How to Overcome Challenges in Life 

 October 28, 2020

By  Marie

Are you facing a daunting obstacle and are unsure of how to even begin to face it?

Overcoming challenges can be overwhelming. The emotional shock and feeling of uncertainty can cause panic and anxiety. 

Understanding how to approach a challenge and put a clear plan in place is critical to set yourself up to achieve success.

Let's get into some of these strategies for overcoming challenges.

What does it mean to overcome a challenge?

Success in overcoming a challenge is unique to every situation and individual.

Challenges can range from devastating traumatic events to an embarrassing situation.

In general, overcoming a challenge involves feeling a sense of peace emotionally as well as accomplishing goals you’ve set out for yourself relating to the challenge.

The goals involved with overcoming a challenge can also range widely.

From mastering completely new skills sets to simply providing emotional support for a loved one.

Regardless of how big or small your challenge is, successfully overcoming it should involve a feeling of peace, accomplishment, and resolution.

Why is overcoming challenges important?

Overcoming challenges that you are faced with results in personal growth.

Through the process of overcoming challenges, individuals learn and develop new skill sets. 

These skill sets may be “soft skills”, such as communication and coping with emotions, or “hard skills”, such as technical skills acquired to transition in your career.

Once developed, these skills sets can then be applied to future challenges or goals in your life.

Typically, the most significant personal development occurs when an individual is faced with a challenge.

These situations force our hand to find new and creative ways to overcome obstacles.

Challenges can be very emotionally and physically difficult to overcome. But it is important to also remember that these challenges will develop you into a stronger and more resilient individual, with more to offer to the world.

So don’t give up when faced with a difficult challenges. 

Instead, try to employ some of the strategies below to help you overcome them.

The journey will be worth it.

Strategies to Use in Order to Overcome Challenges

The strategies you employ to tackle a challenge is most important.

Starting from dealing with the emotions to the steps you take to reach success.

Here are strategies that I have found to be most successful in hard times.

Come to terms with it

When first encountering a challenge, the initial response is a very wide range of emotions.

Shock, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness.

These feelings are entirely natural and normal.

But unfortunately, often times we are expected or even told to ignore our feelings. That’s not right.

In order to eventually be able to overcome a particular challenge, you must allow yourself to feel and process all of the emotions that come with the challenge.

When you first encounter a challenge, don’t focus on overcoming it. 

Instead, focus on absorbing all of the emotions you feel with yourself.

Cry. Yell. Give yourself time to be with your feelings. 

If you ignore your feelings and jump into “fix it” mode, you will crumble from the emotional pressure. 

Feelings that are not allowed to be felt, and aren’t reflected upon, fester inside until they overcome you.

Once the initial shock and emotions subside, begin reflecting on your feelings.

  • What scares you?
  • What upsets you?
  • What angers you?

Understanding your feelings is a critical step to eventually putting a plan in place and executing it to overcome a challenge.

It will allow you to prioritize what you have to do. It will provide you direction. 

Set goals

plan to overcome challenges

Once you have come to terms with your feelings, and understand them, it’s time to put a plan in place.

What does “success” in overcoming this challenge look like?

What do you need to accomplish in order to overcome this obstacle?

  • Do you need to educate yourself on a topic? Where can you find these resources?
  • Is there a skill you need to develop? If so, what do you need to do to develop it?
  • Do you need to seek help from experts? Who?

Once you define success, you need to set smaller goals that will allow bring you closer to success.

If your challenge is a poor financial situation because a spouse lost a job, success would likely entail having the cash flow you need to meet your needs each month until they find a new job.

You can break this down into smaller goals such as:

Perform a financial audit, laying out your monthly spending (cutting where you can) versus your monthly income

If necessary spending is above income and there is no emergency fund, perhaps another goal would be to find a part-time job for the duration of their job search

Or you may have a goal to sell items you have in order to find more cash

All of these smaller goals would help you reach success: to support your family without your spouse’s income.

Your spouse, in the meantime, would have success be defined as finding a new job.

And there are many smaller goals that they can set in order to achieve that.

Laying out goals in such a manner allows you to focus on the task at hand.

It makes the process of overcoming the challenge less daunting. It suddenly looks much more achievable.

I speak more about how to set effective goals in this post.

Be proactive

soccer goal to overcome challenges

Once you have your path laid with your goals, it’s time to do the work.

You have to be proactive when it comes to working towards those goals.

Be relentless.

Exhaust all your resources. Be creative with your approach. 

No one will do the hard work for you. 

It is your mountain to conquer. And you absolutely can.

It’s certainly not easy. And it requires a lot of courage.

But the alternative, giving up, should not be an option.

Because every challenge is conquerable.

At the end of the road, success may look different than how you defined it at the beginning of the journey.

Your goals may change along with that.

But stay flexible and adaptable. Keep plugging away.

So get out there and do the work. Success will follow.

Find and use your support system

support spouse to overcome challenges

Just because you are the one that has to do the hard work, does not mean you have to do it alone.

Most of the time you will need a support system to help discuss your feelings and process them.

Or perhaps you need help to make progress towards the goals you have set.

Whatever the reason is, you should absolutely lean on the people that can help.

It is important to turn to the correct support people for your needs.

If you are job searching after being laid off, you probably shouldn’t turn to your college-aged sibling to ask to review your resume.

It’s important to recognize when you can benefit from professional help.

This could be a therapist, a career coach, a physician, support groups or another experts relevant to your challenge.

Mentors are also valuable tools as you work to overcome challenges.

They are individuals that have accomplished goals you have set out for yourself. Mentors provide valuable guidance and support during challenging times.

Whoever you decide to turn to, it is important not to tackle challenges alone.

Whatever challenge you are trying to overcome, someone has faced it before.

The best way to find success is to learn from others. You are more likely to be effective and make fewer mistakes. 

Why repeat someone else’s mistakes if you can avoid them?

Individuals that have faced the same challenge are often ones that can also provide the best emotional and moral support.

So do you research and find the support people that you can learn and grow from to overcome your challenge.

And ones that can just be there for you.

Stay focused

staying focused to overcome challenges

Life gets chaotic and it is easy to wander off the plan you have paved for yourself in order to address other issues or challenges that arise.

This is especially true once the initial shock and feelings wear off. 

But it’s critical to stay focused. To make progress towards your goals every day, no matter how small.

People and organizations are constantly asking for our time and attention. 

Whether it is your co-worker emailing you to help with a task or Netflix quietly calling your name with a new release. Or more importantly, your family needing you.

In order to stay focused on your goals to overcome a challenge, you need to set time aside for yourself. 

You need to have great time management skills.

If you struggle with staying focused and productive, I highly recommend trying calendar blocking.

It’s a method that will allow you to organize your day into small, workable chunks of time that you can use to complete the tasks you need.

You should also try to wake up early. At a time when no one is bothering you yet, such as 5 am or 6 am.

Yes, it is early. But it gives you a large chunk of time to journal, reflect, work on your goals, and take care of yourself.

This time is invaluable if you are constantly pulled in various directions throughout the day.

Finally, try to minimize distractions when you take the time to work on your challenges.

Turn your phone off, don’t look at your email.

Make sure you are 100% focused on what you are doing at the moment.

Remember the big picture

big picture to overcome challenges

As you focus on your smaller goals, that have been set to achieve a larger one, make sure you remember the big picture.

What you are trying to overcome and what “success” looks like.

It’s always easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks. And this is not a bad thing, as it focuses your mind on more digestible pieces of the plan.

But take time weekly to reflect on all of your work and the progress you have made towards the ultimate goal.

The progress towards ultimate success.

  • Are you making progress? Or do you need to adjust your plan and goals?
  • Is what you are doing working?
  • If not, what else can you try?
  • Who else can you turn to?
  • Has "success" changed?

Allowing yourself this “big picture” reflection will make sure that your efforts are put towards the right things.

Remember, it’s absolutely okay to re-direct. To abandon some goals for others.

As long as you keep the end-goal in mind, you will be less likely to get stuck doing ineffective tasks for too long.


journaling is great tool to overcome challenges

Journaling is an important step as you work to overcome challenges.

It is a safe space where you can document your feelings, worries, and struggles.

It is also an important place to document your progress towards your goals.

I advocate for journaling often, not just to overcome challenges.

But journaling is particularly crucial during hard times.

Your journal should not just be a “dear diary” type. Although releasing your feelings through journaling is powerful, you must also use it as a tool for planning.

I really like bullet journaling. It is a great way to keep track of your goals and progress. 

But you can (and should) also incorporate sections to share your thoughts.

So those are my strategies to overcome challenges

Have you struggled with a challenge recently?

What has worked for you? Let me know down below!

Check out these other posts for your personal development:

64 Monthly Goals to Live Intentionally

15 Critical Personal Development Activities and Exercises

30 Things to Do Before 30 to Live a Successful Life

8 Best Books for Communication Skills

8 Self-Reflection Questions to Ask Yourself Regularly

Build Self Confidence, 7 Tips How to Do It

60 Productive Things to Do When You’re Bored

How to Overcome Challenges in Life

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