No matter where you are in the journey to your goals, there will be obstacles. Planning for them is the best way to be able to work through them as they do show up.
If you’re like me, your plans seem to get interrupted as soon as you get going. I sit down to write an article and it never fails that something urgent comes through in the form of text or a family situation that I need to deal with. And so, I have to decide what is more important in that moment and plan when I’m going to come back to the thing in which I was doing.
When you set long term goals, it’s no different. You will very quickly run into challenges that you didn’t expect, it’s called life. One way to deal with them when they do show up is to plan ahead of time that they will happen.
These are 5 types of obstacles you will encounter along with some tips to overcome them.
1. Life changes
Long term goals are just that, long term. They could be 3 months, a year, 5 years or even longer. So especially if you are talking about implementing a new financial strategy, a move or starting a business, you will be at it for a long time.
Plan that life changes will come along. It could be a marriage (for you or someone close to you), job change, new addition to the family, moving, spiritual conviction, family or friend death or any number of other changes. They can quickly throw a wrench in your plans if you aren’t ready for them, and we obviously can’t plan for much that happens in life, so we need to be willing to roll with it.
When you have a major life change happen, learn to deal with it and move on. It might mean changing direction entirely or coming back to your goal in a different way. Do what you need to do but don’t get stuck on that moment and let it keep you from moving forward.
Know that you can’t control anything that happens in life, but you can control your reaction to the situation.
2. Money challenges
This is a big one for a lot of people. At some point, you’re going to need to invest in your dreams and you’ll need money to do so. Having a solid financial plan is paramount to being able to work toward your goals so don’t neglect it.
My first advice is to get out of debt if you have any. Then move on to doing a zero-based budget and start to plan for when you’ll need to invest. Investing comes in a lot of different ways from short term to retirement which we won’t go into here. But the point is that you will encounter money challenges on the path to your goals.
When my wife and I were digging out of debt, we hit snags often. But we had a solid plan and we cash flowed those issues to work around them as quick as possible. Don’t let finances stop you, but never borrow for your dream. That will only cause you harm in the long run when something else comes along to challenge your goals.
This is the most important part of my life so when something with family comes along, I stop what I’m doing and deal with it. It could be something as simple as taking a small break to play a game with my kids or as complext as a few years to figure out what type of life I really want (which I did from 2013 to 2018).
To be clear, I never recommend putting work before family. There are times when I have to work in spite of my family needing my attention, but I try to make it clear when I’ll be done with a project or even something small like writing an article. Then, I can give my attention to them. I’m not perfect at it, believe me, but I do try to prioritize how, when and why I work.
One great way to make sure you will be able to work toward your long term goals is to make sure your family is on board with them. My wife and I have outlined what we want our life to look like and so she knows there are sometimes when I will working more than others. We agree it needs to be done and so we both do our part to make it happen.
Plan with your family and there will be less stress in this area.
Generally speaking, difficulties will arise. It could be technology, communication, physical limitations or something else, but there will be hard places. You will need to decide when to push through and when to change course. Sometimes getting to your goal means going around an obstacle, not through it.
Plan that you’ll have hard spots to deal with and regardless of what they are, you’ll be able to find a new plan or action to get you past them. If you need help, seek counsel from others that have been through something similar. I have found that is the best place to start for many issues.
5. No support
Try as you might, someone will be unsupportive of what you are doing. If it’s your spouse, you should reconsider what you are doing and make your goals line up together. There is no replacement for that.
However, it could be other close friends or family that are being unsupportive and there are two possible ways they are doing so.
- They are jealous or unsupportive of your goals
- They see issues you haven’t planned for
For the first one, my suggestion is to not seek counsel or go to them for advice. They will be of zero help to you in this area and it’s rare that discussions about the topic will prove useful. Just accept that some people won’t get what you are doing or why.
The second point though, is a good one. I mentioned before to seek advice from people and this is one of those times. They could be trying to keep you from doing something stupid or wasting your time. Listen to their concern and see what they have to say. Maybe you take the advice, maybe not. But either way, it’s important to deal with this potential obstacle head on.
Push through anyway
If you have set any kind of goals in your life, you’ll quickly find that they don’t work the way you think they should. Using these tips, you can hopefully work through a lot of life’s obstacles and keep yourself on the track to success.
Regardless of what you face, know that you are not dealing with them alone. Every person that has done something great in life has had difficulties to deal with. Some are larger than others and some affect more people, but all are valid during the time.
Plan to deal with obstacles and you’ll be much better equipped for the journey that those that think all will be peachy the whole way through.