3 Ways to Notice—and Overcome—Obstacles in Your Life

Don’t get discouraged in your resolution progress.

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Posted in , Jan 11, 2018

3 ways to overcome obstacles for your New Year's resolutions

For many of us, making meaningful New Year’s resolutions is the easy part. As January advances, it’s the progress—or lack thereof—toward achieving our goals that can leave us discouraged and tempted by negative thinking.

But identifying and facing down obstacles is part of the process of making any significant life change. The 19th century politician Frank A. Clark put it well: “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” The obstacles that are blocking your progress right now are part of your journey—notice them, and use them to move yourself forward.

1)  Is Time Your Enemy?

If you decided you were going to cook for your family more often in 2018, but you find the clock running out on you each day, you aren’t having a culinary challenge, you’re having a calendar challenge. Brainstorm ways to make more room in your day for meal-prep, from turning to easy slow-cooker recipes, to spending 15 minutes chopping vegetables before bed each evening, to investing in a meal-delivery service where food is prepped and ready for you to make, even just a couple of nights a week.

2)  Are You Unmotivated?

If you are struggling to sustain motivation to achieve a goal—say, an organized linen closet or a daily journal—that could be a signal you need to re-evaluate your commitment to that resolution. No one etches their resolutions in stone; it’s never too late to make a “resolution reset” so you can align your priorities with your energy level. 

3)  Are You Judging Yourself?

Well, in two words, stop it! Mid-January is no time to declare your efforts worthless, unproductive or other negative assessment. You have just scratched the surface of your commitment to approach some aspects of your life in a new way—give yourself the time and space it takes to adjust to new routines, gain confidence in your abilities and see the progress start to roll in. If you have made a boo-boo, like helping yourself to a plate of cookies despite a resolution to cut back on sugar, forgive yourself, think about what triggered the behavior, and start again. Every day can be a new New Year if you have the right outlook.

In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader

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