Do You Feel Stuck?

How To Move Through 5 Common Roadblocks To Change

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Even for those without chronic conditions, life can occasionally feel like it’s in a rut.  Do you ever wonder why it seems so hard to make changes, even though you may feel miserable with the way things are right now? 

Physical disability or other illness-related consequences can definitely make some changes more difficult, but there are several common internal roadblocks that can prevent you from even getting started on making changes if you don’t recognize and manage to move through them.

Here are 5 internal roadblocks that can keep you super-stuck and solutions to move through them:

1. Lacking the knowledge necessary to make a change. You might know that you want or need to make a certain change, but lack the knowledge of exactly what that entails or how to get started.  You might need to do some research first to find out what education, training, skills, or steps you need to take to make that change possible.  What is the change that you want to make? Take a first step of doing your research to learn the best way(s) to make that happen.

2. Not knowing specifically what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you will definitely stay stuck (just like if you can’t choose a vacation destination, you’re stuck at home). At some point, it’s necessary to make a clear decision and set a goal.  Take the time to think about and decide what you want.  Then you can set a specific goal, do your research, and work out a plan of action.

3. Using willpower in the wrong way. Willpower is limited. There’s only so long that you can white-knuckle your way toward making a long-term change in your life. Willpower is great for creating new habits and behavioral patterns, though. Use your willpower to develop small habits that can grow into useful routines that will help you achieve the changes that you want to make. This is something that you can actually practice. For example, sticking with a task you want to complete for an additional 5 minutes after the urge to quit surfaces can develop willpower. Then practice continuing for another 5 minutes. Increase the amount of time each week until you can work through the urge to give up.

4. Inability to handle being uncomfortable. Some level of discomfort accompanies making any change. In a given moment, the discomfort may feel extreme (Have you ever been tempted by a craving when you’re trying to stick with a new healthy diet?), but your emotions are misleading you. You’re not in any real danger. You’ll need to learn how to push through moments of slight discomfort if you want to get un-stuck and make a change. Use your logic to talk yourself through it and override the discomfort (For example:“Nothing bad can happen from eating something healthy instead of a pint of ice cream right now. In fact, there are many benefits that I really want.”) or use techniques like meditation and deep breathing to lower your levels of discomfort and keep moving toward your chosen goal.

5. Giving up too quickly. Change can take time. Your early efforts may seem to show few results, but you’re setting those wheels of change in motion. They say that the results of what you do today will show up 90 days from now, so hang in there!  It’s necessary to persevere to see a meaningful change in your life. You can practice perseverance by learning to be a finisher with the little things in your life. Start sticking with and completing all the little tasks in your life.  If you decide to write or stretch for 20 minutes, keep going until you’re done.  Avoid letting yourself off the hook until an activity is 100% complete.

Making any change can be a challenge. Understanding these common internal roadblocks to change can help you move through them and start creating the changes that you want to see in your life. Which of these 5 roadblocks do you feel is affecting you right now? What first step to move through it (or them) can you take this week?