Obstacles to Our Goals


Obstacles are encountered every day of our lives, but what we do and how we react during these events will determine the outcomes of such events. Our reactions to these obstacles will determine if the situation becomes a minor annoyance to a major event. Over reacting to a small annoyance can magnify the issue and make larger than it actually is. These are the types of reactions that should be kept in check, what is an appropriate response to each obstacle that we encounter? Like many things the obstacle will determine the response.

Types of Negative Thinking


Negative thinking is the process of thinking negative rather than positive thoughts. Seemingly, positive thinking requires effort while negative thinking is uninvited and happens easily. 

A person who has been brought up in a happy and positive atmosphere, where people value success and self-improvement will have a much easier time thinking positively. One who was brought up in a poor or difficult situation will probably continue to expect difficulties and failure.

Negative thoughts center on the individual, others, and the future. Negative thinking causes problems such as depression, pessimism, and anxiety. Typical types of negative thinking are described below. 

Type of ThinkingAs the thinker, you:
OvergeneralizationMake a general universal rule from one isolated event
Global labelingAutomatically use disparaging labels to describe yourself
FilteringPay attention selectively to the negative, disregarding the positive
Polarized thinkingGroup things into absolute, black and white categories, assuming that you must be perfect or you are worthless
Self-blamePersistently blame yourself for things that may not be your fault
PersonalizationAssume that everything has something to do with you, negatively comparing yourself to everyone else
Mind readingFeel that people don’t like you or are angry with you, without any real evidence
Control fallaciesFeel that you have total responsibility for everybody and everything, or that you have no control as a helpless victim
Emotional reasoningBelieve that things are the way you feel about them

Case Study


The following case study will help participants analyze obstacles to a person’s ability to reach a goal.

Joe Smith has been a lawyer at Big City Law Firm for six years. He is a high performer, and has been told that he will be up for partner at the firm within the next twelve months.

Sue Smith has worked for five years as a financial analyst at Neighboring Town Manufacturing Company, receiving excellent performance reviews. She is well thought of by her peers and has willingly taken on some sticky special projects in the past two years.

Joe and Sue have two children, a boy in fifth grade at the local elementary school, and an eighth grade daughter at Magnet Junior High School in Big City. Sue has the major responsibility for the children’s transportation, extracurricular activities, and medical appointments.

When the accounting manager recently announced he was leaving the company to live a green life in Colorado, Sue was encouraged by the Chief Financial Officer to submit a job bid for the manager’s position.

Excited about the opportunity, Sue shared the news that evening with Joe. He said to her:

“How do you know you can perform that job with your experience?”

“Who will look after the kids while you’re stuck at work late into the evening solving last-minute accounting problems?”

“Don’t I make enough money to support this family without you having to be away from home, the kids, and me even more?”

Sue knows that Joe is the breadwinner, and she is reluctant to assert herself. Help Sue out by writing some assertive statements that she can make to Joe in support of her goal of gaining a promotion to manager.

Personal Application


We all have situations in our personal lives where the ability to be assertive helps us achieve our goals. Now we’ll each practice the opportunity to develop assertive responses. Standing up for yourself will translate into success throughout your personal and professional lives. It will help grow a person’s self-confidence, and make the challenges that we encounter every day that much more easily to overcome. 

Case Study

Every day, many of us face obstacles which appear whenever we try to fulfil our goals. Whether a person aims at getting a promotion of making a successful change in his life, there are certain tips which need to be kept in mind that have been designed to overcome obstacles. 

Maria was a pessimist woman who always thought that the world was working against her. Her negative thinking made her lose a lot of things. This continued to happen until Maria suddenly decided that perhaps the problem was her pessimism, so she tried her best to turn it into optimism. This way, her abilities of reaching a goal also improved after a bit of time. Maria began to tell others what to do and to take each new step with the belief that everything will turn out to be alright.