I’m sure you remember a day when something got in the way of lasting change. Maybe you set a goal to lose ten pounds, but your neighbor brought over peanut butter pie. Obstacle! Or maybe you’d like to overcome your fear of flying in an airplane this year by taking a nice vacation, but you haven’t bought the plane tickets or budgeted the money. Obstacle!
The truth is this: there are hundreds of obstacles that can prevent us from achieving lasting change. We get in our own way. Other people get in our way. Situations and circumstances get in the way. A lack of resources can get in our way. But our awareness – and our response – make all the difference in whether we will truly achieve the desired outcome.
Take a look at five of the most common obstacles to lasting change. These obstacles are big ones, but they are avoidable. And if not avoidable, certainly you can overcome them. My suggestion is this: don’t just read through these five obstacles and leave them in the back of your mind. Instead, think through all of the areas in your life where you are trying to change. Are these obstacles getting in your way?
5 Huge Obstacles that Prevent Lasting Change
Living in Denial
The first obstacle to change is living in denial. You are living in denial any time you believe that things will get better automatically. Problems never get better on their own. You must face the facts. Change begins when you truly acknowledge your self-defeating actions.
Do you believe that health is important? Are you spending time on your goals, your budget, and your education? How often do you acknowledge broken relationships and/or ask for forgiveness in your home?
Last week we looked at eight major areas of our lives that are in need of change. If you’re not evaluating these eight areas regularly, you may be falling into the trap of denial.
Refusing to Leave Your Comfort Zone
The second obstacle is refusing to leave your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is exactly what it sounds like: an area of your life with which you are familiar and comfortable. People tend to stay in the familiar, even if it is unpleasant.
Most people live and die in a non-growth environment because they are so committed to their comfort zones. Human beings are creatures of habit. We want to run the instant something comes into our lives that precipitates a need for growth or change.
But remaining in your comfort zone may be your greatest obstacle to change. Sometimes a comfort zone can be unpleasant—like a stressful job or a cluttered home—but it is so familiar that you don’t want to leave it. But you must abandon your comfort zone if you want to see change in your life.
You must let go of the old in order to embrace the new.
Fear of the Unknown
The third hidden obstacle is fear of the unknown. Write this next part down: we do not resist change; we resist loss. The problem is that when we think of change, we’re not entirely sure what we may lose. We would rather stick with what we know than risk what we do not know.
What are you scared of losing? A position? Money? A relationship? Comfort? Security? Esteem? Time? There are a million barriers keeping you from achieving something great, so don’t allow those barriers to remain hidden. What is on the other side of the barrier for you? I promise that it’s worth finding out!
Don’t allow fear of the unknown to keep you from the thrilling adventure of personal transformation.
The fourth obstacle to change is self-criticism. Everyone possesses inadequacies and deficiencies, but you cannot allow these shortcomings to restrain you. You can’t make positive, permanent changes in your life if you’re constantly criticizing yourself. (If this is the case for you, check out the end of the post and download a FREE gift from me to you!)
Your mind tends to gravitate toward the images upon which you focus. So if the primary images you have of yourself are negative, this hinders your ability to take the positive steps necessary for change. A negative self-image lessens your ability to have hope in change. It is one thing to be aware of your deficiencies, but it is another thing to self-serve mental abuse.
Think through your positive qualities, your accomplishments, and any compliments you’ve received recently. This is not a time to boast and become pride. Rather, it’s a chance to see that you are worth the time and the energy it will take to make a change.
Mistaking Activity for Accomplishment
The final obstacle is mistaking activity for accomplishment – or, in other words, busyness. Many people stay busy but do not actually have a clear direction or purpose for their lives. They are mentally and emotionally running away from change by burying themselves in activity.
It is crucial that you take the time to evaluate your current activities and determine whether or not they are taking you where you want to go. If they are not, it’s time to reevaluate.
It is amazing to me how many people finish a year without knowing whether they won or lost. They think they achieved something simply because they stayed busy, but you can remain busy and never do anything truly worthwhile.
Stop doing busywork and find activities that will actually move you toward your primary goal.
What are some other obstacles that might stand in the way of change? How often do you find yourself stuck at the fork in the road and all you can see is one of these looming giants? Change is so important! I think it’s key to examine your life and determine where an obstacle is keeping you from growing, learning, and achieving more than you could have thought possible.
If you struggle with self-esteem and believing that you are worthy of change, grab the FREE handout! Start on the path to growing and believing that lasting change is powerful, good, and worthy!