“The best way to treat obstacles is to use them as stepping-stones. Laugh at them, tread on them, and let them lead you to something better.”
― Enid Blyton
What do you do next?
You’ve got your piece of paper with what you want most written on it. Now, what do you do with it?
Take out that piece of paper, and read it again. Make sure that it represents what you truly want and need most. Now we are going to identify some obstacles.
What do I mean by ‘obstacles’? For this instance, I mean anything that is standing in your way. There is likely to be an internal and an external component to this. If what you want most is to feel confident in your body then your external obstacles might be something like ‘Having other people tell me that I look better,’ or ‘Having a group of people to exercise with.’ Then there are your internal obstacles. These are a little harder to identify but are usually far more meaningful. These might be more along the lines of ‘I need to be validated by others in order to feel confident,’ or ‘I don’t exercise my self-control around food.’
Most external obstacles have a foundation in an internal obstacle. If the external obstacle is finding a gym you want to go to, that is probably connected with the internal obstacle of laziness.
Getting them down on paper
So, now it’s time to write down the obstacles to what is already written on your piece of paper. You will probably be able to identify numerous obstacles, go ahead and write them all down, get them out, go crazy. Once you start getting a few down you will most likely find that they come easier and easier.
Great! Now you’ve got an idea of what is standing in the way of you getting what is most important to you. Congratulations, you’ve officially done more than 90% of the people around you! From here, go ahead and mark the external obstacles with an ‘E’ next to them, and all of the internal obstacles with an ‘I’ next to them.
If you end up with no ‘I’ obstacles on your page go back and really take a critical look at yourself. If somebody else were to say what your internal obstacles are, what do you think they would say?
Looking at all of your ‘I’ obstacles, I want you to do something very difficult. Pick one word that signifies most or all of those. What is the one word that encapsulates those obstacles?
Take a deep breath, fold up your piece of paper, and let everything settle. You are done for the day. Take any negative emotions that might be lingering from this exercise and put them on hold for a moment. Reframe your current feeling as knowing that you are making the choice to stop running away from your obstacles. You are one of the few people who are willing to do the hard work to create a difference in your own life. It is almost never comfortable to look at how we are holding ourselves back, which is what those ‘I’ obstacles represent.
You are doing something about it, and that is awesome! Once you’ve had a little time to decide if you need to tweak anything on the list, go on to step three.