12 Barriers To Achieving Your Goals – And How To Remove Them


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The tax return deadline has passed – it’s all over. What a relief! As an accountant, I feel it acutely myself now as I have many sole trader clients. January is a month to get through – with plenty of chasing! But even when I worked in practice with no sole trader clients, I still felt the energy shift when the tax department had filed all their tax returns.

I’ve achieved my goal. Are you achieving your goals?

Now you have the returns out of the way, the goal setting for 2021 can begin in earnest. That’s great, isn’t it! The idea fills you with enthusiasm … or does your heart sink?

For many accountants, talk of setting goals fills them with a sense of dread, a sense of failing before they have even started. However, I’m here to tell you that you can achieve your goals. You just have to be honest about what is stopping you and take it from there!

Hi. I’m Anna Goodwin, your friendly finance mentor.  With over 30 years of experience, I’ve helped a lot of accountants move their careers forward.

“I’ve set goals before and started trying to achieve them but I don’t get anywhere!”  Is this what you say to yourself?

Well now is as good a time as any to consider what you want to achieve and to identify what’s holding you back.

Possible Goals

Setting goals is essential to progress and to keep motivated and engaged in any career. Accountancy is no different. These will, of course, depend on your current position.

Perhaps you would like to:

  • work in industry
  • work in practice
  • set up my own accounting practice
  • work in audit
  • work internationally
  • move to work for a charity
  • retrain and specialise in tax
  • work for HMRC
  • become a financial tutor

There are so many options; the list is endless, but you get the idea. There are a lot of avenues open to you.

“So why do I feel so stuck and have a sinking feeling when I think about what to do next?” I hear you ask.

I understand how you feel. In my last but one role as an employee, I knew I wasn’t happy but doing something about it seemed too overwhelming.

What Could Be Holding You Back?

With all these opportunities at your fingertips, how is it that you seem stuck where you are? Why are you not achieving your goals? There are many barriers which could be holding you back:

  • Too busy at work
  • Maybe you’re so busy juggling clients and work that you haven’t got enough headspace to consider your future. Set aside some time dedicated to thinking about your future and what you want to achieve. It will be worth it.
  • No plan
  • You have nothing in place. You have no idea where to start in achieving your goals. No goals set so nothing to focus on, nothing to achieve. Jot down your goals and how you will achieve them.
  • Lack of confidence
  • You’ve worked for your present company for years, you know everyone and you understand the work. It feels frightening to leave all this security, doesn’t it? Think of the opportunities you could be missing. Work with a coach or buddy up with someone else to help build your confidence and decide on a plan of action.
  • Lack of awareness
  • You’ve worked in this way for so many years and you can’t imagine doing anything else. But as you can see, there’s a lot you could do. Do some research online and consider which options are right for you. A coach/mentor could help you decide.
  • Knowing yourself
  • Do you know what you enjoy, what fills you with joy?
  • Do you know if you work best with a team or on your own?
  • This is a good time to give yourself time to think of who you are as a person?
  • Fear of failure
  • But what if I leave the comfort of this job and things don’t work out? It’s a bit of a rabbit in the headlights feeling, isn’t it! But what if things did work out and your work life improved dramatically.
  • Fear of success
  • Maybe you don’t feel that you deserve to enjoy your work life and be successful? I am telling you now, you deserve it!
  • Financial constraints
  • This job pays the mortgage and bills. If I do what I really want to do I will have to take a pay cut or possibility have uncertainty of earnings. Can you make savings elsewhere? Could you manage on less income, maybe only for a couple of years? Consider the long-term benefits. Will you be better off in the future, either in terms of your mental health, your work/life balance or financially?
  • No one to ask for help
  • I understand. When I felt stuck and didn’t know what to do about it I started working with a coach. It helped to have someone independent of me to brainstorm with.
  • Don’t want to let anyone down
  • This was another one of my fears. I had a portfolio of clients and most of them I got on really well with. I thought, ‘If I leave, how will they manage?’ But of course, they did. In reality, we’re not indispensable!
  • Too much choice
  • It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as to what to do next. Once you have an accountancy qualification there are a lot of avenues open to you. That’s why it’s important to give yourself time to think of what you want to do and do your research. List the pros and cons.
  • Training gaps
  • Are you worried about moving as you don’t feel up to date with legislation or technology? Think about skills you may need to move your career forward.

Lots to take on board and consider but now is a good time to consider it. You may have more time at the moment as you are likely to be working from home so don’t have any travel time.

Let your mind wander and think about what you would enjoy doing the most if there were no financial constraints. Break down those barriers to achieving your goals.

Go for it and if I can help in any way then get in touch.

Next week, I will concentrate on your attitude to money.