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Does making the positive changes you know you want and need in your life seem to take longer than it should? You know there’s something you gray stonewant to change – physically, emotionally, career-wise, or involving your education – but it seems that for every step forward, there are multiple steps back.

It’s frustrating and morale-damaging – and who needs that? Going after your positive and productive goals should be easier, right? Yes, we all know there is work to be done, and sometimes that work is going to take you out of your comfort zone, but does it ALWAYS have to be so dang hard?

If you feel challenged to achieve the desires of your heart and soul, you may be constructing false obstacles to your objectives.

When we do create false obstacles, we give all our power, attention, and energy to these imaginary ideas, making them more real than they truly are and giving them far too much influence over our lives.

In reality, this is simply a delay tactic – a way to avoid something that we’re afraid of. Remember the advice I gave you about fear in my post entitled “When The Call Chooses You” – to Face Everything and Rise?

To begin, how would you know if you were constructing false obstacles and giving away your power to them? Here are some ways this habit tends to manifest itself:


Perhaps you want someone to laugh with, to love, or to marry. But instead love neon signageof focusing on that goal, you decide that there are all these other things – not related to your desire for a real relationship – that have to be done first.

For example, maybe you want to get into better shape before you can meet someone, or lose another 20 lbs. Or maybe you need to get your finances in order and save a little money. Perhaps you “need” a better job before you can settle into that perfect relationship.

When I was dating my husband of nearly 30 years, one of the things holding him back was related to money – specifically, his desire to buy me a BIG engagement ring. He felt (and I love him for it) that I deserved a ring that would stop traffic, so to speak, and that also would speak to his ability to provide. Yep, I married a genuine “real man” who valued his manhood on his ability to provide for his family and give his wife the things he felt I deserved.

silver-colored ring with clear gemstone photoI tried to convince him that we didn’t need to wait that long – after all, I loved him, we wanted to be together, and I knew that a beautiful engagement ring didn’t necessarily guarantee a successful marriage. Factor in the truth of the matter that he was still on Active Duty with the U.S. Navy, and the pay rate for sailors wasn’t anywhere near what I thought a ring like the one he wanted to buy would cost, and I had to make a choice.

I convinced him that what I wanted was a stable, loving, long-term, committed relationship with someone that I knew I could trust, and whose kisses made my toes curl. TMI, I know, but he understood, and we got married sooner rather than later. Side note: I DID get the ring he felt I “deserved” within 2 years of getting married, and I had all those lovely days and weeks with him in the meantime.

All of these prerequisites – like the engagement ring my hubby wanted to buy – are creations of your mind. You can go about dating just fine without getting a new job first. When you’re looking for a lifelong partner, you want to be with someone who will love you whether you’re 20 lbs lighter or weigh just what you do right now. Don’t let those self-imposed blocks stop you from pursuing the life you want and deserve!

Social Life

Maybe you have the partner you want and that dream is well under control. Now, you’re longing for an exciting social life filled with fun, friends, and adventure. Getting out of the house on a regular basis seems like a great person performing heart hand gestureopportunity. So why don’t you? What’s holding you back?

Perhaps you haven’t felt able to let go of the less fulfilling social relationships you have now. Maybe you spend all your energy on the belief that you’re not interesting enough, and no one would want to be your friend. Are these ideas helping or hurting you? Are they getting you closer to creating and maintaining the social life you want?

You might even give all your attention to relationships you’ve formed online, or with TV characters on your favorite shows. Are these things part of your vision for your perfect social life? If not, why are you remaining stuck with them instead of taking a calculated risk and going for what you want?

Career & Business

Perhaps your social life and romantic partnership are just fine. Your goals now include career or business pursuits that are interesting and fulfilling, and fill you with a sense of accomplishment and pride. You want to make a significant difference in the world, and to feel excited, passionate, and motivated by your activities and where you’re spending your precious time and energy.

people sitting on chair with brown wooden tableBut instead, you’re staying at a job you dislike in order to make ends meet. It’s amazing how much power bills have over us when they’re just little pieces of paper with a few numbers typed on them. So many of us use our bills as an excuse not to find a career that we love. We devote our energy toward the belief that we can’t do what we want to do because we have bills to pay.

Imagine for a moment what your life would look like if, instead of focusing on bills, you spent your energy creating and executing a plan to create a career or launch a business that gave you everything you really want. Where would you be five years from now if you did this? Where will you be five years from now if you keep doing what you have been doing?

How to Stop Stalling Your Dreams and Goals and Start Living Into Them

So you’ve established that you do give away your power to obstacles you’ve created! Congratulations – because truly recognizing the challenge is the first step to conquering it. What do you do now?

First, determine what you’re afraid of. Tell yourself you can have green white and black round with red lineeverything you want, and mean it because you can. Be specific about your goal, then get quiet and listen for a negative answer inside of yourself. Often, this will manifest as, “But I can’t…” (I never, I won’t, there’s not enough…).”

Once you know what your “buts” are, you can assess your fears. “But nobody I really like would want to be friends with me,” is really you telling yourself, “I’m not good enough.” Get the idea? Instead of using your power to achieve your goals, you’ve been giving in to a false, negative belief that you don’t have what’s needed to accomplish what you want.

Now you have all the key information to keep from giving your power away. Next time you’re thinking about how much you want to achieve your goals, listen closely for that voice that says, “But…” Then, use your power to tell yourself the truth. You are good enough. You are skinny enough. You are lovable (responsible, capable, motivated, etc). Shout it out – make it loud enough for your mind to hear your voice saying the positive, affirmative words!

If you find that you have trouble talking back to the negative self-talk, there’s no shame in getting help. You can use a self-study program to help you tap into the power of affirmations, or you can look into enlisting professionals to help out.

Ultimately, your goal is to use your power to benefit you, not to tear yourself down inside. Even if you just take the steps given above and never do anything else, you’ll find yourself closer to reaching your goals than ever before. Give your power to the things that mean the most to you. A life spent in this manner brings fulfillment and success.

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About the Author Dianne Daniels

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently residing in Norwich, Connecticut, Dianne M. Daniels' mission is to empower women 50+ to Amplify their Self-Confidence, Deepen their Self-Knowledge, Inspire Creativity, and Glide into the next phase of their lives with the Power of Journaling, Affirmations, and Assessments.

You can learn how to use these time-tested, proven practices to create and manifest the life you want (and deserve) to live.

Dianne is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister with a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. She's an avid reader, a lover of old houses (she renovated an 1850s vintage Greek Revival home with her family) and has been journaling since the age of 9.

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