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Navigating Roadblocks: 5 Strategies for Overcoming Inevitable Obstacles

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. Don’t turn around and give up if you run into a wall. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” — Michael Jordan

Life is about overcoming daily challenges.

Every day brings new obstacles and the ability to jump over these hurdles.

Have you ever set out to eat better, exercise regularly, sleep better, drink your 100 oz of water, etc only to have:

*a family member get sick

*an unexpected event at work that means you now have a larger workload

*the type of week (or month) where you can’t catch a break and one thing after another happens

*a kitchen appliance break

*unexpected company visiting

*a hospitalization or death in the family

*a crowded gym where the equipment you want is being used

*a full parking lot at the gym that deters you from even going in

Sound familiar?

To live a successful life, you must have consistent motivation to achieve your goals and get back up after you fail. Success with nutrition and fitness goals have to do with how your react when the inevitable obstacles occur. 

If you eat one meal that isn’t on track with your goals, does that turn into a full day of poor eating which turns into a week, month, year, etc? Or do you let it go and make a better choice at the next opportunity?

If you miss a workout or your workout wasn’t as intense as you had set out for it to be, do you skip your next workout due to lack of motivation or do you adjust and make the next workout better?

Here are five simple yet powerful tips to help you overcome the inevitable obstacles that may pop up when you are on your path to better health and wellness.

1.Break your challenge into smaller steps — Significant obstacles seem so overwhelming but if you break it down into smaller steps, it becomes more manageable. It can even give you a sense of accomplishment as you complete each ‘sub task’. We tend to over complicate things or overthink things, making what we face seem even worse. With this approach it will help simplify what needs to be done — and bring less drama while working through it.

Take action: If you currently walk 3000 steps per day but want to walk 10,000, start with a goal of 5,000. If you want to drink more water but you struggle to get more than 40oz in each day, aim for 48oz (just one more cup). If you are only exercising 1 day per week, aim for 2!

2. Maintain a Positive Mindset — This doesn’t mean to ‘rose color’ what is happening. When you come from a more optimistic view you are better able to see the solution and opportunities. You can also see a bigger picture and what the experience is bringing for you. Challenges are seen as opportunities for growth — and in looking at it through this view, you can become wiser and more resilient.’

Take action: An unexpected time away from your routine doesn’t have to be negative! If you have been consistently working out for 4-6 weeks, enjoy this break—your body needs it! But, if you are just starting your journey and working on being consistent, stay positive. A little bit of movement is better than none—try to go for a walk! Finding the best food choices for you at a restaurant while traveling is better than falling back into old habits that leave you full and uncomfortable. 

3. Be Persistent and Be Patient — Both of these are key when facing any obstacles. It might take some time for things to resolve. When it moves slower than we want, it’s easy to get impatient or discouraged which then adds unnecessary drama and additional stress. Have faith that all will work out, even if you aren’t sure exactly how that’s possible.

Take action: You’ve heard “trust the process”—this is part of it! Progress is never linear, partially thanks to these unexpected obstacles. Being persistent and continuing to do the best you can, giving yourself grace to “mess up” and learn and being patient will get you there. It is tempting to compare yourself to others and their progress but your journey is YOUR journey. Embrace it!

4. Reflect and Learn — When you overcome an obstacle, take time to reflect on how things went. What worked? What didn’t? What have you learned from the experience? How would you apply this to a future challenge? This is a great way to enhance your problem solving skills as well as prepare you to be more effective in the future.

Take action: Reflecting allows you to learn and make a plan for the next time an obstacle pops up. Reflecting also allows you to become empowered and take steps to stay on track instead of just giving up because life happened.

5. Seek Guidance and Support — Talk with someone who has experienced similar obstacles and get their guidance and insights. You might find strategies you hadn’t thought of from a fresh perspective. And sharing with someone helps you stay emotionally resilient as you relieve some stress during a tough time.

Take action: When you face an obstacle, no matter how small, you have likely heard a story of someone who overcame something similar. Consider any tips or tricks they may have shared to keep themselves on track and try to implement them into your situation, too!

What if… you saw challenges, setbacks and obstacles not as roadblocks but as stepping stones on your health and wellness journey?

When you apply the steps outlined above, what you face becomes an opportunity that you can navigate with resilience and confidence so you can emerge stronger afterwards.

Overcoming obstacles is an inevitable part of life and of your health and wellness journey. Life will happen. Obstacles will happen. Continue on and pursue your goals. You won’t regret it!

Kelly Sherman, MS, NC, CGP, CPT, is a licensed nutritionist specializing in empowering women to reclaim their health by cutting through misinformation and ditching the diet culture. She has a master’s degree in nutrition and is degreed in exercise science as well as a certified personal trainer. With over 20 years of experience in the field, she combines the best of both nutrition and exercise sciences to best help her clients reach their potential. To nourish is to flourish!


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