How to Overcome the Top 5 Obstacles to Goal Achievement

By Christine Harrington

Are you scratching your head right now because you’ve already blown your goals for the new year? Is this a repeat from last year, and the year before, and…I’ll stop right there. For most of us, the answer is probably a resounding YES!

Why do we allow this to happen? Why do we commit to goals every year – yet can’t seem to get halfway through January without caving?

You’ve heard the saying: The bigger the why, the bigger the try. And I can hear you say: “I believe my ‘why’ is big, Christine” So, what happened to the try? Why did you cave? Again?

Here’s a list of the most common obstacles to goal achievement, plus tips to get yourself out of these unhealthy patterns.

Obstacle #1: Procrastination

Do you give yourself a back door as a way out? See if this sounds familiar: “I blew it this month, but I’ll make up for it next month!” (How many times has that happened? Be honest!)

Did you ever make it up the following month? I doubt it. Stop telling yourself that story.

Stop doing what you want to do and start doing what you have committed todo. Winston Churchill said it best: “It’s no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”

Obstacle #2: No urgency to your timeline

To complete goals, we need a sense of urgency. If you give yourself too much time, there’s a chance you might feel comfortable coasting or not working as hard.

How do you combat this? Shorten the timeline. Give yourself 10 months to complete your yearly goals – especially if you are in the sales profession. This shortened timeline will begin to create a sense of urgency within your very being. Just stop and ponder what that means. Can you feel yourself get slightly anxious about shaving two months off your timeline?

If you have monthly goals, then set your timeline at three weeks to accomplish your goals instead of four weeks. It puts a different spin on the meaning of now, doesn’t it?

Obstacle #3: Your internal blocks

Many times, when analyzing obstacles, people usually look at external obstacles, such as not getting past the gatekeeper or not discovering all the buyer’s issues. Rarely do salespeople consider the internal obstacles, like self-defeating thoughts (which can lead to procrastination or a limiting belief that too much follow-up means you’re a pesky salesperson).

When setting goals, think about obstacles that stand in your way, both externally and internally.

  1. Make a list of both external and internal obstacles.
  2. Describe the obstacle in detail.
  3. Come up with a plan to eliminate the obstacles.

Obstacle #4: Lack of self-improvement habits

What steps do you need to take in self-improvement to succeed? Be completely honest with yourself:


  • How good are you at follow-up with prospects and customers?
  • Do you really know the ins and outs of writing a killer email that people want to read and respond to?
  • When was the last time you studied sales from different perspectives and from different thought leaders?
  • What was the last book you read about selling?
  • Do you read (at minimum) one book a month?


Make a list of the areas where you need improvement, both professionally and personally. Usually, what you improve upon personally will have an unintended consequence of helping you professionally – and vice versa. Sales is a journey, not a quick trip around the block (that’s my tagline). The journey of self-improvement is never over.

(At workshops, I ask the question: “Name the last sales book you read and when.” The norm is that one out of 10 people sitting in the workshop have cracked open a book in the past…wait for it…five years! I’m not kidding. Take your self-improvement very seriously.)

After you make the list, commit to a strategy of self-improvement for every item on the list.

Keep a journal in 2018 and reflect upon your journey. At the end of 2018, review the journal and see just how far you’ve come! The evidence will be in your goal achievements and the successes you’ve recorded in your journal. Yes! Always record your successes!

Obstacle #5: No accountability partners  

Who can you be accountable to?

My business as a sales coach is booming, because I keep my clients accountable. When they succeed, I succeed, too. Frankly, if they were able to keep themselves accountable, there would be no need for me or the coaching profession.

You may be surprised to know I have an accountability partner as well. Research shows when people share their progress with others, it reinforces their commitment to their goals. It’s a psychological lift we all need. It’s the reason Mastermind groups are so popular.

Caution: Don’t pick a “yes” person. Pick someone who can tell you what you need to hear – not what you want to hear.

If you need an accountability partner or help with areas of self improvement for 2018, I invite you to schedule a free 20-minute session with me. Make 2018 your year!

Christine Harrington is The Savvy Sales Lady. She is a facilitator for Peak Performance Mindset workshops and a personal sales coach who helps sales professionals develop and improve their sales performance.

How to Make Success a Habit

By Jamie Crosbie

When you hear the term “a peak performance mindset,” you may naturally think about NFL football players, steely-eyed fighter pilots, nationally-known sales gurus, or the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Maybe it works for “them”…but they are gifted or talented stars, powerful, rich, or fill-in-the-blank – and you feel you have nothing in common with them.

While it is true that many successful athletes and top sales performers use mental techniques to boost their performance, like most skills, it can be learned. Here’s how.

Use Your Mind to Change Your Mind   

It is true that some people may be more initially gifted in one area or another. It is equally true, though, that they have simply practiced more. A person may be gifted in sports, for instance, but they are unlikely to move into professional status unless they couple that desire with practice. It is not just talent, but drive and relentless practice that move us forward.

Daytime television is famous for its love of makeover shows. Some fashion-challenged person is carefully made over, giving them a new look. They may have gone in wearing oversized tee shirts and baggy sweats, but they come out looking more like runway models. Think of developing a peak performance mindset as a mental makeover that changes your life – from the inside out.

Mental Pathways

Scientists exploring the depths of this changeability call it “neuroplasticity.” It means the structure of the mind is like plastic – more malleable than rigid, welded-in-place iron girders that cannot be changed. Many studies have consistently shown that reframing the way you think about circumstances and challenges activates new neural connections. As it turns out, neurons form cerebral shortcuts, building stronger and stronger connection the more often they are used, until they become the default setting.

In a way, they are like rabbit trails; the more times you mentally walk through a given scenario, the more tramped down the path becomes – and the more likely you are to use that path again. It does take effort at first, but, as you learn the skills, it becomes easier and easier to change the way you process information and respond.

The Power of Not Yet versus a Final Grade of F

In one study, described in The New York Times, many students in the Harlem school districts consistently saw poor grades in many areas. At first, some children in the program were so unfocused they were unable to even hold a pencil correctly. After mindset training, however, they were able to see challenges not as dead ends or failures but as a progression to something more.

This is more than a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full mindset; it is a realization that the glass is, and always will be, refillable.

They were taught that setbacks and failure were more like speed bumps than actual failure. When, for instance, seniors who were required to pass certain tests and classes were given a “not yet” grade rather than an “F,” they were able to repair bad grades with tests; they progressed faster. The results? The very same students who could not hold a pencil, much less read, started breaking academic records as they grew – scoring higher and higher in national and state tests, moving past the 95th percentile.

As a sales professional, you know you sometimes have to grind through a tsunami of contacts, searching over and over until you hit the sweet spot and clinch the sale. Afterwards, the same treadmill starts up again, and you move through the entire process again. Successful salespeople accept this as part of the process.

They know it really is a numbers game and that you may have to knock on 1,000 doors before winning the prize. Or, fate may seem to take a liking to you, and you need to knock only on 100 before hitting a career-making hot-streak. Either way, seeing challenges as a launch point rather than an endpoint can help you push through the down times. You have to be willing to reframe things so failure is merely a “not yet” rather than a permanent failing grade. When you can do that, you develop success as a habit.

Jamie Crosbie is CEO and founder of ProActivate, LLC, and has 20 years of experience in sales leadership and the talent acquisition industry. A certified Peak Performance Mindset trainer, Jamie helps companies of all sizes increase their sales productivity by training them to think – and therefore act – differently. Contact her today to learn more – or 214/720-9922.  

Seven Daily Habits to Quickly Crush Your Negative Thoughts

By Christine Harrington

The late, great Jim Rohn said: “Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.”

Jim was right. Motivation can sometimes be just  a bandage – a temporary solution. .

Just like you, I’ve been to the seminars where you leave feeling on top of the world, vowing to change. Then you arrive home – and reality hits you smack in the face. All that motivation to change is now shelved for another day.


Motivation doesn’t teach people one essential tool needed for lasting change. It’s just a quick sugar high that needs constant feeding to keep the high going. Positive thinking isn’t enough, either. It takes the right mindset and understanding of why thoughts go negative..automatically.

This is a very broad subject, and this article’s focus is solely on the initial steps you can take to make motivation and positive thinking stick in a permanent way.

Preparing Your Mind for Success

The first thing to do is address your daily habits. What daily habits do you practice to set your mind up for success?

First, notice I didn’t say set you up for success.Why the distinction? Because most people do not intentionally pay attention to their thoughts. The 60,000 thoughts competing for attention every day? They mostly run in the background of your mind. Usually what gets your attention are thoughts of fear, anxiety, and condemnation. As you’ve been taught, when these thoughts enter your consciousness, you either dismiss the thoughts immediately or launch into your positive affirmations – repeating the chant over and over in a rote process. Sound familiar?

Neither dismissing nor positive rote chanting works. Maybe they will – for a few minutes – but, within less than an hour, the negative thoughts, fear, and anxiety slowly return.

For most people, negative thoughts are automatic. I tell my clients they have ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) crawling around in their mind. (I wish I knew who coined the term “ANTs” to give them credit for such a wonderful visual of negative thinking habits.) You know this kind of person…you’re excited about something positive that occurred in your life, so you tell Negative Ned all about it. But you walk away wishing you’d kept your good news to yourself – because Negative Ned’s negative viewpoint poked holes through your good news.

Don’t waste your time trying to fix Negative Ned. Instead work on not letting Negative Ned, anybody else, or any other circumstance or situation bring you down.

That’s why it’s important to set up daily habits and to understand your Mindset Operating System.

Think of daily habits as your daily mental gym. Journaling is the gym. Each time you record your thoughts and reflect on your day, your mental muscle will begin to grow and strengthen.

WARNING: This daily habit is to raise your awareness; it isn’t an exercise in judging yourself.

Seven Essential Daily Habits

#1 – Goals: How can you benefit from a daily goal? Research shows when you state a goal and put it into writing, you have a far better chance of reaching your goal. If you have a yearly goal, (which can seem daunting) break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals. In your journal describe the progress you’re making and the obstacles that need a better solution.

#2 – Gratitude: Gratitude boosts happiness. There’s all kind of research that supports this. When you write about the gratitude you feel, you’ll be more joyous about life.

#3 – Victories: Do you recognize your victories? What about the small ones? Recording even the smallest victories is evidence of your wins. A year later, review your victories. It’s a clear vision of progress. So, no matter the size, record each victory.

#4 – Lessons Learned: Every day is an opportunity to recognize lessons. What lessons have you learned? Are there any that repeat? The new lessons learned are proof you’re improving your mindset. Track your learned experiences.

#5 – Happy Moments: Record what makes you happy. The more you’re aware of what makes you happy, the greater the chance of creating a happier life.

#6 – Learning Goals: Gerhard Gschwandtner says, “The road to learning runs parallel to the road to earning.” Become curious. Increase your passion for reading books. If you want to make more money, then begin self-education. Sign up for workshops, seminars, webinars. Don’t wait for your boss to send you; you take control of your career and life.

#7 – Action Idea: Productivity’s road is paved with ideas and creativity. Capture your new ideas every day in your journal. This will help you transform and grow your mindset.

Your goal this week is to look into your mind and record the Seven Essential Daily Habits. Notice how your awareness increases as the week progresses.

christineharringtonChristine Harrington is The Savvy Sales Lady. She is a facilitator for Peak Performance Mindset workshops and a personal sales coach who helps sales professionals develop and improve their sales performance.