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Are These 3 Odd but Common Obstacles Standing in the Way of Your Success?

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grrphoto/ / CC BY 2.0

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
Michael Jordan

Basics such as motivation, setting goals and taking action are vital to get the success you want in any area of life.

But there are also other factors that play a part. Inner and outer obstacles that can stand in your way and make things harder than they need to be.

Today I’d like to explore three such things and how you can overcome these obstacles and make success easier.

1. Drama.

Drama can be a bit annoying. Both when it pops up in me and in other people. It’s annoying because it’s pointless, counterproductive and at the same time can be addictive.

When you are in drama-mode you make mountains out of molehills. You construct elaborate and huge problems based on some little thing that is often misinterpreted in dramatic and negative fashion to ignite the drama.

The drama in your mind can steal so much energy and time from you. So why do we do it?

Well, frankly I think it is sometimes just because people are under stimulated. Nothing much fun happens in the daily life. There are no real exciting goals to work towards.

The drama can not only add spice to your life but also be emotionally addictive. It brings you attention from other people. Instead of doing something that is actually hard and gaining admiration and attention that way it’s easier to just create drama.

So what do you do to decrease the drama within yourself? The answers are already above. You get a life and fill it with doing things that are important and fulfilling for you. You remain aware in your daily life so that when you are creating drama you can tell yourself that such thinking is silly and will just make everything seem bigger than it is and thereby make it harder to take action. And the less you accept drama from yourself, the less you will accept or be rattled by drama from other people.

By doing that you will realize that things are often simpler than you may think and that few things are that big of a deal really. You’ll be cooler and more levelheaded than you used to and you’ll focus on working on what you want. Because in the end that is more fun and fulfilling than creating drama to fill a void.

2. Small invisible barriers.

Why don’t people get regular exercise? One invisible barrier that I know comes up again and again is simply that they have to get to the gym. That takes effort. You have to get up from your couch, pack your gym bag and perhaps take a bus or drive to get there. And then you have to ride/drive home again.

After a long day at work or in school it’s very easy to go: “Eh, I’ll do that tomorrow instead” and remain on the couch.

And so you may get to the gym once every week instead of three times a week like you were planning on back during the holidays.

So you need to find ways to reduce or remove those barriers. I do my workouts right here at home. I lift weights and I do body weight exercises on my living room floor. This has eliminated that invisible gym barrier and helped me to be very consistent and work out three times a week.
Other ways to reduce the barrier would perhaps be to get exercise by going out running or going out biking. This will at least remove the hassle of getting to and from the gym.

Think about the small barriers that may be stopping you from doing things on a consistent basis. And find solutions.

Bonus tip: You can use small barriers to your advantage too. I did for instance remove the websites I got a bit too fond of from my bookmarks in Firefox. Now I have to type in the address or google for websites. This extra, very small barrier has helped me to check the websites far less than I used to. Oftentimes I forget to check them for many days and realize that they weren’t really that important after all.

3. You fall back into old patterns, thoughts and behaviors.

It is easy to fall back into your old patterns. If you have, for instance, been looking for problems in different parts of your life for years but adopted a more optimistic outlook lately it is still easy to snap back into that old, familiar place. Sometimes you start looking for problems just out of habit.

This can be an obstacle. It can make things messy as you one day feel optimistic and the other day are not so optimistic anymore. Sure, there are natural fluctuations from day to day. But there are also things you can do to reinforce your new self image and to prevent the old stuff from coming up or holding you back.

  • Be aware during your day. When you become aware of a moment when you are slipping back into your old ways first accept that. Then let it go. This can help you let go of such things as soon as they appear and before they start to spiral and become bigger.
  • Review and reexamine your past. If you are falling back into worrying for example, look at your past. How many of your worries in the last 3 years have actually come into reality? Sit down and really go through this past period. You will probably realize how little of what you feared and worried about that has actually happened. By doing so you can start to release that old thought habit more easily when it pops up because it has been really inaccurate so far.
  • Get more experiences that support your new self image. This is the most important ingredient. To change and strengthen your new self image you mind needs proof. The proof is the experiences you have had. So if you really dive in and immerse yourself in something like fitness and work out every other/every day, read a lot about it all and are eating healthy stuff in a conscious way you change a lot about your day to day living environment. Expanding your comfort zone like this will be uncomfortable and a bit draining but it will quickly give you a lot of new experiences. This helps to you make a quicker change, gives you a stronger new self image and so you will more rarely slip back into those old thought patterns and behaviors.
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  • Kara March 8, 2010, 9:15 pm

    Everything you have said is so true. I’ve learned to avoid people that create drama, leave my comfort zone and learn new skills that I found daunting at first, and I’m happy to say that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Thank you for continuing to inspire so many people with your thoughtful words.

  • Eduard @ Ideas With A Kick March 8, 2010, 10:10 pm

    I’d say possibly for the first 2 and definitely for the third one. I think the mind’s greatest quality and fault is the ability to create automatic patterns, which go on beyond our conscious control. When they’re negative, they can cause a whole lot of trouble, but when you manage to replace them with positive ones… surf’s up :)

  • David Rogers March 8, 2010, 11:13 pm

    So much of what we do day to day is habit – whether thinking habits or our behaviour. So I think how we tackle your third point is really what makes or breaks us. Getting into the habit of breaking habits is one of my mantras when it comes to change.

  • Michelle @ Following Your Joy March 8, 2010, 11:52 pm

    Hello! What an interesting coincidence (or not) that your article resonated with me particularly today as I’m working on getting past a roadblock that has repeatedly come up for me relating to my health and fitness goals. So just this morning, I began listening to the “New Behavior Generator” paraliminal…just like the ones you are advertising and promoting! I have allowed all three obstacles you mention above get in my way, so it’s time for me to create a new behavior to help me break through (and past) them! For any of your readers, I definitely recommend Learning Strategies and their products. Great stuff!

  • Self Improvement Explained March 8, 2010, 11:56 pm

    I like your advice of “get a life”. LOL! That was great and sometimes we fall into this thinking that this is it, this is all life is about and it’s not. It can be whatever you want it to be. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Also, meditation can help with #3. The benefits are hard to put into words.

  • Melinda Neely March 9, 2010, 1:53 am

    One of the things that most drives me is figuring out what motivates people to exercise (or avoid it). It’s nice to hear your perspective and the barriers you removed.

  • Colbycheeze March 9, 2010, 1:57 am

    The whole idea of barriers is quite powerful when used in your favor. You can set up big barriers to doing habits which you are trying to eliminate, and it will really help you to remove them from your life.

    I was able to stop eating 90% of all bad food by creating a limitation for myself that, “I will never buy unhealthy food with my own money, because I do not want to invest in poor health.”

    I try to do things like this all of the time, and it really helps!

  • The Dropout Kid March 9, 2010, 5:14 am

    I think if we just eliminate fear, we can all evolve beyond our conditioning. It may take time, but as Micheal Jordan said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

    Great post.
    Henrik, what are some obstacles your facing in your life?

    • Henrik Edberg March 9, 2010, 6:39 pm

      Thanks! At the moment, some obstacles are what I described in this article. I overcomplicate stuff sometimes and also snap back into old behavior which can make it harder to be consistent which things such as taking massive action. It becomes less and less of a problem though as months pass.

  • Leo March 9, 2010, 9:04 am

    Hi Henrik I love your work and thoughts. Firstly how far we actually think, the difference of being real or virtual .Though I find it difficult to adopt the changes by mere thought then by experience for change . I like to know, if at all the environment around you quote for jump along the bank of river to the invisible force ..How can you hold up yourself? What is it,the inner force comes to your rescue ? Do we succumb to others thinking? Is their any other way to find out the think of thought.
    Some of them are mental blocks .How to get rid off them.

  • Mighty March 9, 2010, 1:39 pm

    Hey Henrik, nice tips. Simple ones but powerful! i know a close friend of mine who is on drama mode a lot! I probably catch him that way a lot because he hang out often enough. But yeah, it sure can be a barrier and the more it is reinforced, the more negative emotions and feelings it will generate.

  • Tom @ Scinti March 10, 2010, 2:34 am

    Hi Henrik,

    For me, my main obstacle was my job which included all the obstacles you listed above. Once I was relieved of that “obstacle”, I had time to do what I really want to do in life. One of those goals is to start a site where people can share stories on how to help each other through life daily challenges. I hope one day the site can help a fraction of the people you help every day.

    Great article. I’ll be back more.

  • zee March 10, 2010, 3:38 pm

    Wonderful tips! #2 and #3 have always been a problem — it’s so easy to lose sight of the goal when we allow ourselves to be discouraged by barriers. (you’re so right about those barriers when it comes to losing weight!) Love your tip about reinforcing your self image to prevent falling back into old habits. It really takes a lot of discipline and persistence..and lots of positivity! Thanks for inspiring me! Not only will these tips help me in my personal life — it’s also very helpful to me as a marketer!

  • Hilary March 11, 2010, 10:35 am

    Hi Hendrik .. yes drama and making mountains out of molehills – how often we do that .. rather more often that we’d care to think I expect .. we often don’t realise we’re doing it.

    Sport and exercise are so important – I found belonging to a club and actually being part of a team, and ultimately on a committee really helped that involvement – a) for creativity, as well as b) for playing and enjoying the game, c) getting the exercise d) not staying at home and loafing

    Being aware and settling into a new routine for your day – so you achieve and can succeed .. the 21 day habit really does work ..

    Thanks – great post on little obstacles that will only be molehills .. a hop, skip and jump away from achieving loads and having fun – thanks Hilary

  • Amanya Jacobs March 11, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Your article is full of thought-provoking and meaningful tips. I especially like that you mention if you find yourself doing something again that you are working not to do, the first thing is to accept it and then move away from it. There’s nothing to be gained by beating up yourself and creating a drama about it. Thank you for posting this!

  • motivational March 11, 2010, 9:40 pm

    In order to overcome the barriers in life, a person should try to be patient, optimistic, self-confident and self-motivated. Motivation is a very strong force that takes a person to the heights of success. By reading motivational quotes and success stories of others, one can easily combat with all the hurdles that come in his/her way to success.

  • Josten March 11, 2010, 9:52 pm

    pretty amazing post i must say. A few of those barriers have stood in my way to success. But i no longer am going to let them. Before i used to take time to do things. Saying i’m going to do them tommrrow and eventually never get to doing so. I’m glad i read this post to remind myself that i do not do that anymore.

  • Anicca March 16, 2010, 9:53 pm

    There’s a new book called “Looking Good Naked”. I think it could help a lot of people overcome an important obstacle- loving their bodies. The book promises to be a guide to healthy living and looking you best. I hven’t read it yet, but I’m excited for it.

  • zac March 17, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Really gud post by motivational.
    Motivation in life is truly essential to be successful. I really read it and got motivated by your powerful words.

    Thank you for such a nice post.

  • Hiro March 25, 2010, 11:10 pm

    I have been working hard at turning around some aspects of my life that needed it, for a while now. Everything you mentioned is so true, and I’m still struggling with them regularly (especially the 3rd point). This is gold. I’ll be reading daily.
    Thank you.

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