internal Barriers to Your Goals

If you're like I am, you don't see yourself as having any fear of success. In fact, it's likely that you actively strive for success.

So despite this confidence, why do you find yourself plagued with self-doubt sometimes? Or, occasionally, you just don't feel motivated to work on your goal. Worse yet, sometimes you do things that actually impede the achievement of your goal. Are these signs that you'll never achieve that goal or is something else going on?

One way to solve this puzzle is to ask yourself some key questions:

Are you taking on too big a goal?
Sometimes when there's too much to do to attain a goal, we can't focus on what needs to be done and we become overwhelmed. Rather than focusing on the big goal, focus on the smaller steps that need to be accomplished one at a time in order to accomplish the big goal.

Are there signs that you are progressing toward your goal?
It can be discouraging to feel as though you're not getting closer to your goal. It's easy to lose the initial enthusiasm and motivation once the work gets going. It's especially easy to lose the initial excitement and anticipation if you don't see any results from your efforts. If the steps toward your goal don't provide rewards, build your own. Treat yourself to a special dinner, a night out, or whatever you want, after making a significant step toward your goal.

Are you having to make too many sacrifices to achieve your goal?
If you're a single parent holding down a full-time job, you may be sacrificing sleep or time with your children to get that Ph. D. Most goals demand some kind of investment of scarce resources (i.e. time, energy, money). For some, these resources are a small investment and for others they are major investments. Make sure your investment is worth your goal.

Now that you've started working on your goal, is this something you can accomplish?
Some self-doubts are realistic and some aren't. Make an assessment of the skills and resources needed to accomplish this goal. Next, assess your skills and resources. It may be helpful to ask a friend who can be objective and honest with you to help you with these assessments. If your skills and resources are less than what is needed and will never be enough to reach your goals, then your self-doubt is an inner sign of reality (like wanting to be the next "American Idol" despite being only an adequate singer). However, if your skills and resources match or will match the skills and resources needed to accomplish your goal, this exercise should help eliminate some of your self-doubt.

Is accomplishing your goal too far out in the future?
When goals take a long time to accomplish, we can find ourselves working on things that have nothing to do with our goals, and in effect, wasting our time and making the achievement of our goals take that much longer. In this case, it may be helpful to make the halfway point to your goal the new goal instead. For example, if your goal is to lose 40 pounds in 40 weeks, make a new goal of 20 pounds in 20 weeks. At the end of 20 weeks, when you've lost 20 pounds, create a new goal of 20 pounds in 20 weeks. Break up your goal whichever way works best for you and keeps you focused on the end result.

You may not always be able to handle external obstacles toward your goals, but you do have control over your internal obstacles!

I have been helping people reach their personal and professional goals for the past 14 years. There's nothing more satisfying than helping someone reach their potential for success. I would like the opportunity to help you reach your goals. I am a Professional Coach with a Ph.D. in Psychology and a specialty in Goal Achievement and Transitions. Check out my website: then call me for a free consultation.

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