Obstacles to Change

Obstacles to Change

Previous articles have addressed leading change, managing change and changing myself, but what if you’ve tried all the tips offered in those articles, and despite your best efforts, you just don’t seem to be able to do anything positive to change your situation?

There are some real obstacles to change that people may carry without even realising. It is often the case that people really want to improve their situations or move forward in some way, either with personal growth, health, career or relationships, and they just can’t make it happen, or they can’t sustain their good efforts regarding the change. So what’s getting in the way?

Mostly, the obstacles to change are embedded as subconscious beliefs that you have about yourself. Your efforts to move forward can then be sabotaged by you because of these deeper beliefs, which are far stronger than your conscious thinking and your desire for change.

Self beliefs

Your deep-seated self-beliefs underpin the obstacles to initiating and sustaining change in your life. Beliefs about ourselves are built up from the time we are born. We take on board actions and words of others in the only way we know as a child, and we begin to form our self-beliefs. Most of us have formed some negative or unhelpful self-beliefs along the way, through our interpretations of our experiences. We tend to build on these beliefs as we grow and so they become stronger, often to the point that they get in the way of us moving forward and changing in ways that we would like.

The following are examples of negative or unhelpful self-beliefs that some people have (and may not even realise):

  • I’m not worthy
  • I’m not good enough
  • I don’t deserve to have things differently (better)
  • I’m not talented
  • I can’t do that stuff
  • I need to be self-reliant and not depend on anyone for anything
  • I have to be perfect

It is useful to take the time to reflect on what your limiting or unhelpful beliefs may be, as they are sure to be major obstacles in your way to change. It is only by identifying your unhelpful beliefs that you can begin to challenge them and decide whether you wish to replace them with more useful beliefs. Your beliefs determine the way in which you act, or fail to act, but the good thing is that beliefs are not set in concrete! They might be stubborn, but really they are only thoughts and they can be changed.

If you are complacent with the way things are, or you have a fixed mindset, being resistant to change and improvement, you might have some unhelpful beliefs that are preventing you from moving forward. Unhelpful or limiting beliefs may appear as behaviours that are directly opposite to the Four Essentials for Managing Change (earlier article in Change series) and are obstacles to positive change. These opposites are:

  • Being Inattentive: failing to notice that I am in a rut or that I display negativity; failing to notice that I am not really happy with myself or my life
  • Being Unintelligent: failing to ask questions to explore the options and to seek out good advice; failing to make good assessments; not believing that I cannot do things to improve my situation
  • Being Unreasonable: in my expectations of myself or others: expectations may be either too low or too high
  • Being Irresponsible: failing to consider the people in my life who are affected by my actions or words

 Everyone is able to change for the better. Find a way to challenge your limiting beliefs. You may benefit from talking with a mentor or professional so that you can get beyond your limiting beliefs and any obstacles that are in the way to change.

Each article in the Change series looks at various factors of initiating, implementing and managing change.

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