Sometimes, it can feel like everyone else is achieving his or her goals in life, while you’re left struggling to figure out who you’re meant to be or what you want to do. You just can’t seem to make the leap from where you are to where you want to be.
If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Luckily, there are methods to identify what’s holding you back—whether it’s fear, limiting beliefs, or the unconscious mind—and then eliminate each obstacle to reach your goals.
Remember, that you are the only one who has the power to either move forward or hold yourself back.
How to Identify the Obstacles
Excuses—which are often driven by fear, insecurity, or complacency—can hold you back.
Limiting beliefs, which can be influenced by an event or circumstance in your past that made you feel powerless, can also hinder your progress in life.
These beliefs exist on an unconscious level and they drive your every thought, word, and action. They are, in large part, what creates your reality. They’re also responsible for creating the discrepancy between what we say we want and what we actually do.
Imagine that embedded deep in your unconscious mind you’re following an internal set of instructions that determines how you think and behave in every moment of every day. This programming was installed in your unconscious mind as a result of experiences and the meaning you placed on them.
If the experiences you had were positive, you created an empowering internal representation. If your experiences were negative, you more than likely made them mean something negative about yourself, others, or the world. This is how your limiting beliefs were formed.
Sometimes, it can be easy to spot a pattern of negative emotions, excuses, or limiting beliefs because it permeates your conversations or thoughts. Other times, it can be more difficult to pinpoint the obstacles because there is often a layer of truth in an excuse. It can be particularly difficult when there’s evidence that proves the limitation you’re arguing for.
Steps to Work Through Limiting Beliefs
Think of something you want and then ask yourself why you don’t have it. This will begin to reveal negative emotions and limiting beliefs, which end up being some form of resistance and excuses. Then, try journaling about an area of your life where you’re experiencing some frustration or where you haven’t been able to achieve something you desire.
Next, become aware of the negative voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough, or that you can’t have it all. Notice the feelings that arise within you, and begin to write about them.
Take a moment to consider the earliest time in your life when you first experienced these feelings. It will probably be sometime before you turned 11 years old, a time known as imprinting years. What happened? Who was there? Let yourself see that you made a negative decision about yourself or others based on what happened. How did this decision affect you at the time? How has it limited you since then, and how is it holding you back now? Spend a few minutes writing about this.
Consider what you learned from this event to help you see this negative experience as something more positive and even empowering.
Once you’ve chosen an empowering statement or belief to replace the old one, write it down, and come up with a commitment that you will make in the next two days to move you toward what you truly desire. This should be a specific action or a behavior that another person would be able to recognize as having accomplished.
You may also want to talk with a friend or work with an integrative coach to help you see beyond your perceived limitations.
You should expect other obstacles to pop up as you move towards your goals. These could be a tendency to assign negative meaning experience, trepidation, or an inability to take a risk. Here’s how to handle some of the most common obstacles you might encounter.
Assigning Negative Meaning
Like most people, you probably have a negative voice that tries to tell you what you can and can’t do.
When you listen to the voice of negativity, you may tell yourself that “because such-and-such happened, it’s just not be meant to be” or “I’ll never have that.” You listen to the voice, and give up.
Look at where you have made assumptions or created a story around something that may not be true. Challenge yourself to assign a new, empowering meaning to the experience or situation.
Have you ever been excited to jump on an opportunity because it felt right and it made logical sense but there was something screaming at you to just hold off and think about it longer? The “wait-and-see” approach is based in fear and is filtered through a person’s negative emotions and limiting beliefs.
When you take the wait-and-see approach, you’ll eventually stop seeing the opportunities that are right in front of you.
When opportunity knocks, you’re being asked to heed your call. Evaluate the pros and cons. If only fear remains at the end of this evaluation, then jump. Don’t wait for the perfect moment; it might not ever come. Perfect moments are made.
Test the Water Tactic
Can you think of a time when you wanted something, but decided it would be best to just dip one toe in to test the water?
Hanging out in the gray zone creates confusion and conflict. The Universe responds to how much you put in. This is the law of cause and effect, which states that every action generates a force of energy that returns to it in like kind. What you put in is what you will get out of any situation. Make sure you’re contributing positively.
Obstacles are a cause for celebration because they are mile-markers on the path. Think about it, you wouldn’t come up against an obstacle unless you were closer to achieving your goal. Obstacles are your friends because they help you make strides, learn, and, ultimately, experience a level of pride after successfully getting through.