Coaching Blog 40: What’s Really Stopping You ?


Dreams can be really hard. We all have them and, more than that, we all have the reasons why we can’t achieve them. We often tell ourselves that we can’t have what we want because A,B or C is in the way.

For me, time is often a factor. I don’t have time to do better than ‘this’, and so ‘this’ will have to do. (Which is OK, if I truly don’t have time, if I’ve rushed from client to contract to home, then clearly time is short; if I’ve flicked through Grazia, texted a few friends and eaten my weight in jelly babies, then it’s not.)

Identifying what’s stopping you from reaching your goals is important only if you then act on it. If you note it, ignore it but then repeat the same patterns, you’re wasting your time and don’t really want to change.

If you note it, want to do something about it but don’t know where to start, try this:

Divide a piece of paper into 3 columns,

  • write ‘What’s Stopping Me ?’ at the top of the first column
  • then write ‘Out of 10’ at the top of the second column
  • then write ‘Really ?’ at the top of the third.

Now for the thing you wish to change or tackle, fill in the first column with everything you can think of that’s stopping you. Write as many reasons as you can think of, no matter how ridiculous they may (at first) appear to be. (‘I’m not rich’; ‘I don’t speak Spanish’; ‘I’m too old’; ‘I’m married’; ‘I need a boat.’). Don’t question them or try to tidy them up, just write what comes into your mind. When you can’t think of any more reasons, leave the list for 30 minutes (have cup of tea or coffee, do something else) then have another try.

Next give each reason a score out of ten – 1 if you feel the reason you’ve given is just a smokescreen or excuse for you to do nothing; 10 if it’s really difficult and needs time / effort / resources.

Use the final column as a reality check; are the scores correct ? Have you given something a 10 and pretended that it’s a bigger obstacle than it really is ?

Now – this is the fun bit – go through each of the high scoring reasons and list what you have to do to address them. You already know what this is (find funding; sign up for evening classes; accept that you can’t change your age, but you can change your attitude to it ……… etc.) you just assumed you couldn’t do anything about it …………. which of course is a lie.

When you’ve tackled the highest scoring reasons, move to the next obstacles that did not score so highly and write an action plan for those. Slowly you will remove everything that’s stopping you and once you do that, you will be left with only one question:

When shall I start ?




*That’s a Snicker Bar to those of you under the age of 18

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