Congratulations for making it this far!!!
Hopefully at this point you/ we have defined concrete goals for ourselves and have defined what needs to be focused on to pursue our “balance” or peace. (If not, read that step first.) Now it’s time to move on to the “E” in the define method!
“E” = Eliminate Barriers (Past physical and psychological barriers).
Of all the steps in the DEFINE method this one may be the most difficult. However, at this point you have come this far and haven’t turned back so buckle down and get ready to dig deep!
When you look at the goal you defined (recall mine is balance) what barriers have you put into place that have prevented you from pursuing and achieving this goal up to this point?
Barriers can be physical or psychological. Physical barriers may be something along the lines of finances, time, transportation concerns, no computer or wifi, not even having the appropriate wardrobe…etc. Anything that you physically say you need in order to thoroughly pursue your goal.
Side note—–notice the words “you put into place” are highlighted? This is very intentional language! People tend to think that barriers are something that happen to them, however the hard truth is that most people use barriers as excuses to play it safe. If you are feeling anxious as you consider your goal, you are marching in the right direction! Barriers are generally used to reduce the anxiety. More about the relationship between barriers and anxiety to come!
Psychological barriers are more difficult to put our fingers on. These are belief systems or negative thoughts that we absolutely believe are true that prevent us from moving forward. This is when we might question if we deserve the goal we are pursuing, or if we are smart enough to get there, or if we are valued!
You know you are practicing them if you hear yourself say something along the lines of “nothing ever positive happens for me” or “if not for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all” or “I always get the short end of the stick.” These are negative thoughts based on negative beliefs about ourselves that once upon a time we created to protect ourselves! Get it? It’s so much easier to be stuck because we have bad luck then to live in the anxiety/discomfort of trying something new and potentially failing! Most of us are so afraid of failing and the misperceived social consequences of failing that we unconsciously develop systems to remain in place!
Is anyone uncomfortable yet?
Both physical and psychological barriers serve only one purpose.
TO KEEP US STUCK!
They are either a conscience or unconscious way of keeping people in their comfort zone! You may think…Hey being stuck is not in my comfort zone!!! But the truth is moving towards goals creates healthy anxiety that need to be pushed through. If we allow our barriers to stop us we are actively choosing to stay stuck! Mind blowing revelation right? This is the point of most resistance! Right now you are saying either “this woman is crazy” or “I can’t believe I’ve been doing this to myself for so long.”
I did warn you the the “E” in the define method would be the most difficult one! Eliminating barriers is a physical and psychological endeavor! It requires honesty and courage to accomplish. It also requires time. You may also not be able to do this one alone.
The place where these barriers derive is sensitive. It does not want to be revealed so simply thinking by yourself may produce some answers but not all. This is a great time to sit with a best friend, encouraging spouse, loving parent and safely inquire what they have seen or heard you say in the past about your goals and the obstacles that are in the way. Ask them what negative comments you have made about yourself in the past.
If you journal, now is the time to reread past entries. You have written your negative thoughts and barriers in there for years now!
Take your time with this step. The fact that you are here is awesome—–no need to try to barrel through. Whether it takes a day or a week to simply uncover what barriers you have put into place does not matter. What matters is that you identify them!
Once you identify them you can begin the step by step process of Eliminating them!
- Get that notebook or cell phone and reread the goal you have created.
- List the thoughts that come to mind that stop or has stopped you in your tracks.
- Time (I could talk forever about this one)
- “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
- “I’m not smart enough.”
- “I do not deserve________”
Its ok to be afraid of this work…be afraid but be honest! If you are frightened, uncomfortable, anxious right now, you are moving in the right direction!
*Bonus…if you are doing this with a loved one and have a goal of increasing social, you have already started to pursue your goal!