• Ariana Friedlander

A Lifeline for Overcoming Obstacles

As I tried to make sense of this concerning news I recently heard, I continued searching for answers online. Every article I read said the same thing yet none of the information adequately assuaged my worries nor offered the insights I was hoping for.


Google recommended different search terms, which I repeatedly clicked. Twenty minutes had gone by and nothing had changed, other than my own sense of gloom. A feeling that fed my behavior - franticly clicking around the internet as though I was now doing something!


Meanwhile, there were things on my actual to-do list needing my time and attention. I glanced at the tasks I had planned to get done. But my mind was swirling in a sea of uncertainty, trying to find something I could grab hold of to give myself the sense of sure footing.


The lifeline I needed was not getting thrown to me via a differently worded search. It was a notice for a new Groove that popped up on my phone. "Taylor started a new Groove. Hop on the join" it prompted me.


So, I shifted gears, pulling myself out of the rabbit hole and back into the moment at hand. I connected with Taylor via video on the Groove App on my phone. For a few minutes, we each shared our goals for the Groove. Then the video ended while we worked individually for 50 minutes.


When we reconnected for the wrap-up conversation I felt a great sense of relief and accomplishment. Groove helped me pull myself out of the rabbit hole of endlessly searching online and back into the real work needing to be done.

When I wrote my plans for 2022, I named Groove as a tool for overcoming the exact obstacle I was facing. And it's proven to be quite an effective lifeline.

Anticipating and preparing for obstacles is an important part of crafting effective goals. Researcher, Gabriele Oettingen, found that positive thinking, in and of itself, is insufficient for turning big dreams into reality. One of the key features of the WOOP (Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan) goal-setting framework she developed is to imagine the Obstacles you will encounter and how you will overcome them.


One of the obstacles I tend to encounter is falling into counter productive rabbit holes. Instead of doing the task I set as a priority, I sometimes find myself veering off the road map. When this happens, a lot of time can pass doing counter productive things.


It's not that I always need to be doing something "productive." Through experience, I have learned the value of self-care. I have experienced the benefits of purposeful non-doing like going for a walk or sipping tea while looking out the window. The rabbit holes I might fall into are counter productive because they end up being an energy drain not an energy gain. They zap my abilities to perform on what matters most.


We all experience different obstacles to achieving our goals. Be it wasting time, getting distracted, barking up the wrong tree, failing to act entirely, waiting to have it all figured out before taking any steps, self-sabotage due to unrealistic expectations or simply the lack of belief in oneself. Each of these challenges are within us, which means we have the agency to reach out for a lifeline for overcoming such obstacles.


Jumping on a Groove is just one of my many strategies in these moments. What's more, it happens to be quite reliable. What lifelines do you reach for when you experience an obstacle to achieving your goals?


With the month of March upon us, now is a great time to reflect on the progress you've made so far in the New Year. How are your goals coming along? What have you learned so far? What obstacles have you encountered so far? What obstacles do you anticipate encountering? How will you set yourself up to overcome them?

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