The Negative Effects of Overcoming Obstacles

Ugh! I’m sure having a hard time staying motivated with all the obstacles in my way!  Overcoming obstacles can really mess up your ability to stay motivated to achieving goals. So often it seems the obstacles outweigh the desire to meet the goal.

However, we often don’t get to decide if we really want to meet the goal. Many times is just part of our daily job. We have to accomplish that day’s work and there’s not such a huge reward that offsets the hassle of the obstacles.

Those are little goals – getting through each day, making sure things get done and aren’t left behind.

It’s hard to talk about meeting goals without addressing motivation. Motivation is the mental energy thing that keeps us going. When overcoming obstacles, motivation is key. Or so we think.

Overcoming Obstacles Questions

Where do we put our emphasis, on the goal or the obstacle?

Does the goal or the obstacle require more motivation?

How do we create the motivation?

How can we stay motivated when our goal is pretty mundane?

These are all questions we should be asking ourselves at the beginning of the day. The answers may give a clue to overcoming obstacles.

How Seeing, Hearing and Feeling Can Keep Your Motivated

Let’s take the goal of cleaning our house. Actually, that is a verb, not a noun and a goal is a noun. So, let’s restate that – My goal is to have a clean house. That sounds much better and a lot less work!

Obviously, even though we’ve restated the goal, it does still require action to have a clean house. However,  I’m not faced with a goal that “feels” like work. Because of this, I don’t have the dread going into it.

Now, let’s think about what I have to do to “have a clean house”.

  1. I have to de-clutter.
  2. I have to dust
  3. I have vacuum
  4. I have to do the dishes

What’s keeping me from getting this done? I want to have a clean house but the idea of doing all these things are causing me to feel overwhelmed. All I can hear is myself telling me how, “It’s no big deal, just get up and do them.” Then I look around and it’s such a mess that I’m like “ugh!”

How do I motivate myself to reach my goal with this list of things I feel, hear and see? I am trying to motivate myself from drawing the negatives. I am assuming that by thinking about those things I will somehow be inspired. Yeah, maybe inspired to go to Starbucks!

Now, let’s flip that motivation.

Let’s make the motivation be the goal. The goal is, “I want a clean house”. Ahh, peace again.

How do I feel when I think of a clean house? I feel relaxed and calm.

What do I see when I think of a clean house? I see order, everything tidy, myself relaxing on the couch.

What do I hear when I think of a clean house? I hear the sounds of the birds and the trees outside.

Now, that’s more inspiring!

I want those things. I want to experience relaxing, calmness, order, nature sounds.

Of course, I still have to complete the things that must be done to achieve the goal of a clean house. But, now I can draw my inspiration and motivation from the positive effects of having a clean house. Overcoming obstacles does not even factor into the equation.

This is a big difference in how we experience motivation and, ultimately, life. Do we continue to be motivated by the negatives, the stick, or choose to be motivated by the positive, the carrot? (Zen Motivation at iNLPCenter.org)

This scenario was about a small daily goal. But, imagine applying it to larger goals that take more time to accomplish. Focusing on the negative motivation can really take its toll on you.

Asking yourself those simple questions about the obstacles and the goals will allow you to become clearer about where to seek your motivation.

Remember, the questions are simply –

  1. What do I see?
  2. What do I hear?
  3. What do I feel?

Answer those about each, then decide for yourself which you’d rather have your motivation be.


The concept of seeing, hearing and feeling as a way to understand yourself is taken from the NLP concept of VAK. VAK represents visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. When we acknowledge all three in each experience we are having, we can better understand ourselves better. VAK is very interesting and can really change your life!

You can also use VAK to learn how to stop making bad choices and learn good decision strategies skills. These are great resource articles for VAK.

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