On the long road to achieving an important goal, there are bound to be obstacles. Physical hurdles, mental roadblocks, and outside influences can all contribute to delays, straying from your path, or even giving up a goal altogether.

It’s rare to have a plan in which everything falls naturally into place, where it’s smooth sailing the whole way through. Bumps in the road are inevitable.

So how do we stay the course and make it all the way through to the finish line?

Define your vision
In order to remain on track and stay on course all the way to the end, you need to create a clear-cut vision for yourself. What do you hope to achieve? What is the endgame? You need to clearly define the goal and outline the path you will take to get there. Ensure that your plan and the stages you have constructed are achievable in the timeframe you have laid out or you will add unnecessary stress to your plate as you struggle to keep up. A well thought out plan broken down into reasonable steps will increase the odds that you will reach the end.

Set a schedule – and stick to it
Do something every day, or on a regular and frequent timetable, that helps you get closer to realizing your goal. Pick a schedule with a consistent time each day that works for you and stick to it. Be disciplined even when you don’t feel like it, even when it’s hard. A schedule will take the decision of what to do and when to do it out of your hands, and ensures that you keep making progress so your project doesn’t stagnate.

Stop the negative self-talk
I can’t do this. I’m a failure. There is no way I’m ever going to make it. I’m useless. When we tell ourselves these negative statements about our character and our capabilities, we are sabotaging our mental well-being and leading ourselves towards depression and heightened anxiety. Badmouthing ourselves and replaying negative thoughts over and over again doesn’t change the past, it only robs us of our current happiness and may cause us to give up on our dreams before they are realized. Shift your thinking and force yourself to say positive things to yourself. I can do this. I will make it. I will be successful. Repeat it to yourself enough times and you will eventually start to believe it.

Take it one step at a time
A goal that takes many steps and a lot of time to complete can be daunting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the enormity of the task ahead of us sometimes. Fear and self-doubt can cause us to freeze, slowing or even halting our progress. It becomes hard to focus because we don’t know where to begin. When a project feels to big to handle we need to break it down and focus on completing small, manageable chunks, one step at a time. A bunch of small tasks are easier than one enormous job. As you complete each small piece, your confidence will increase and you will become ever closer to reaching your goal without even realizing it.

Build a support network
In order to persevere to the very end, you need to surround yourself with positive people. Build a strong network of those who are supportive of your venture, who will pitch in to help you achieve it or just be your own personal cheering section. Ignore those who offer non-constructive criticism or try to impede your efforts. Having a group of encouraging, friendly faces in your corner will motivate you to keep working hard and stay focused on the end result.

Accept mistakes and failures as part of the process
You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fail once, twice, maybe more. It’s inevitable that things won’t always work the first time, and it’s not because there’s something wrong with you or you’re not capable. Everyone falls down at one point or another. Failure is a part of the process. Mistakes help us grow. If something doesn’t work, you must accept it, brush yourself off, and try again. Try it a different way. Change your perspective and look at it from a different angle. Take it as a learning experience. Be flexible, and channel your frustration into determination to find the correct path.

Choosing to do something important and sticking to it despite obstacles and criticism that others may throw at you takes self-discipline and a lot of courage. Stay positive and be persistent. You are strong enough to stay on this path. Believe in yourself. Have faith that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how long the road or how hard it will be, ultimately you will find your way to success.

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