How to break through mental barriers
What’s stopping you from achieving your true potential or attaining your goals? We all have ideas of how we would like to improve our lives but very few of us actually set in motion the practical steps to improve our lot. Most just talk and never do.
Here are common things that get in the way and create obstacles to us achieving what we want:
Negative thoughts/limiting beliefs
We all have stuff that our minds tell us that stop us from moving forward. We think about everything that could possibly go wrong, we lack self belief and we experience fear. All of these ‘nonsense’ thoughts stop us and effectively remain as mental barriers to self actualisation.
2. Unrealistic goals
Goals are sometimes set that are unrealistic or too big for us to achieve. You may lack the skills, time, money, health or other resources to reach your goals.
3. Avoidance of discomfort
Often we are unwilling to make room in our lives for the discomfort a certain challenge will bring.
4. Losing direction
At times we lose our true selves and move away from our core values. When we lose touch with, or forget what is truly important or meaningful we can end up on the wrong path and be unable to reach our goals.
Write down everything that has stopped you from following through:
Now revisit your reasons and label them as one of the four reasons above. Was it a limiting belief (I will fail; I’ll do it later, I’m too weak) or was it unrealistic? (you lacked money, time etc).
Was it avoidance of discomfort? ie. you were unwilling to make room for the anxiety, frustration, fear of failure or other uncomfortable thoughts/feelings…or finally was it losing direction?
How to fix it:
Go through your barriers one by one and work out how you can deal with them. Name the story (the thoughts you are telling yourself), accept the thoughts are there and acknowledge them for what they are. – They are unhelpful and judgmental. Recognise the critical inner voice and simply let it pass – like cars passing on a highway.
Acceptance strategies: name the feeling, observe it like a curious scientist, rate it on a scale from 1 to 10, commit to allowing it, breathe into it, make room for it, give it a shape and a colour.
Realistic goal setting: If you lack skills, set new goals around learning them. If your goal is too big, break it down into small chunks. If you lack resources, brainstorm how you can get them; if you lack time, what are you willing to give up in order to make the time? If the goal is truly impossible eg. due to health or financial issues, or external barriers over which you have no direct influence, then set a different one.
Embracing values to find direction: connect with what matters to you about this goal. Is it truly meaningful? Is it aligned with your values? Is it truly important? Is it moving your life forward in a direction you wish to go?
Using these ideas, write down how you can respond to the barriers you have listed above.
Finally, ask yourself this question: Am I willing to make room for the difficult thoughts and feelings that show up without getting caught up or struggling with them, and take effective action in order to do what matters?
If so, go ahead and give it a go.
If not, consider these three questions:
- Does this really and truly matter to you?
- If it does, then what is the cost to you of avoiding it or putting it off?
- Would you rather have the vitality-draining pain of staying stuck, or the life-enhancing pain of moving forward??
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