How Do You Handle Roadblocks?

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How do you handle roadblocks?

As you work to achieve nearly any goal, more important than any other aspect of your journey is how you handle roadblocks to your success. No matter what your goal is, there are often many ways and opinions about how to arrive at success.  The debate on whether cutting expenses or increasing income is the better route to financial success is a classic example of this.

Everyone has their own opinion about which steps will help you accomplish your goals, but I submit to you that there is an even more important factor to consider: the handling of roadblocks to your goal.

Roadblocks and Their Ability to Derail

When I wrote about why it’s so vitally important to make your personal financial plan personal, one thing I pointed out is that what matters most about a journey to debt freedom is that you create your road map in a way that allows you to stick with it all the way to the finish line.

This is where the subject of roadblocks comes in.

Every goal comes with roadblocks.  If you’re on a journey to lose weight, you’ll be invited to a potluck dinner or dessert-tasting buffet.   If you’re on a journey to run a marathon, you’ll have two weeks straight of non-stop rain.  If you’re on a journey to become debt free, the washer will go out.

Overcoming Roadblocks

These roadblocks are a part of life, and many of them are unavoidable.  How you choose to handle those roadblocks, is up to you.  Here are some tips on successfully handling the roadblocks you encounter in pursuit of your goals:

1.  Accept them.  Not in a giving up kind of a way, just as a realization that they are part of the journey toward any goal.

2.  Make an action plan.  If you’re working to lose weight and get invited to a potluck, fill up on a nice lettuce salad before you go.  If you’re training to run a marathon and it’s going to rain or be dangerously cold for the next two weeks,  see if you can find an indoor running venue or substitute your running with some other type of aerobic training.  If you’re working to pay off debt and the washer breaks, pick up some temporary extra side hustles or see what you can sell from around the house to make up for the extra expense that comes with repairing or replacing the washer.

3.  Keep moving.  The most important part of overcoming roadblocks is that you don’t let them stop you from working toward your goal.  Even if your emotions have gotten the best of you and you’re feeling discouraged, choose to make one small step toward your goal.  Pay an extra $5 on your credit card and spend $5 less on gas.  If you don’t have the emotional or physical stamina to run, go for a walk, or organize the house.  Just do something – anything – that will put you toward your goal, even if it’s the smallest of steps.

By choosing to keep moving, you combat those messages of failure and the temptation to quit altogether.

With any goal, roadblocks, in some form, will likely come. It’s how you choose to handle them that means the difference between success and failure.


What goals are you working on currently, and how have you overcome the roadblocks you’ve encountered in reaching those goals? What roadblocks have you already encountered in your pursuit of your personal goals?



Photo courtesy of: Free Digital Photos

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Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.


  • moneystepper says:

    These three steps are so important when you come across something that blocks you on the route to a goal. Especially the advice to keep on moving!!

    One other very important step in the journey is to learn from the roadblock:

    Was there an alternative route your could have taken to avoid this roadblock?
    Could you avoid it in the future?
    How could you better deal with this roadblock if you were to encounter it again?

  • Currently we are working on our goal of debt freedom, and we have sooooo been encountering a few roadblocks lately, namely in the fact that our basement flooded and we had to shell out $5k from our emergency fund to put in drain tile and another sump pump and new carpet. Ugh! We just keep going and know that if we keep putting in the work in terms of saving and living frugally that we will get there eventually.

  • I have run into a ton of roadblocks over the years, although not necessarily recently. All you can ever do is push through them and keep trying your best.

  • To me, roadblocks are serious time for evaluation. You never know why one has been placed before you. It could be a test/trial/barrier to break through. It could also be a stop sign, meaning you should slow down or move on to something else. Reflection/analysis/prayer are needed in times like this to make the right decision.

  • Dave LaLonde says:

    One of my biggest goals that I’m currently working on is raising money for our Veterans. We have a goal to raise over $40,000. I’m very fortunate to say that I have not encountered any roadblocks. There is just so much active participation from all my employees. We’re going big by doing a Golf Outing Event and raffling off an ELECTRIC CAR! It’s going to be great. Wish us luck!

    • Dave, that is AWESOME! Obviously you have set a terrific example for your employees and given them the example of the right attitude. Yes, wishing you the very best!! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out. 🙂

  • Ah resilience! One of my favorite subjects! This is a bit different, but I just had a friend, after I asked how everything was going, tell me about a relationship that just ended and that she is tired of just giving her heart away and then she just ends up alone with nothing. I should also mention this friend is a perpetual victim. Everything always “happens” to her. There was nothing I could say except I’m sorry she felt that way, but the thing is that’s the huge difference between between people who break through obstacles and people who get knocked down and stay down from them. We ALL have obstacles!!! I think all you can do is be as prepared as you can. This month I have more money going out the door for annual medical expenses. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still, not what I was hoping for and July has been abysmal as far as work coming in. But it’s just something to look straight in the eye and face, and I’m also more prepared with a bigger emergency fun, so it takes the edge off. Anyway, this is becoming super long-winded. I could go on forever on the subject. 🙂

    • Ugh, too bad about your friend. The “victim mentality” is the worst enemy of any goal. Like Moneystepper said, it’s probably time to evaluate what’s causing the roadblocks. Is she picking the wrong guys? Is she being too needy? We have lots of people in our lives in which there is absolutely no responsibility for anything that happens to them, and it’s very, very sad to watch, because of course, things are always going wrong in their lives.

  • One that isn’t always possible, but helps us, is to do our best to ANTICIPATE and PREPARE for roadblocks. Trying to save money but know your car is getting old? Instead of waiting for the roadblock of car maintenance issues or having to buy a new one totally derail you, start saving us a little each month. A roadblock isn’t nearly as bad when you have an idea it’s coming and have prepared for its possibility.

    • Awesome, Deb!! That’s a great point. So many times those financial emergencies are calling for us in advance, as with the old car thing. However, we just keep plugging along, hoping all will be well, and then are surprised when the old car finally dies.

  • I mentally like to not think of challenges as roadblocks or barriers and I think of them as hurdles. With enough momentum and energy, I can leap them. So part of the process of leaping them is minimizing them in my mind, breaking them down and making them challenges that I can best rather than challenges that will best me.

  • Hey Laurie, posts like this are why I love your work so much…you’re so inspirational! As far as my goals. My first and foremost goal currently is to marry Ana…gotta lock this one down. One of our biggest road blocks is my choice in medicine. Her family isn’t too estatic with how I manage my pain…so it does create a bit of a roadblock. But like you said, we’ve accepted it…created an action plan (to not let the negativity get to us), and moved on with our plan…wedding coming soon! Hopefully you can make it!

    • LOL, I’m’ with you on that one, Josh. Waiting to hear about that engagement/wedding date announcement! 🙂 Hopefully it all works out with Ana’s family, and they’ll see that you are a wonderful person who absolutely adores Ana and will do your very best for her.

  • Roadblocks are a great analogy. If I was headed to work and came across one, I wouldn’t just give up and go home. I’d take another route. I might be late and have to buy more gas but I would eventually get there, and that is exactly how you have to look at life. If it were all easy, we’d never appreciate anything.

  • Jason B says:

    I’ve had a few roadblocks since I’ve been focused on paying off debt. I just try to stay focused and stay with my plan of action. It’s not the easiest but it will be fine once I get to my goal.

  • Great tip, Cindi! Thanks for sharing your wisdom. 32 years is a long time of learning to overcome roadblocks: congrats to you both!

  • Continuing to move forward is the key. If we just stay still and let the obstacle control us, we will never get to where we want to be. We have to keep pushing, keep fighting forward so that we can overcome it.

  • I have to credit my road blocks for getting me where I am today. I would never have started writing about money and launched my own business if it had all come easily to me.

  • I wouldn’t say student loans are a “road block” per se but they fit the example close enough. They are definitely preventing my ability to build wealth as I can’t invest as much when I have money going out the door each month. I think creating an action plan is essential for ANY road block, and for mine I did some side hustling (and continue to!) and I went out and got a new “9-5” or “career” job that had a material pay increase.

  • I have lots of roadblocks in my life and I know there are lots ahead too, but one thing that I’m sure, I will never let the roadblocks to stop me. Stopping means giving up, so I’ll keep pursuing until I reach all my goals in life.

  • debt debs says:

    Wow! Liking your new site look here, John!

    Laurie – bumps along the road are just par for the course. I was just reminded of this when I was looking at my debt paydown since last month and it was not as high as I’d like due to more than $1100 for new brakes on our truck. I’d like to get rid of that blasted truck, though it seems to be quite popular amongst the extended family for transporting snow machines, lumber, moving etc. Well, a little nip and tuck here and there and we’ll get through, and I’m not talking about cosmetic surgery!

  • Great article, and those are great tips as well. Accepting it is really the first step in overcoming those roadblocks.

  • MMD says:

    The funny thing about roadblocks is that just like any other obstacle there is always a way around them. It can be a challenge, but if you look hard enough you’ll always find a way.

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