Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. Helen Keller

Overcoming obstacles is hard but wonderfully gratifying. Here’s how you can identify and tackle the most challenging and surprising obstacles.

If achieving goals were easy, everyone would do it quickly and without difficulty. Even if your vision is clear and you can articulate a detailed destiny, there are always obstacles in the path. It’s the joy and journey of clearing those obstacles that makes life rich, and helps people feel truly accomplished when they finally reach their pinnacle of success.

First, it helps to understand that obstacles come in three different flavors:

A. External Obstacles–These are obstacles outside of your control such as the economy, natural disasters, physical limitations, and the political climate.

B. Internal Obstacles–These obstacles are generally one-time issues but you have direct control over them, such as debt, cash flow, time availability, needed skills or talent.

C. Habitual Obstacles–These obstacles reflect how people get in their own way. They can only be removed with behavioral change.

To overcome obstacles business or personal, you must master these areas:

1. Embrace Self-Awareness

If you don’t see the obstacle or believe it’s a hindrance, you’ll never reach your goals, blaming everything and everyone but the person responsible. This is particularly obstructive to resolving Habitual Obstacles. The enemy is actually semi-conscious, daily rationalization that defeat what you are trying to accomplish. Once you admit that your own prioritization are misguided, you can make the necessary adjustments in your behavior.

2. Use Time to Your Advantage

This is most important with External Obstacles. You must learn to manage your impatience and be ready when the smoke clears. The harder the obstacle, the more time it will take to overcome. Set a preliminary schedule with clear milestones so you can track forward or backward progress. This way you’ll see the cumulative impact of miniscule change. With time comes momentum. And momentum is the best way to bust through big obstacles.

3. Commit to Focused Discipline

It’s easy to get distracted with the present. People are just that–busy! There is always a fire to put out or a new critical opportunity to distract you. True discipline is about making yourself emotionally commit time and effort to your benefit regardless of external factors. Make the obstacle the No. 1 priority and focus on it every day until it’s gone.

4. Engage Your Own Creativity

I like to create rhythm in my life so I can freely engage the creative part of my brain for problem solving. There’s no better place to apply expansive thinking than on issues holding you back. Take time to think things through and find creative solutions that bring fun and progress to the grind of obstacle removal.