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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

7 Powerful Ways To Overcome Obstacles And Win In Life

7 Powerful Ways To Overcome Obstacles And Win In Life

Obstacles are the stumbling blocks that prevent you from reaching your goals. They are the limiting factors that hinder you from achieving your desired dreams, and you have to overcome these obstacles to move further in life.

It’s not enough to set goals; you need to actualize your goals. It is at the point of execution that life becomes unbearable as unexpected setbacks and obstacles set in.

It is not an understatement to say that every success comes with challenges. Those challenges often come as problems you need to solve. If you can solve them, you can then have the assurance that you can reach your goals.

7 Reasons Why Obstacles Are Important

So why is it important to overcome obstacles? Can you go through life without encountering any limitations?

Here are 7 reasons why obstacles are important in life.

1. Obstacles Reveal Your True Identity

Some life challenges will rip you apart. When this occurs, you get to know who you truly are. Sometimes, you don’t know your full capabilities and tendencies. Obstacles exist to test you and stretch you beyond limits.

The fact is once your limitations and inclinations have been revealed, you can begin to take steps to deal with them so you can win in life. You’ll be forced to overcome these obstacles, which will help reveal your true self.

2. Obstacles Direct Your Actions

Someone once said you could walk on water; you only need to know where the stones are placed. The stumbling blocks on your path create a new way to get to the next level or phase.

For instance, if someone continually hurts your feeling, the situation allows you to practice the art of forgiveness. Every problem comes with its solution. You only need to shift your perspective to uncover the lessons that challenges have to teach you.

No wonder Benjamin Franklin once affirmed that:

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The things which hurt, instruct.

Once you receive instructions, learn, and make progress in the directions of your goals.

3. Obstacles Make You Tougher

No one comes with the natural ability to withstand challenges; you have to develop your resilience through life. And don’t you ever think everything will come to you on a platter of gold. That only happens in the grave

As long as you are here, you’d have to overcome obstacles and surmount difficulties. The essence of obstacles is to toughen you so you can be courageous. It would be best if you dared to change your circumstances – to improve yourself and the world.

And if you discover you are losing courage, obstacles can toughen you more so you can move to the next phase.

4. Obstacles Enable You to Focus on What Counts

Not everything counts in life, so you need to focus on your goals and pursue your life missions. Once you are clear about your goals and tasks, every obstacle that comes your way looks smaller and manageable.

But when you lack clues and direction, this uncertainty magnifies every limitation and makes your pursuit a massive mountain that you need to climb.

The bottom line is that you need to be clear about your goals and focus like a laser so you can surmount the few mountains that deserve your attention.

5. Obstacles Unleash Your Creativity

You don’t know how far you can run until you meet a lion in the jungle. That’s the beauty of life!

Without impediments, you may not reach the untrodden territory. It takes persisting and resisting to learn where others fail because they were impatient. Obstacles are capable of stretching your creative muscles so you can go beyond the limits.

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6. Obstacles Help You Find Meaning to Your Life

Your perception of life determines your outcome. You might want to take a cue from the experience of President Abraham Lincoln. While he battled with depression all though, he led the United States through one of the most challenging times in history: The Civil War.

Lincoln discovered the art of fining meaning despite his inner turmoil by channeling his efforts outward by uniting the entire nation. He learned the art of endurance. He articulated this attitude and derived meaning from his obstacles.[1]

He discovered purpose and found succor in a more prominent cause higher than his obstacles.

7. Obstacles Can Help You Discover Meaning Beyond Your Inner Troubles

Just like Lincoln, you can find your purpose when you cease from peering at your troubles and begin to seek how you can make others happy. You can rise above your obstacles by lifting others.

This strategy is one of the best approaches to deal with depression. It is a way of starving your problems of time so you can focus on others suffering.

Here’s the added advantage!

Focusing outward will enable you to improve inward.

7 Ways to Overcome Obstacles in Life

Now that you know the significance of obstacles, here are 7 ways you can turn them into stepping stones.

1. Find Out What’s Limiting You

Sit down and assess your limiting factors. What are the obstacles standing between you and your goals?

Figure out why you are not meeting the deadline. Avoid dredging up your list of complaints as it will eventually culminate into excuses.

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For instance, if you said,’ I don’t have sufficient time,’ reflect on what you spend your time and energy on. Your limiting factors could be procrastination, complacency, or external events. If you said, ‘I don’t have enough funds,’ this is most times related to priorities.

Your immediate challenge may be a lack of motivation or time, or you need to commit to learning how to earn extra income and reduce your expenses.

2. Review the Obstacle’s Timeline

How long have you been dealing with the challenge? What attitude or habit is hindering you from overcoming the obstacles? Finding answers to these questions will enable you to make the right changes.

For instance, if you changed your job, there could be something about your new job or workplace that is challenging you. It could be the fact that you need to cope with a new environment.

Reflect on the different obstacles you have faced in life. Whether you work over them or not, take a cue from your experience and apply the lessons in dealing with new challenges.

3. Determine What’s Beyond You

Some challenges are beyond you. They are so daunting that you don’t have a clue on how to overcome them. Perhaps, you are even afraid or weak to the bone.

It shouldn’t be the end of the world. Just take a deep breath and list those things you can control, such as:

  • Your habits
  • How much energy you exert
  • Your decision when you are offered an opportunity
  • Your lifestyle-exercise, diet, and relaxation, all of which affect your mood and personal disposition

Focus on what you can control. Start by cultivating all the good habits to have in life.

4. Break Your Goals Down

Giant stride is not about taking one leap to the top of the highest mountain; it is about boldness to pursue your goals in the face of oppositions. It’s reasonable to break your goals into bits and develop a checklist to figure out the obstacles hindering you from actualizing the first box.

For instance, if you aspire to be the best copywriter in the world, one impending obstacle is to enroll and follow through an online course. Thus, your new goal can be to apply for an online class on copywriting. You can surmount this obstacle by opening your Google browser right now.

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5. Maintain an Active Plan

Always work with a to-do list. Begin your day with what you have to do and achieve your goal. Recognize that there will be obstacles and distractions. The lessons from facing obstacles will help you to adapt your plan in finding the best strategy to achieving your goals.

6. Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

If you tend to make decisions base on your instincts, you may try to be more analytic.

Here are some strategies you can adopt to making a decision:

Worst case scenario: If I enroll for the copywriting course and I fail, where would I end up? Design a backup plan for this eventuality.

Cost-benefit analysis: What would I gain if I complete the copywriting course. Assess if the benefits are worth the sacrifices.

7. Track Your Progress

As you pursue your goals, keep a journal of your successes and challenges. Establish milestones and compensate yourself when you complete each milestone. There are four steps you can take to track your progress.

Final Thoughts

Obstacles give life meaning. As long as you are on the face of the earth, you will keep facing challenges. It’s up to you to change your perspectives and deal with obstacles with the right mindset. It’s either they become your stepping stones or stumbling blocks.

Choose to live your life by design and apply the tips I have shared above to overcome whatever obstacle you are facing. Stay safe, and stay strong!

More Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles

Featured photo credit: Mike Throm via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] TheAtlantic: Lincoln’s Greatest Depression

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Willpower is essential to the accomplishment of anything worthwhile.” – Brian Tracy

“Just do it.” – Nike

The most important and satisfying things in life usually aren’t the easiest ones.

The good news: In today’s hyper-connected world, we have access to all the information we could want to help us achieve our future goals. We know what foods will make us healthier (would kale or quinoa be as popular without the internet and Dr. Oz? I think not). We can also estimate for ourselves the benefits of starting retirement savings early – and the implications for the lifestyles of our future selves (that boat at 65 means fewer vacations in your 20’s).

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We almost always know what we should do thanks to endless knowledge at our fingertips. But actually doing it is an entirely different kind of challenge. Most of us can relate to that feeling of inertia at the start of a big project, or the struggle to consistently make good, long-term choices for our health, or saving for the future. This mental tug-of-war we experience has evolutionary roots. While knowing this might bring comfort, it doesn’t help solve the problem at hand:

How can we flex our willpower to become better, faster, smarter, and stronger?

The bad news: you can’t Google your way out of this one.

Or can you? A fascinating body of research (much of which you can turn up online through popular press and academic articles) sheds light on how to hack your willpower for better, easier results in all areas of your life. The Willpower Instinct, a great book by Stanford prof Kelly McGonigal, provides a deep dive into these and more topics for anyone keenly interested.

Here’s the short version: we can make the most of our willpower through two types of hacks. First, there are ways to turbo boost your willpower. Second, there are ways to hack the system so you make the best use of whatever (sometimes infinitely modest) willpower you have.

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The following 10 tips draw on both of these toolkits.

1. Slow the heck down.

Most regrettable decisions (the splurge at the mall, the procrastination on the project, the snacks in the break room) happen when one part of our brain effectively hijacks the other. We go into automatic pilot (and unfortunately the pilot in question has a penchant for shoes, Facebook and cookies!). Researchers suggest that we can override this system by charging up the other. That is, slow down and focus on the moment at hand. Think about your breathing. Bring yourself back to this moment in time, feel the compulsion but don’t act on it yet. Try telling yourself, “If this feeling is still just as uncomfortable in 10 minutes, I’ll act on it.” Take a little time to be mindful – then make your decision.

2. Dream of ‘done.’

Imagine yourself handing in the big project, soaking up the appreciation from your colleagues or boss. Or crossing the finish line for the half-marathon you’ve always wanted to run. The rush, the aliveness, the wind on your face, the medal …

That’s a lot more fun and motivating to think about than how much work it is to get out of bed for your long, Sunday morning run!

Re-orient your brain by summoning more motivating feelings than just “not running this morning is more enjoyable than running this morning.” If your goals are meaningful, this will help.

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3. Make your toughest choices first.

Scientists have found that willpower is like a full bathtub that’s drained throughout the day. So, why not start your toughest challenges when you have a full reserve? Get that project started or fit that workout in before you even check your email or have breakfast. Bonus: the high you’ll get from crossing off your hardest ‘to-do’ will help you sail through the rest of your day.

4. Progress = commitment, not a license to backslide.

A lot of times people will ‘cheat’ right after taking positive steps towards their goals. (A common version of this trap is, “I worked out three days in a row, so I deserve this cookie.”) Most of us can relate to this thinking – but it’s totally irrational! We’ll often trick ourselves into setbacks because we think we deserve them, even if we don’t really want them and deep down we know they’ll work against us in the long-run.

How can you counteract this effect? Research finds that if you use your positive streak to recommit (“If I worked out three days this week, I must be really committed to my health and fitness goal!”) rather than an excuse for wiggle room, we don’t take the same cheat options. Cool, right?

5. Meditate.

Meditation is an expressway to better willpower. Bringing your attention to your breathing for 15 minutes, or even five, flexes your willpower muscles by applying discipline to your thinking. It does this by working two mental ‘muscle groups’: first, the set of muscles that notice when your attention is drifting, and second, the set of muscles that bring you back to your task at hand. Over time, even small amounts of meditation will help you build the discipline to easily do what was once hard – like pushing through a long stretch at work.

6. Set mini-goals.

Which seems more doable: committing to three 20 minute runs this week or a half-marathon? Mini-goals are brilliant because they’re easier to achieve and boost your commitment to continuing. When we size them up, we see them as achievable rather than daunting. Each time you succeed at one, it boosts your sense of efficacy and personal integrity: not only are you capable of doing what you set out to do, but you followed through on it. Nice.

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The beauty of mini-goals is that over time, mini-goals – and the momentum you’ve built by doing them – can quickly turn into super-goals. So that half marathon might be more likely to happen, and sooner and more easily than you think!

7. Eat.

Low blood sugar decreases your ability to make tough decisions. If you’re running on empty physically, you’ll also be running on empty mentally. (Yes, this one’s somewhat ironic if your goal involves changing food patterns – but even so, letting your blood sugar drop too far will only sabotage you over time.)

8. Sleep.

Research shows people who don’t get enough sleep have a tough time exercising their willpower. Sleep is critical for a healthy brain – along with just about everything else. So to optimize your willpower muscle, make sure you’re catching your zzz’s.

9. Nix the self-sabotage.

Making yourself feel bad hurts, rather than helps, your willpower efforts. Researchers have found that compassion is a far better strategy than tough love – telling yourself “It’s OK, everyone has setbacks sometimes,” will help you bounce back more quickly than negative self-talk.

10. Take the first hard step.

As a new behavior becomes a habit, it is more natural. You have to use less and less willpower to ‘make it so.’ When you’re starting a new pattern that feels hard, remind yourself that the first steps are truly the hardest. It will probably never feel harder than it does in those first few choices. In the case of repeated behaviors, like exercise or saving money, it takes weeks for new habits to take hold. By that point, the habit will be so ingrained, you’d have to try hard not to do it.

Featured photo credit: Kym Ellis via unsplash.com

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