Confidence and Success with CBT/REBT – Blog #5


Blog #5 Overcoming Obstacles to Fact-finding to Achieve Your Goal


Welcome to blog number five in our series looking at how you can achieve confidence and success with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy / Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy.

This time, we’re going to share some of the ways you can use CBT/ REBT to overcome common obstacles to successfully completing the fact-finding part of the process that ultimately leads to confidence and success.

Obstacles to Step 2: Fact-finding

 

When you set a goal, even if it is a small goal that takes you a step closer to your ultimate goal, you become aware of

  1. your current reality, which is familiar or comfortable, and
  2. your current goal

In this case, these are your current reality and the goal of completing the fact-find. If you are not fact-finding or have abandoned it, just reflect on what you feel at the thought of fact-finding or during the fact-find. Are you in state of discomfort or anxiety?

Goal: FACT-FIND

OBSTACLES TO ACHIEVING GOAL
e.g. Anxiety

When we feel anxious we tend to avoid the tasks that we have set ourselves or we tend to give up, ultimately failing to achieve.

We can also become very creative at justifying to ourselves that avoiding the task or giving up before we complete it is actually in our best interest! We rationalise our reason or reasons to not finish the task, putting a positive spin on avoidance and on giving up the goal.

People often avoid or give up during Step 2 – Fact-finding because of the following obstacles:

  1. Fact-finding is too much like hard work and dull
  2. You realise it is not what you want during the fact-find e.g. being unclear about what you want to achieve once again
  3. You question if it is the right time in your life to start on this because of health, family or other priorities
  4. Fact-finding is a commitment to do something afterwards

There may be other obstacles encountered but the above tend to be the most likely ones.

Obstacle 1: “Gathering information is too much like hard work and dull” and how to overcome it

Avoiding or giving up on gathering information because it’s too much like hard work and dull is provoked by holding an unhealthy belief about hard work and boredom. The unhealthy belief will take the form of the following general theme:

Life must be easy, comfortable and effortless

The above attitude will give rise to many offshoot beliefs as well as specific beliefs such as:

  • Gathering information must not be too hard to do and must not be dull. It’s intolerable when it isn’t.
  • Gathering information must be effortless and not dull. It’s intolerable when it isn’t.
  • Gathering information must be easier and not boring. It’s intolerable when it isn’t.

The above demands cannot be met if you are someone who finds gathering information too much of an effort and dull because you are not accepting the fact that for you it is too much like hard work and dull.

The problem of avoidance is not provoked by the fact that gathering information is too much like hard work and dull but by the demand that it must not be so. If it’s too much of an effort and dull so be it. You have every right to find it so but you don’t have to give up. You can accept that for you gathering information is too much of an effort and dull and still do it anyway.

Obstacle 2: “You realise it is not what you want during the fact-find e.g. being unclear about what you want to achieve once again!” and how to overcome it


Sometimes we can get excited about a new idea or realisation, even having an ‘aha’ moment when things become clear and we become motivated about what we want. It’s not unusual to have these moments or even periods of clarity about a new idea or a new goal. The natural thing is to then start talking about it with friends, our ears prick up when we hear or see something that about it or associated with it.

You may have, for example, had an idea about buying a time share flat or perhaps thought about doing a degree in Sports Psychology, particularly after watching the Olympics. You feel excited about this new prospect and what the future has for you. You start gathering information from the internet, reading about it and so on. Slowly you start to realise it is not for you and you are back to square one, not knowing what you want. The thought of taking time and re thinking and reflecting again provokes anxiety because you are once again unclear about what you want to achieve.

If this has happened to you because you changed your mind about a goal when you started to fact-find about it, then it is not unusual. In fact it happens to all of us at some point or another. Accept it but you don’t have to give up on your search. You can go back to blog 1 and start again.

The unhealthy belief will take the form of the following general theme

I must achieve what I expect of myself

The above attitude will give rise to many offshoot beliefs as well as specific beliefs such as:

I must become clear and sure about what I want to achieve all the time.

This demand may have any of the three potential derivative beliefs or any of their combination as follows:

  • The fact that I’m not clear about what I want to achieve is unbearable (LFT)
  • The fact that I’m not clear about what I want to achieve is awful (Awfulising)
  • The fact that I’m not clear about what I want to achieve proves I’m useless (Self damning)

Obstacle 3: “You question if it is the right time in your life to start on this because of health, family or other priorities” and how to overcome it

Avoiding fact-finding because you question if it is the right time in your life to start on this because of health, family or other priorities is provoked by holding an unhealthy belief that life conditions must be just so before you take any kind of action including the small step of fact-finding. It is provoked by belief that has the following theme:

Life must be easy, comfortable, hassle free and effortless

The above general belief will have its specific off shoots such as:

  • Life conditions must be just so before I do something, if they are not then I won’t be able to handle it.
  • Life conditions must be perfect before I even think about doing what I want, if they are not then it would be awful and unbearable.
  • Everything has to be in balance before I strive for what I want, if not then I won’t cope.

The above beliefs will stop you from even taking a simple step forward like fact-finding. The interesting thing is that you don’t have to do anything more beyond fact-finding if you choose not to. You may also find out that taking this small step helps you to realise that you can go forward with your plans. Avoiding fact-finding will remove these two options from you.

Obstacle 4: “Fact-finding is a commitment to do something afterwards” and how to overcome it

 

Fact-finding is just one step out of a few that help you get closer to achieving what you want. Avoiding fact-finding because it is implies you have to commit to doing something afterwards is provoked by unhealthy belief about commitment to take action. The unhealthy belief will take the form of the following general theme.

I must achieve what I expect of myself

The belief will give rise to many offshoot beliefs as well as specific ones like:

  • I have to take action once I complete the fact-find. If I don’t it proves I’m useless.
  • I have to commit to achieving my goal once complete the fact-find. If I don’t it would terrible and would prove I’m a failure.
  • I have to keep going and do something after I fact-find. If I don’t it would be unbearable and prove that I am lazy and weak.

Tips on Step 2: Fact-Finding

Like any step in achieving what you want, sometimes things can seem overwhelming. However, if you keep in mind these simple tips, things won’t seem so hard:

  • All you need to do is gather information.
  • You can bear it even if you don’t like to fact-finding. You may find that you enjoy it after your start.
  • You are not committing to anything.
  • Focus on the relevant information only.
  • Conditions may not be perfect in your life but all that you need to do is just fact-find.
  • You may decide the project is not of interest to you which is fine. Go back to chapter 1.
  • You don’t have to allow doubts to stop you from gathering information.

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