Published on December 30, 2020

How To Keep Pushing Forward And Overcome Any Obstacle

How To Keep Pushing Forward And Overcome Any Obstacle

Sooner or later, all of us will face adversity that will make us feel extreme stress, disappointment, and a lot of uncertainty. As we lean into the adversity, we’ll encounter some formidable obstacles. When we face these obstacles, we must keep pushing forward.

When life gets really tough, many people get stuck or lose their momentum. They suffer from fear, self-doubt, and other negative feelings.

To get past obstacles in your way, you must fully acknowledge the problem and have a strong, motivating reason to keep moving forward. You also have to change any unrealistic expectations. Then, you have to develop a positive mindset, see the problem as an opportunity in disguise, and start taking action.

Master these six powerful ways to keep pushing past obstacles in front of you so you can reach your goals.

1. Don’t Avoid Obstacles

“Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, that’s true strength.” —Chris Bradford

The first thing to do is not avoid the obstacle in front of you. Don’t stick your head in the sand and just hope it gets better. Avoiding problems generally makes them worse because small problems now will oftentimes become bigger and unmanageable later.

Many people avoid that daunting obstacle by either denying that it’s a big problem or purposely downplaying its significance. They usually do this because they don’t believe they can solve the problem, or they realize how much work it will take to overcome it.

Other people avoid problems by distracting themselves. They do other things that take their minds away from the painful situation in front of them.

How many times have you faced an obstacle and procrastinated instead of confronting it? Procrastination is another very common reaction to a problem we don’t want to face.


To stop avoiding problems here are some solutions:

  1. Accept that there is a problem. Acknowledge it’s there. It can be painful, especially if it’s an emotional issue, but you have to realize there’s something wrong and it needs your attention.
  2. Accept that you’re responsible for solving this problem—whether you caused it or not. Don’t waste a lot of time blaming other people or dwelling on how unfair it is. Realize you have to deal with this problem now.
  3. Don’t distract yourself with things that take your mind away from the issue.
  4. If you find yourself procrastinating, remind yourself that the longer you take to confront the problem, the worse it will get.

2. Know Why You’re Doing It

Many people are unable to keep pushing past obstacles in their way because they don’t have a strong reason to keep going. It’s important you know your “why.” Your “why” should be the driving force that motivates you to keep pushing, overcome obstacles, and achieve your goal.

Identify your “why.” Why should you work extremely hard to get past these obstacles to reach your goal? Why is this goal important to you?

When I got out of prison, I faced a lot of discrimination. I was denied a lot of jobs because of my felony drug manufacturing-related conviction. This was undoubtedly one of my biggest obstacles. I was very angry. I was angry at myself for getting arrested and going to prison. I was angry at the business world for discriminating against me when I was trying to do the right thing.

There were times when I felt like giving up. I thought about becoming a drug dealer again. Then, I thought about why it was important for me to get a job. I had a few “whys.” I knew I was capable of using my skills and talents to do good things in life. I didn’t want to go back to prison. I had to create a stable work history. I knew my best days were ahead of me if I just did the right thing.

Once I realized I had some strong reasons to keep pushing forward, I stayed the course. I went to interview after interview until I found people who were willing to hear my story and give me a chance. It took a long time, but it eventually worked. I was able to find some good, compassionate people who were willing to hire me.

Why is your goal important to you?

To keep moving forward when you face obstacles, make sure you have strong reasons to stay the course. Make sure your goals are aligned with your values. Make sure that the big goal is something you love—something worth fighting for.

3. Let Go of Past Expectations

There will be a lot of times in life when you’ll expect a good outcome, hit an obstacle, and then find that you’re going to have to create a new plan.


When I was in prison, my mom died. I was devastated because I didn’t get to see her, but I took some comfort in knowing my wife was there for me. When I was released, I’d live with her and start a new chapter of my life.

Later, my wife left me. Now, I had nowhere to go. I reached the lowest point of my life.

A few months later, I contacted a couple I knew and told them about my dilemma. They graciously agreed to let me live with them when I got out of prison. I stayed with them for almost 9 months. That experience strengthened our friendship and to this day, they are in my inner circle—they’re family.

They helped me rebuild my life. They were at my university graduation and helped me celebrate other milestones on my journey to redemption. We continue to help and support each other. I was able to let go of past expectations and make the best out of a disastrous situation.

Realize that life is oftentimes unfair. Know that things can and often will change. Accept that many things are out of your control. Let go of past expectations and work positively toward making the best of bad situations.

Revise your expectations when it’s necessary. When things change, pivot to a new plan to deal with the unexpected change in the best way possible. Just keep pushing forward.

Follow the wise words of John Wooden:

Things work out best for those who make the best out of how things work out.

4. Have a Positive Mindset

Have you ever tried to solve a problem with a negative attitude? It was most likely an uphill battle. You probably had a hard time thinking of solutions to the problem or believed you just couldn’t do it.


Having a positive mindset is one of the most important tools you can use to move past obstacles in your life. A positive attitude increases your confidence in your ability to overcome huge challenges. It keeps your mind open to new possibilities and ways of dealing with problems.

“A positive mind finds opportunity in everything. A negative mind finds fault in everything.” —Unknown

Negative thinking makes you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and afraid of taking action. On the other hand, positive thinking lowers your stress levels. It makes you more relaxed and ready to deal with problems.

It’s important to be “rationally positive,” which means you shouldn’t tell yourself you’ll be able to do everything flawlessly and everything will work out perfectly. Instead, realize you have the courage to face tough obstacles, the ability to adapt to unexpected events, and the perseverance to keep getting back up every time you get knocked down until you reach your goal.

As Robert Luongo said:

“It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. The only thing that matters is how many times you get up.”

5. Look at Obstacles as Opportunities

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” —Molière

I initially thought prison was a huge obstacle. I thought it would ruin my life. I didn’t think I’d be able to get a good job later because of my criminal record. I believed people would dislike me when they found out I had been to prison, and I didn’t think I had a future.

But when I started looking at prison as an opportunity to become a better, stronger, and smarter person, my life started to quickly change. I realized that prison was the reality check I needed. If I didn’t go to prison, I could’ve ended up dead, like many of my old friends.


Prison gave me the chance to think about the purpose of my life for the first time. It gave me time to think about how I needed to change myself and my life. It started me on a positive trajectory to keep pushing forward.

When you encounter an obstacle, determine how it can make you a better, stronger, and smarter person by asking yourself these questions:

  • What lessons is life trying to teach me right now?
  • How can I use this bad situation to achieve something great?

6. Take Action

Once you’ve accepted that there’s a problem and you have to solve it, you have to take action. This sounds simple, but many people fail to get started because they don’t have an adequate action plan.

To create an action plan:

  1. List all of your options and the costs and benefits of each one. Find the best options and eliminate others.
  2. Determine how long it will take and when you need to finish.
  3. List the actions you need to take, from the first step to the last.
  4. Make sure you have the proper resources to complete the action plan (time, people, money, technology, etc.).
  5. Begin executing the plan.

Once you take action, don’t stop. Keep the momentum going. Keep pushing forward until you reach your goals.

Final Thoughts

We must develop a positive mindset and see obstacles as opportunities instead of roadblocks. When we see challenges from this perspective, we learn, grow, and develop new skills and insights. We become smarter, stronger, and better able to tackle the challenges we’ll face in the future.

When things get rough, our automatic response may be to avoid or minimize the obstacles in front of us. We have to fully acknowledge problems and know we have what it takes to overcome them. And we have to know that all of our hard work and sacrifices are for a worthy cause.

More Tips on How To Push Forward in Life

Featured photo credit: Jonathan Chng via

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Charles Amemiya

Speaker, life/business coach, social responsibility advocate and technical writer.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2021

8 Things to Remember When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

8 Things to Remember When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of life. Everyone occasionally feels overwhelmed by expectations, responsibilities, and a lack of time. However, dwelling on feelings of overwhelm and letting them knock you off course can be detrimental to both your mental health and your productivity.

If you find yourself saying “I’m overwhelmed” or feeling stuck with more than you can handle, here are 8 things to keep in mind to help you get through it.

1. These Emotions Are Natural

In the scope of the Earth’s history, human emotions are a fairly recent development. It’s no wonder we haven’t learned to peacefully coexist with them and end up fighting them on a daily basis.

It can often feel like these feelings should be easy to overcome, but feeling overwhelmed is a natural response to having too many things going on at once. It’s your mind’s way of telling you that you need to slow down if you want to live a healthier life.

Recognizing that overwhelm is your body’s way of trying to help you through difficult times can help shift the relationship you have with this emotion. Once you recognize it for what it is and invite it in without fighting it, you can begin to work with it to improve your feelings in a healthy way.

2. It’s a Breakdown of Thoughts, Not of Life

Our minds are powerful things, and feeling overwhelmed can feel like the end of life as we know it. In the book, As a Man ThinkethJames Allen says:


“As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”

We have the power to manage our thoughts, and as a result, manage who we are and who we will grow to be. This involves making our mental and physical health a high priority.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your life isn’t falling apart—your thoughts are.

Take a minute to find and clean out all your self-deprecating, negative emotions and thoughts. As you do this, you will find yourself feeling refreshed and invigorated with renewed energy to take on the world.

3. Things Can Turn Around Quickly

Maybe you’re saying “I’m feeling overwhelmed” as you face a project at work and don’t think you have the energy or time to finish it. You start letting yourself play out every negative scenario resulting from a failed project.

Sitting on the couch and dwelling on these thoughts isn’t going to make anything better. In fact, it usually makes things worse.


Things seem to fall in place as you chip away at a project and come to realize it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Here’re some tips to get you to start taking action: Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

4. You’ve Felt This Way Before

Think about the last time you felt overwhelmed. How did you overcome it? In the end, was it really as bad as you thought?

If you don’t learn from past experiences, you’ll find yourself suffering from the same problems over and over. Successful people are the ones who understand that every experience, good or bad, is valuable.

Go to a quiet place, and take as long as you need to remember previous times in your life you felt this way and how you overcame it.

5. Your Problems May Not Be as Bad as You Think

The best way to find out how good you actually have it is to take a break from worrying about your own life and do something kind for someone in a worse spot than you.

Volunteering at a homeless shelter or orphanage can help put your problems into perspective, and that tight deadline may not seem so overwhelming. Furthermore, acts of kindness can produce oxytocin, which can help you feel better all around[1]. This is vital when you’re feeling overwhelmed.


6. It’s Easy to Keep Doing Nothing

Your situation changes quickly when you start doing something, but it’s always easier to continue doing nothing. The mind generally doesn’t react well to change and will do its best to help you keep doing what you’ve been doing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, that may mean it tries to make you do nothing.

Those who overcome their struggles quickly are the ones who never give up, even when they feel that all is lost. At times, it might feel like there is nothing you can do, but that is exactly when you need to do something.

How will you ever know for sure there was nothing you could do if you didn’t try? At the very least, you will find personal confidence in knowing that you did everything you could.

Grab the Boost Your Motivation Instantly Worksheet for free now, and find out what you can do immediately to regain your lost motivation and move forward.

7. Gratitude Can Help Immensely

In a world of people obsessed with putting their best self forward, it’s easy to feel like everyone has more than you.

Get that thought out of your head, and remember what you do have. Often, the things you have right now are things you were worried about having in the past. Don’t let an insatiable desire for more blind you from seeing and appreciating everything you have right now.


Gratitude can combat feelings of overwhelm by bringing you into the present, which will combat worries of the future. Once you’re in the now, you can focus on what you need to do to get past feeling overwhelmed and overcoming the many things coming at you at once.

If you don’t know what to do you’re overwhelmed, take some deep breaths and try to start a gratitude journal: How a Gratitude Journal and Positive Affirmations Can Change Your Life

8. People Want You to Succeed

Remember there are people in your life who want you succeed. Your life touches so many others, and there are people out there rooting for you.

These people are part of your support system, and you can turn to them each time you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can call them for a quick pep talk, invite them out for coffee if you need a break, or even ask them for help with your overwhelming list of things to do.

The Bottom Line

Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of life that comes from trying to always take on more than we should. This feeling is difficult to avoid in today’s world, but there are things you can do to reduce those feelings once they do arise. Remember the reminders above whenever you’re not sure how to move forward, and you’ll soon find yourself on the other side.

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Featured photo credit: nikko macaspac via


[1] Cedars Sinai: The Science of Kindness

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