Barriers To Achieving Goals & How To Overcome Them

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Have you opened this blog post because you want to learn about the most common barriers to achieving goals and how to overcome them? 

If yes, then great, because I will show you everything you need to know in this free guide! 

Working towards goals is very challenging for all of us.

They sometimes force you to get out of your comfort zone, develop new habits, suck up all your time, and more.

But you can only reach new heights in your life if you are willing to put in the work. 

And I’m betting that since you’re here reading this blog post, you’re ready to make your dream life a reality! 

Well, one of the top secrets to achieving your goals is understanding how to overcome any barriers you may encounter while attempting to achieve goals.

Being able to anticipate what obstacles might hold you back from achieving your specific goals can be even more beneficial! 

Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

how to set goals and achieve them

Barriers to Achieving Goals: Overview

Here are the most common barriers to achieve goals:

  • 1. Internal barriers
  • 2. Comfort zone
  • 3. External pressure
  • 4. Setting overly ambitious goals
  • 5. Setting too many goals
  • 6. Time management challenges
  • 7. Poor habits
  • 8. Surrounding yourself with negative people

I will go into more detail further below.

Learning To Work With Barriers To Reaching Goals

It’s great that you have set a goal and are in good faith of achieving it. However, you need to know about the barriers and how to work with them.

Ignoring barriers won’t get you anywhere.

1. Facing Your Barriers

Firstly, anticipating barriers in achieving your goals can help you prepare to face them in advance.

For some people, that could mean planning alternate approaches, while others might work on their mindset so they don’t become discouraged by barriers. 

2. Predicting Your Barriers

Predicting obstacles in advance can also help you keep your momentum going.

Almost nothing is worse than making some progress toward a goal only to be completely distracted when an unexpected challenge comes up. 

(And I can guarantee that will happen early on in your journey!)

3. Being Aware Of Your Barriers

Lastly, being aware of the most common goal achievement barriers, not only for yourself but for other people, too, will help you better recognize when you are experiencing them.

Living in denial that you’ve encountered a barrier will not help you achieve your goal! 

All in all, being proactive about what barriers you might face while working toward your goals will set you up for much better success. 

Now you might be wondering, what potential barriers to achieving goals should you be on the lookout for?

obstacles that prevent reaching goals

8 Potential Barriers To Achieving Goals

Wondering, what could be the possible barriers in achieving your personal goals?

Sadly, there are many potential obstacles to achieving goals. And you might encounter one of them, or you might encounter many of them.

But don’t let this discourage you! 

Instead, focus on the benefits I discussed above.

If you’re prepared for these common barriers and most common obstacles, you’ll be much better equipped to stay the course and achieve your goals!

So, without further ado, here are eight potential obstacles in achieving goals.

#1 – Internal Barriers

If you’re anything like me (and most of humanity, for that matter), you likely want to blame your struggles on things external to you or completely out of your control.

But one of the biggest reasons people struggle to achieve their goals is due to their own internal barriers. These are things like:

  • Negative thoughts
  • Fear of failure
  • Memories of past failures
  • Perfectionism
  • Comparison to others (this is my biggest barrier . . . )
  • Distractions

All of the above can contribute to making the journey toward achieving your goals much harder than it needs to be. 

The famous saying that we are all our own worst enemies comes from somewhere, and this could easily be one of those cases! 

Internal barriers are often the most difficult to spot.

You can’t always see what’s going on in your head, which is why it can be so beneficial to have an accountability partner or focus on doing mindset work in addition to your goals. 

Related: 115 Most Powerful Affirmations For Achieving Goals

#2 – Comfort Zone

Have you ever felt what you might describe as an internal discomfort or itch when you start to pursue your goals?

You can thank your subconscious for these feelings, as it will tend to raise objections when you step out of your comfort zone! 

When this happens, it’s easy to find yourself in a situation where you want to abandon your goal so you can stay in your comfort zone.

After all, you’re content, safe, and it’s all too familiar – why risk all that? 

Unfortunately, if you want to reach your goals and live your dream life, you must get used to stepping out of your comfort zone. 

It is helpful to learn how to identify when you’re staying in your comfort zone for the wrong reasons and have strategies in place to help you take those steps into the unknown. 

barriers in achieving goals

#3 – External Pressure

The next one of the obstacles to achieving goals is very common – for myself as well as everyone I talk to.

Whether you realize it or not, you have a lot of external pressure on you that might cause you to run into barriers with your goals. This can come from:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Mentors
  • Neighbors
  • Work colleagues
  • Community
  • And even random people

It might even boil down to societal pressure and expectations. But, no matter where it’s coming from, it’s one of the hardest things you deal with when pursuing your goals. 

People don’t always mean to put us down, but their words can still be incredibly damaging and cause us to doubt ourselves.

It can feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle of trying to prove yourself and your worth. 

If this happens to you, do the following:

  • Take a step back and re-connect with your goals
  • Permit yourself to be selfish about your goals
  • Don’t let anyone else’s opinion drown out your own

You have already taken a very important step by setting your goal. Don’t let anyone discourage you now.

Some people also get jealous at you being ambitious. Instead of cheering you on, they find ways to talk your goals down to prevent you from being successful.

Stay clear of them!

Now is the time to set boundaries and you might even have to cut contact with them. The ways to achieve goals are not always easy to walk on!

#4 – Setting Overly Ambitious Goals

Are you an all-or-nothing person? 

Do you like instant gratification? 

Do you want to get to the top of the mountain without doing the climb in between? 

If you answered yes to these questions, you should be wary of setting overly ambitious goals. (Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us!)

While it’s good to set challenging goals, they must be realistic. If your goals are too ambitious and you become overwhelmed or disappointed, you will likely abandon your goal, which isn’t what you want! 

Even if you didn’t answer yes to those questions, you should still be wary of setting overly ambitious goals.

It’s easier than you might think to underestimate how long it will take to reach a goal, and it’s worth being realistic about what you can achieve.

ways to achieve goals

#5 – Setting Too Many Goals

Even if your goals are specific and attainable, you may set too many goals simultaneously.

This can be a common barrier people struggle with, and they end up putting the blame on themselves for it.

If you’re spending time on tasks that aren’t related to your main goal, or you’re struggling to make any progress because you’re being pulled in many directions at once, then reassess and narrow your focus. 

The ability to prioritize is essential when achieving your goals.

By learning to identify which goals and tasks are more important, you’ll be able to dedicate your time and energy accordingly. That way you’ll be much more likely to make progress! 

#6 – Time Management Challenges

Speaking of spending time, this is another challenge many people encounter in pursuit of their goals. After all, most goals require you to spend time on them to make progress. 

If you’re struggling to make the progress you had hoped to make toward your goal, take some time to evaluate your time situation. You can ask yourself these questions. 

  • How much time do I need to accomplish this goal by my deadline?
  • How much time do I really have to commit to my goal?
  • Knowing these two things, do I have enough time to work on this goal at this projected timeline?
  • Can I put any other tasks or activities on the back burner to focus more on this goal? 

If you have enough time to work toward your goals but you’re not making any progress, now is a good time to implement some time-management strategies. 

#7 – Poor Habits

The next one of the possible obstacles in achieving goals is poor habits.

Most of your day consists of several habits stacked on each other.

You wake up, brush your teeth, get ready for the day, drive your kids to school, go to work, etc.

While some of these habits are positive, there’s also the possibility that some are the downfall when achieving your goals. 

First, implementing a new habit to replace a negative one is challenging. For some people, this might mean exercising for 45 minutes in the evening instead of watching television.

Or it’s getting into the habit of drinking water instead of coffee first thing in the morning.

More inspiration for new habits:

There is also the added challenge of getting so caught up in your normal day-to-day activities, a.k.a habits, that you don’t even notice you didn’t focus on your goals until the end of the day.

Both can be challenging, as our brains are hardwired to repeat these habits on autopilot. 

But don’t be discouraged – forming new positive habits with time and patience is possible. 

how to overcome obstacles in achieving goals

#8 – Surrounding Yourself With Negative People

Have you ever heard the saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? This is especially true when it comes to achieving your goals!

For example, I want you to think back to when you were going to do something to make some progress toward your goal, only to be discouraged or pulled away from it by someone close to you. 

Maybe you wanted to exercise, but your partner just wanted to watch T.V., so you joined them instead of going to the gym.

Or perhaps you wanted to work on a project, but your friends weren’t interested, and you decided to go out for drinks with them instead.

If this has happened to you, it’s okay! Because now that you know this might be a barrier for you, you can be conscious of it and find ways to work around it. 

Overcoming Barriers To Achieving Goals

So, how do you overcome these obstacles in achieving goals?

Now that you know the most common barriers to achieving goals, it’s time to start thinking about overcoming them. 

Understanding what obstacles and barriers might stand in your way to living your dream life is just one part of the equation.

Now you must find ways to break through them to keep pushing forward and progress on your journey! 

I will preface this by saying not every tip in this list will work for you. Finding what works best for you and your goals, lifestyle, and personality is key.

That being said, here are some of my favorite techniques for overcoming these common barriers! 

10 Ways To Overcoming Barriers to Achieving Goals

  • 1. Set SMART goals
  • 2. Focus on the small steps
  • 3. Have a strategic plan in place
  • 4. Reframe obstacles as learning opportunities
  • 5. Develop a new daily routine
  • 6. Make a vision board
  • 7. Surround yourself with like-minded people
  • 8. Track your progress
  • 9. Celebrate your progress & milestones
  • 10. Say goal affirmations

Tip #1 – Set SMART Goals

The first thing you can do to set yourself up for the best possible success with any goal you ever set for yourself is to make it a SMART goal.

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attainable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Time-bound

Many people pull back when they hear this term because it sounds like work. 

But if you take the time to set your goals this way, it will make the entire process of breaking through the barriers and achieving your goals much more manageable! 

barriers to reaching goals

Tip #2 – Focus On The Small Steps

The following practical thing you can do to overcome some of the abovementioned barriers is to break a bigger goal into several steps.

Honestly, even small goals can seem incredibly overwhelming! 

The benefits of breaking your goals up are numerous! 

For starters, your goals will seem manageable. It’s a lot easier to comprehend one task instead of twenty. 

Doing this will also make it much easier to track your progress, so you can celebrate your progress and keep yourself motivated while giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Setting monthly goals, for example, is a better option than trying to stick to a goal for 6 months in total. My blog post helps you with: how to set goals and achieve them.

If you find it hard to stay motivated and disciplined, check out these 100 self-discipline affirmations.

Tip #3 – Have A Strategic Plan In Place

You can overcome barriers to achieving goals by having a clear plan. 

Now, I am not saying you need to have everything planned out to the smallest detail or to have some complex plan mapped out.

It would be best to have a realistic plan outlining how you will get from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (where you want to be).

For example, if your goal is to lose 15 pounds in the next three months, you should have a plan outlining how you will do that. Will you focus on exercise? Is there a particular diet you want to try?

Be sure to also leave some room in your plan for flexibility. Otherwise you might get frustrated and overwhelmed.

overcoming obstacles

Tip #4 – Reframe Obstacles As Learning Opportunities

Another helpful tip is to reframe any obstacles you encounter as learning opportunities. 

Whenever something happens that you don’t expect or you run into a roadblock, take some time to reflect on what happened and think about how you can learn from it.

You may have discovered that something isn’t working as you thought, so now you can try a different approach. Or something unexpected happened that could help you in the long term. 

No matter what happens, look for the silver lining and use this experience to build yourself up and confidently move forward! 

Tip #5 – Develop A New Daily Routine

As mentioned in the habit section above, our daily habits shape our lives.

That’s why it can be so helpful to develop a new daily routine that supports your goals and makes them feel more achievable. 

It could be as simple as blocking off an hour of your day to work on your goal or giving yourself 30 minutes each night before bed to work on your new mindset and internal barriers. 

Sunday planning is also a great strategy for me to plan for a successful week ahead. You should try it! It’s highly effective.

The key is to create a routine that works for you and your lifestyle so that you can progress toward achieving your goals. 

And most important: you need to stay persistent with your new routine (learn about the importance of perseverance to achieve goals).

Tip #6 – Make A Vision Board

You know those vision boards you see all over the internet? They are incredibly helpful when it comes to breaking through barriers and achieving your goals! 

Make a vision board with pictures, words, or goal reaching affirmations that represent the goal you’re aiming for. It could be a career change, a new habit you want to develop, or something else entirely. 

barriers to achieve goals

Tip #7 – Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People

Having positive, like-minded people in your life can be incredibly encouraging and inspiring. They are also more likely to understand and support you on your journey. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to ditch all of your friends who don’t share your goals, but finding a few people who understand your mission and can help encourage you. This could be:

  • A mentor
  • A coach
  • Someone from an online community (try Facebook & Meetup groups)

You can contact them when times get tough. 

No matter what, having a support system will make pushing through and achieving your goals much more enjoyable. 

A quick tip (that works well for me): you don’t need to tell every friend or family member what goal you’re working towards! This takes the pressure off of having to constantly update them on the progress.

Share only certain things with certain people. Not everyone needs to know everything of you.

Tip #8 – Track Your Progress

There will be tough times in pursuing your goal; that’s just a given. So, you have to find creative ways to keep yourself motivated. 

One of my favorite ways to do this is by tracking your progress. You can do this by:

  • Keeping a journal
  • Writing down how you feel after each day of working on your goal
  • Charting your progress with a visual representation

Whatever you choose to do, tracking your progress will help you stay motivated and give you a clearer picture of how far you’ve come on your journey! 

Be sure to check out this post, if you’d like to know whether a bullet journal or a planner is the right option for you to plan your goals and track your progress.

overcoming barriers to achieving goals

Tip #9 – Celebrate Your Progress & Milestones

It’s also crucial that you celebrate your progress and milestone. You are breaking through barriers, after all! 

It doesn’t have to be anything significant; it could just mean setting aside a few minutes daily to think about all the progress you have made and give yourself a pat on the back. 

You could also treat yourself to something special when you hit a milestone. It could be something small like a cup of coffee or something more extensive like a movie night with friends. 

Or a little gift for yourself! Something that you have been eyeing off for a while.

Some self-care ideas to treat yourself:

No matter what it is, make sure you take the time to recognize your hard work and celebrate your progress!

ways to achieve goals

Tip #10 – Say Goal Affirmations

Finally, you must always be working on your mindset. After all, nothing is more discouraging than having a subconscious mind constantly criticizing you and filled with doubt. 

That’s why practicing something called goal affirmations can be so helpful. 

Goal affirmations are positive statements that you can say to yourself every day. These affirmations should be specific and focus on the goal you are aiming for.

It is best to say affirmations that you believe. 

For example, you don’t want to say something like “I am a millionaire” if you’re not one right now.

Instead, say something like, “I am confident and capable of becoming a millionaire” or “I have the necessary skills and resources to become a millionaire.” 

Before You Go . . . Barriers To Achieving Goals

Before I finish this blog post, I want to assure you that no matter what possible obstacles in achieving goals you encounter, these tips will work with any goals!

And if you don’t have goals yet, keeping these tips in mind will help you focus on the important things that will help you overcome barriers to achieving goals. 

So, whether it’s new or old goals, personal goals, professional goals, financial goals, or health goals, these tips have your back! 

Remember these three pieces of good news. 

  1. Even though you will encounter barriers to achieving goals, knowing what they are in advance equips you to take action through them and achieve ultimate success! 
  2. Learning to navigate these barriers is a journey, but it’s truly the best way to make even your most significant goals a reality! 
  3. No matter what goals you are aiming for, breaking through barriers and achieving them is possible!

This might take some hard work, but you can do it! 

So, enjoy this journey you’re on to reach new heights and happy goal-setting!

FAQs to Barriers to Achieving Goals

What Is The Main Factor In Not Achieving Success?

Wondering what is the main factor in not achieving success? This is because you haven’t defined what success looks like for you. You need to set a specific goal and make a plan on how to reach your goal.

What Are The 4 Reasons Why We Don’t Succeed?

Are you asking yourself what are the 4 reasons why we don’t succeed? Not being successful can be due to:

  • Making excuses
  • Not being disciplined enough
  • Surrounding yourself with the wrong people
  • Getting distracted

What Is The Hardest Part Of Success?

So, what is the hardest part of success? Success doesn’t just come to you. You need to consistently put in the work and stick at it. Your success won’t stay forever if you start to become lazy again.

Barriers To Achieving Goals

About The Author Of Barriers To Achieving Goals

Saskia is a mom, blogger, and freelance writer. She loves sharing tips on self-care, personal growth, and productivity & organization. Find out more about her or get in touch with her here.

barriers to achieving goals

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