Stating the Obvious: How to Overcome Hurdles


What I am about to write might seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be said. Let’s say you have trouble getting started on a blog post, getting it together to go to the gym or getting ready to go to bed, which is my problem. What do you do?

The first step is to identify the hurdle you are facing. With blogging, the hurdle could be as simple as being lazy about turning on your computer or setting up your laptop. Once you identify your hurdle, you can take steps to overcome it. If your hurdle is getting your computer ready, you can set it up a couple of hours before you want to write or the night before, so you have no excuses and nothing to slow you down.

With exercising, the hurdle could be not wanting to change from street clothing to exercise clothing. You might be perfectly willing to exercise or interested in exercising, but too tired to make the transition. Once you identify your hurdle, you can take steps to overcome it. If you know you have trouble shifting gears to get ready for the gym, you can take steps to smooth the transition. You can set your exercise clothing and sneakers out and pack your bag for the gym in advance. When the time comes for you to exercise, you will have fewer hurdles to prevent you from going, since everything is already set up and ready.

My personal hurdle might seem absurd. I have trouble getting ready for bed. When it is close to bedtime, I find myself falling asleep in my clothing on my bed or on the couch. I eventually get up and get ready for bed, but I stay up much later than I should—and for no good reason. What is holding me back from getting ready for bed? I am tired at the end of the day, and the steps I need to take to get ready for bed seem daunting to me, so I delay. You might be wondering what I do to get ready, but I can assure you it is nothing unusual. I change into my pajamas, floss and brush my teeth, take my vitamins, use eye drops and apply lip balm.

My hurdle is my process for getting ready for bed, which I consider lengthy, especially when I am tired. The solution to my problem is obvious, yet I’ve been struggling to get myself to bed for at least ten years. The solution is to do as much as I can before bedtime so that my bedtime ritual is simpler and shorter. I can put my pajamas on earlier in the evening and take my vitamins with dinner. As soon as I am done eating for the night, I can floss and brush my teeth. That will leave me only needing to use my eye drops and apply lip balm right before bed. That doesn’t seem so bad.

Sometimes it helps to state the obvious.



Unhealthy Competition–What is My Problem?


A woman I wanted to befriend rejected me. I found out that she moved to a big apartment, and I decided that I wanted to move too. Clearly, I do not deal well with rejection. See my post “Making Friends:  Understanding Rejection.”

I started looking at listings for bigger apartments. I showed my husband floor plans. I called a broker to set up an appointment to see the new apartments. I thought about how I was going to get my apartment ready to show for sale.

The crazy thing is that I love my apartment. I love it so much that as a claustrophobic person, I found a way to deal with the small elevator in my building. See my post “Adapting to Phobias:  A Claustrophobic Gets Stuck in an Elevator.” My husband and I both love our apartment. Before I found out that this woman had moved, we were talking about whether we should look for more space in the city now that we have a second child. We decided together that it was not worth the extra cost to move to a bigger apartment, which would come with a larger mortgage and higher maintenance. We decided that we preferred a lower overhead to a larger apartment.

I realized that I was the living, breathing definition of unhealthy competition. I started to think about the difference between healthy and unhealthy competition.

What is unhealthy competition? What is healthy competition?

Unhealthy competition happens when you compete with others for the wrong reasons. In my case, I was competing because I felt rejected. I felt bad that this woman did not want to be my friend, and I wanted a bigger apartment to show her that I was worthy of her friendship. One way to tell if you are engaging in unhealthy competition is to ask yourself if your motivation is consistent with your authentic self. In my case, I was acting contrary to my authentic self because my authentic self did not want to move. My interest in moving was stirred up by rejection, not by authentic feelings of wanting more space.

Healthy competition means competing with others in pursuit of a goal that is true to you. With healthy competition, your motivation has nothing to do with defeating a specific person or proving anything to anyone other than yourself. You have a goal that is yours and competing helps you to achieve your goal. I’ll use the sport of tennis as an example. When two players are in a match, they are competing, but the competition isn’t (or shouldn’t be) personal. The two players use (or should be using) competition to improve their individual games because they love tennis. Healthy competition happens when individuals compete to improve themselves or their skills. Healthy competition is not personal.

The world is a highly competitive place. My advice is to stay true to yourself and make sure you are competing for the right reasons.