How many of us will realise our goals and ambitions in 2017 amidst the turmoil of everyday life? How many New Year’s resolutions will be forgotten or given up before the end of January?
Perhaps it is just as important to consider what barriers stop us achieving our goals as much as it is to focus on our goals. Barriers to achieving goals can be broken down into 3 main types:- Personal/social barriers, environmental/physical barriers and organisational/political barriers.
Personal/social barriers (also known as intrinsic barriers) are those barriers or excuses that stop us exploring and achieving. “It costs too much, I can’t afford it, I’m too busy, I’m too old, why bother?” The best method to overcome these barriers is to write down a list of every excuse you think is stopping you and then prioritising the list to identify those personal/social barriers that are your biggest hindrance to you achieving your goals. Identifying and then overcoming your highest prioritised barriers will cause the others to melt away; so often we start with our flimsiest excuse not to do something in order that our deep rooted excuses are not exposed; by overcoming your biggest fears you will feel empowered and motivated.
Environmental/physical barriers (also known as extrinsic barriers) are fairly self explanatory. Typical environmental/physical barriers are transport, distance, opening hours and access. These barriers are best overcome by planning and organising. If the nearest gym is too far away, then why not bring the gym to you - invest in an exercise bike or join the local park run. If the local college doesn’t do language classes, then why not learn on-line or start a language group. Environmental and physical barriers may often overlap with personal and social barriers, and are often seen as good excuses not to do something; so don’t be afraid to include them in your priority list. Finding a way of overcoming the challenges of environmental/physical barriers is another great motivator.
Finally whilst organisational/political barriers are the easiest to overcome, for many people the hardest to ignore. Events of 2016 have left many people ‘shellshocked’ and yet life does and must go on. Too many people focus on the “what ifs”? What if I lose my job? What if I don’t get a pay rise? What if Brexit means……? What if Trump does this…? As Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher suggested ‘the only constant in life is change’. Change happens whether we want it to or not. Using it as an excuse not to change ourselves, does not eliminate the change only our own chances for self improvement. Changing ourselves enables us to persuade and influence others. This may cause others to follow or join us. We become the participants of change rather than the voyeurs of change.
I encourage you to commit yourself to achieving your goals and ambitions for 2017 irrespective of what world events are happening around us. Having identified your goals and ambitions for 2017, spend some time identifying, prioritising and eliminating the barriers. Happy New Year and I wish you every success in 2017