How to Overcome Obstacles to Achieve Your Goals

Whether you’re striving to reach a high-growth target or achieve any meaningful objective for your Martial Arts school or Fitness business, you’re bound to be faced with obstacles along the way that will put your success at risk. The attitude you have and the actions you take during these critical moments will ultimately determine your success or failure.

The good news is that if you have a goal — or even one that is provided to you — many experts believe you are already half way to achieving success. You will certainly never achieve the goals you never set, so at a minimum, you are ahead of the game if you have established your goals.

Before we tackle how to overcome obstacles, there’s one more critical item to address in addition to setting a goal: that is giving you a deadline for when you want to achieve it. Without a timeframe, you are allowing yourself unlimited and acceptable delays to hinder achieving the success you want as soon as possible. Once you have a meaningful and measurable goal and a date to achieve it, I can assure you that Mr. Murphy will see to it that you have your fair share of obstacles to overcome!!


Attitude is the single most important component to overcoming obstacles because your attitude shapes your actions. I find it helpful to focus on the reason the obstacle exists in the first place: you’re trying to achieve a meaningful, worthwhile goal. Controlling your attitude is not easy to do, especially when the pressure is on. “When I changed my attitude, I changed the way I thought about my business. Doing this not only transformed my company but it changed my life,” says Mike Parrella, Member Solutions Advisory Team Member, and CEO of iLoveKickboxing.com and Full Contact Online Marketing.

Another helpful tip to help shape attitude is to be aware of the vocabulary you use and what words mean to you personally. Obstacles are often referred to as “problems,” which for many people has a more negative connotation. Some people like to refer to obstacles as “challenges” which creates a mindset that it can be overcome using wit. If you feel that “problems” are solvable, go with that. Ask yourself what vocabulary puts you in the best mindset.

The worst attitude you can have is one fueled by fear as this can lead to inaction. We naturally fear the consequences of our actions; and when obstacles arise, no action can have even greater ramifications to your success. If no action is a viable solution, then recognize that “no action” is an actionable decision.

As I’ve stressed, you”ll find that taking the right actions to overcome obstacles will be far easier with the right attitude, and this includes where you focus your attention. Focus on the goal, not the obstacle. If your goal is to grow your Martial Arts school by 50 students by the end of 2012, focus and plan on that end goal. Be prepared for obstacles but don’t let them derail you.

The specific actions you take are largely dependent on the challenge facing you, but here is what I find helpful when obstacles arise:

  1. Identify the obstacle and verbalize why it is in your way. Sometimes this exercise identifies non-priority obstacles that can be put aside because they have little or no impact on achieving your goal by your deadline.
  2. Your mind likes questions, so ask yourself if there is a way to avoid the obstacle. Can you circumvent it by taking a different course of action but still stay on the path towards your goal.
  3. If not, ask yourself what are other options available to you to overcome the obstacle and write them down. This exercise replicates self-brainstorming. One idea can lead to another, which just might be your solution.
  4. Get help! Others can sometimes see solutions not so obvious to us.
  5. If you are still stuck, you may need to focus on an alternative route towards your goal. Let’s cycle back to attitude. Did you fail or did you learn a way that didn’t work and now you are smarter? Keep trying.

Joe Galea is the President of Member Solutions. Galea, one of Member Solutions’ founders, has been counseling Martial Arts school owners for over 20 years, and spends part of every day speaking with clients and industry leaders.