Over the years, I have come to realize how significant the process of change is to the growth and development of a person. In some parts of the world, we’ve been witnesses to how change can be systematic and revolutionary. In other places it’s fast paced and even happening at lightning speed.
For example, in a report earlier this year PewForum.org reported on how America’s religious landscape is changing. The report concluded that between 2007 and 2014, the Christian share of the population fell from 78.4% to 70.6%, driven mainly by decline among mainline Protestants and Catholics.
Most recently (June 26th) in an unprecedented and historical move, the Supreme Court of the USA announced its decision to legalize same-sex marriage across all 50 states. Even though SCOTUS’ decision does not measure up to the standard as outlined in the Bible of the true definition of marriage, it’s an example [positive or negative] of change that has sparked a chain of events causing even more changes in the religious landscape as well as new laws and legislation being drafted or enacted.
Otherwise though, truth be told, if there is no change we remain the way we were back then, doing things the way we have always done it. Our problem solving methodology would remain the same. And for some that’s fine because no doubt they have reached that plateau where they feel their life is fulfilled.
They don’t ever see the need for change. Some are comfortable remaining at the same place with the same old attitude, behavior and negative mindset without realizing that those are killer obstacles to positive life change and things that are undermining success.
But can the blame be placed entirely on such individuals? Not necessarily. And I will tell you why not in this next segment.
Why Is It So Hard To Change?
Inwardly, somewhere deep within I believe that some of these same persons want to change. But they are stuck and just do not know how to get unstuck in order to move to their next level.
Social media and the self-help industry also play a role as to why people do not readily see the need for change. They have succeeded to a great extent in distorting people’s perception of change. Many are led to believe that change is easy and it should be with little to no effort and that it should be quick.
Other supporting factor on why it’s hard to change unhealthy behaviors was articulated in one of Harvard Health Publications. The author was clear in stating that “change is a process, not an event” and that the whole idea of change means that persons are required to move from one stage to the next, with each stage being a preparation for the upcoming…“so hurrying through or skipping stages is likely to result in setbacks.”
Researches have also shown that when people see the process of change as being burdensome rather than beneficial, it becomes a major deterring factor to change.
4 Killer Obstacles To Positive Life Change
Below are four major killer obstacles that can block the process or progress of change. Any of them, if you fail to recognize and remove, can hold you back and undermine your success.
1.) The BAGGAGE
If we be honest with ourselves, we can agree that all of us brought things from our childhood years over into our adult life. When we skillfully examine what it is that we brought, we will find that some of those things are negative in the true sense of the word and that is what is referred to as baggage.
Any such baggage I liken to ‘missiles’ and they can strike at the very core of your being and sabotage your dreams, goals and purpose from ever coming into manifestation.
Do any of this baggage sound familiar to you? Fear – of failure or criticism. Low self-esteem, doubt, anxiety, the need for control, your need to please (everyone) anger, un-forgiveness, inability to say no or to let go, perfectionism…
According to one expert, “An unfortunate aspect of life is that we often create obstacles, usually unconsciously, that may serve some sort of immediate purpose, but end up being long-term liabilities.” ~ Jim Taylor, Ph.D., Teacher at the University of San Francisco
I can relate so well to this as I recall the lot of baggage that I carried with me for years. Baggage from childhood plus those throughout my adult life caused me to react to others in ways that were both unhealthy and unproductive.
The baggage became the driving force for my need to feel accepted and in control. Regrettably, it was that same unhealthy behavior that was at the root sabotaging my progress towards positive life change.
2.) The EMOTIONS
Negative emotions are not only unhealthy, stressful on the body and damaging to your health, they are all-powerful and potent hindrances to life change. The range of emotions includes things such as fear, frustration, anger, sadness, hopelessness and despair.
Such negative emotions become significant obstacles to positive life change and are brought on whenever you feel uncomfortable in a situation, unsupported by family and friends or even incompetence.
The reason there are many underachievers and people who settle for mediocrity out there is not so much because of fear but because they would rather play it safe and relieve themselves of the life changing process and retreat back into the way they’ve always been.
You can identify those persons easily. They say things like, “I’ve been this way for long time and things have been working out just fine for me the way it is. It is not worth the risk to do it differently.”
Here’s the wake-up call – it is called playing it safe! It’s a quick relief but with long-term implications. It’s called settling for far less than you are capable of.
“It is amazing how many people live lives of underachievement and mediocrity because they are afraid to attempt to sell themselves of their ideas for business success.” ~ Brian Tracy, 8 Obstacles To Creative Thinking and How To Overcome Them
3.) The HABIT
We have heard before ‘habits are easily formed but hard to be broken.’ That is absolutely true. It gets even more complex because when you experience thoughts or emotions that are driven by baggage that are wired and deeply implanted into the brain, they become habits that determine how you act or react to the world and everyone around you.
Such habits cause you to constantly rationalize and justify, which can neither be healthy nor adaptive to positive life change.
According to John Dryden, “We first make our habits, then our habits make us.”
It is unfortunate that the good habits that we form are so much easier to give up than the bad ones. But by all means conquer bad habits, crush them or they will crush you.
4.) The ENVIRONMENT
“The behavior of an individual is determined not by his racial affiliation, but by the character of his ancestry and his cultural environment.” ~ Franz Boas
Your behavior is inherently linked to the environment in which you were birthed and groomed until you reach adulthood. It is also an environment which you further create for yourself in order to manage your behavior, emotions and habits. Those who you choose to surround yourself with are the ones who support the way you are and who would help to build and maintain the safety net and to give you a certain degree of comfort.
It is said that ‘birds of a feather they flock together’ and ‘misery likes company.’
Sadly the environment that you create keeps you engaging continuously in activities that support your strength but mask your weaknesses, and are not supportive of change or worst yet, do not encourage positive life change.
Change is the one those things that we can safely say is constant in life. But the glaring reality is that baggage, unhealthy emotions, bad habits, and an unhealthy environment are obstacles that are not conducive to making positive life change.
Once you recognize their presence in your life, they must be dealt with and removed. You must take action so that your happiness, the achievement of your goals and your efforts at changing your life in a positive way are not sabotaged by these killer obstacles.
I admit that I am not perfect and there are some areas of my life that I am still working on. But let me introduce you to one of my latest posts entitled, 4 Things To Master To Lead A Positive Life that will be of great benefit as we journey our way into positive life change, happiness and success.
What obstacles are preventing you from making positive life changes?
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featured image Flickr/Dustin McClure