Whether that’s simple domestic tasks that will make your tomorrow a nicer place to be, paperwork that needs acting upon to avoid problems further down the road or work on your goals where the outcome is much further away and somewhat unclear. But whatever it is you know you should be doing, a mental obstacle seems to stand in your way.
In fact, I am guilty of procrastinating on all the instances I’ve given above and here are some of the not-so-pleasing outcomes:
• I’ve failed to prepare laundry in good time and had to wear clothes that I’d rather not! (And no, that doesn’t mean that they were dirty, just that I had to choose something less appealing to wear!)
• I’ve failed to set up a direct debit with my bank which has resulted in a late payment and then a financial penalty too 🙁
• I’ve failed to meet my writing (and other) goal targets which has resulted in frustration and embarrassment for me when I’ve written up my monthly Progress Updates!
Of course I can point to any number of ‘reasons’ for my lack of action and could even say that it was because of obstacles that found their way into my life completely spontaneously and were the result of circumstances over which I had no control. For example, cancelled trains (I was late getting home from work and was too tired to put the washing machine on), a power cut (I couldn’t log on to the internet to set up the direct debit) and health issues (I had a cold and didn’t feel well enough to write) etc etc!
But the trouble is, even as I justify my reasons for not taking action, I know they are just my excuses and that I could have taken action sooner (why leave everything to the last minute?!). I’m also well aware that in the greater scheme of things, these impediments to action are miniscule. In fact, the more I look at life’s circumstances, the more I realise that obstacles are in fact the norm!
Recognising The Chief Obstacle
Of course, we all know this already. It’s just that we can’t be bothered, it’s just too boring or we deserve to be able to relax with the TV, our latest book (my distraction of choice), the internet (my other distraction of choice) or maybe socialising. And, yes, distractions are obstacles too!
So, if I’m to improve this situation then it’s time to accept the reality, which is, that whatever the obstacle, they are all defined by what I allow myself to become (lazy, whiny..) when faced with the impediment. I love this quote from Jack Paar…
Looking back, my life seems like one long obstacle race, with me as the chief obstacle.
Ha! This is so true! My life would run so much more smoothly if I would only get out of my own way and just get on with the things I know I should be doing!
But maybe this is failing to recognise that there are times when obstacles may feel insurmountable or where they become all-consuming. I believe this to be true also.
Sometimes the obstacles feel huge and, quite honestly, sometimes they have felt like more than I feel I can handle. At those times I become consumed by the problems and difficulties that have beset me and my goals have fallen by the wayside.
This must be a natural consequence I believe. Because whilst it’s ok to make light of the day-to-day challenges of late trains and unwashed laundry, real obstacles are those that consume most or all of our energy so that we have to reduce our commitments to absolute necessities in order to stay afloat.
During these times of difficulty and stress, I look out towards my goals, knowing that they represent a time in the future where my challenges will be lighter, because as we all know, ‘this too shall pass’ and the days will once again be brighter.
I think what I’m trying to say in this post is that there are indeed obstacles to progress, but, if we really, really want the object of our desire then we must not allow the inevitable set-backs to stop our progress indefinitely. Instead we must find the way that allows us to make progress, no matter how slow, and not feel guilty for doing so.
Because as Ralph Marston says:
There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.
Good luck and keep with the plan!