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How to get over roadblocks in your life

A registered psychologist shares advice.
November 8, 2021 9:27 a.m. EST

Do you find yourself getting frustrated because you're unable to reach your goals? Maybe you’ve been working for months or years and seem to be making very little progress. You might be tempted to give up, but perhaps all you need is a nudge in the right direction. Roadblocks in life are more common than you think and can happen at any time, for any reason. Here are six simple and attainable tips on how to get over that bump in the road. 

Getting over it vs. working through it

When we use this kind of negative language, we can sometimes end up punishing ourselves for not getting on with our lives. If we look at the roadblock as an opportunity to work through, it provides us with the room to navigate the ups and downs without feeling bound by guilt or self-resentment. The reality is that to make progress, it's important to come to terms with the fact that the path you were previously on is probably no longer an option. You can choose to focus on the negatives or seek out the positives in preparation to find a more suitable solution. 

Recognize the roadblock as an opportunity for growth 

When adversity hits, you can choose to get angry and stagnate or you can choose to recognize adversity as an opportunity to expand your personal or professional skills. Every time you overcome an obstacle, you’re that much more prepared to handle future challenges.

Explore your purpose 

Your life purpose is not just your job, your responsibilities, or your goals—it's what makes you feel alive. You may need to change your life purpose if it no longer inspires you. Or, if you feel like you haven't had a purpose, this is a great time to define it. You can ask yourself the following questions as you consider your life purpose: 

  • What makes me happy?
  • What were my favourite things to do in the past?
  • What are my favourite things to do now?
  • When do I enjoy myself so much or become so committed to something that I lose track of time?
  • Who inspires me the most, and why?
  • What makes me feel good about myself?
  • What am I good at?

Engage others in the process

One of the best resources available to you is the advice of others. Consult with your colleagues and peers, read blogs and books, listen to podcasts. Find out what others who have faced similar situations have done. Talking to a variety of people provides you with viewpoints you never even considered before.  The new path might be right in front of you but, for one reason or another, you may not have seen it.  You may just need someone else to point it out and then you can move forward.

Remain optimistic about finding a solution

If your first solution doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged as you may have to go through many before you can find one that works for you. This is all part of the learning process, so don’t give up. Be careful not to blame someone else or slip back into negative self-defeating thought patterns.  Perseverance is key to moving forward and being one step closer to working through your roadblocks. 

Consider talking to a professional 

If you find that you're unable to change unhealthy thought patterns, consider consulting a mental health provider to help you figure out why you are stuck, and to find ways to get unstuck. Having professional support as you work to change long-established thinking patterns can be tremendously helpful. Sometimes asking for help can be the most hopeful and powerful step you can take.

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