Jeannie, a former client, wanted to take a vacation. She and her husband Robert had dreamed about this vacation for years, but every time they thought of a place they would really like to visit, they encountered an obstacle: “We really want to go away to a really nice place, but we can’t afford it.”

Removing ObstaclesPatrick, another client, wanted to make more money to do various things for his wife and children, but his obstacle had been: “There are so many things I really want to do for my family, but I don’t have the skills necessary to increase my level of income.”

Rebecca, a friend, talked about wanting to eat healthier food almost every time I saw her. But she never reached her goal. She told me that her obstacle was: “I do want to eat healthier, but I can’t because I’m always tempted by specific foods I really love, especially sweets, even though I know they are not healthy.”

Notice that in every case there is a goal that someone wanted to achieve; there is also a “but I can’t because ….”

What is actually stopping you?

Obviously there are beliefs and occurrings involved in these three cases that, if eliminated, could help these people overcome the obstacles they faced in trying to achieve their goals. But there is a simple trick I was able to show them in just a few minutes that enabled them to stop feeling overwhelmed and stopped by the obstacles that stood in their way.

When you have an obstacle to achieving your goal, it feels like the barrier is keeping you from even pursuing your goal, much less achieving it. In other words, you are stating off with the mindset: “I can’t achieve it because of my obstacle.”

In Jeannie’s case, she couldn’t take the vacation that she wanted because she had insufficient money. Patrick couldn’t earn the money he wanted to buy things for his family because of a lack of specific skills. And Rebecca couldn’t eat healthy foods because of the temptation to eat foods that weren’t healthy.

Can you see that these people viewed their obstacles as something that was preventing them from pursuing their goals? Each of them had a clear goal, but something was keeping them from moving toward the goal. Every one of them had a “but I can’t because ….”

How to avoid being stopped by the obstacles in your life

Here’s the trick that helped these three people and so many more, and that can help you reach many more of your goals, regardless of the obstacles in the way.

Include the obstacles to reaching your goal as part of the goal itself. What happens when you do that? The “but I can‘t because …” is gone. The barrier to the goal just disappeared. The goal is perhaps a bit more complex, but psychologically there is nothing standing between you and your goal.

Let’s apply this principle to the three stories
I related earlier

Here’s Jeannie’s revised goal: I want to take a vacation that will cost more money than my husband and I have available. That is her goal. She might not know how to accomplish that goal, but now there is nothing in the way of her finding a solution. Before the lack of money had been a significant barrier to finding a solution to the goal of taking a vacation.

The difference is subtle, but psychologically it can be immense. Do you get it?

Let’s look at the other two examples.

Patrick’s new goal is wanting to make more money using the skills he currently has. Rebecca’s new goal is wanting to stop allowing her desire for unhealthy food to keep her from eating a healthier diet.

The obstacles just disappear

Can you see how rewording their goals to include the prior barriers eliminates the barriers? It is a lot easier to find a way to achieve a goal you aren’t sure how to achieve than it is to achieve a goal with a seemingly insurmountable barrier in front of it.

Try this trick with a couple of your own goals. Identify a couple of goals and then see what barriers you have placed in front of achieving them. How do you feel about achieving them? How successful have you been in overcoming your barriers and reaching your goals?

Now redefine the goals to include the barriers. How do you feel about achieving the goals now? Do you notice a definite psychological shift in your mind?


Thanks for reading my blog. Please post your questions or comments on my suggestion that eliminating barriers by including them in your statement of your goals will make it easier to achieve your goals. Disagreement is as welcome as agreement. Your comments add value for thousands of readers. I love to read them all and I will respond to as many as I can.

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Copyright © 2015 Morty Lefkoe