We want to change so we set goals. But this desire of ours coexists with an unwitting resistance to it. Before you start blaming yourself for not doing what you set to do, you need to know that what you are feeling is normal and expected. Change feels threatening pushing us out of our comfort zone. We need to abandon familiar behaviors and beliefs that we based our lives on. We feel uncomfortable going back to our old habits but insecure about adopting a new way of life.
The coexistence of contradictory feelings is perfectly normal but many people at this stage fall into one (or all) of the traps I list here, losing their courage to create the life they want.
Let’s see the traps and what we can do in order to avoid them.
Trap 1: searching for absolute certainty
I believe that every aspect of an issue should be considered thoroughly until I am sure that I have left nothing to chance and I have complete control. Through this behavior I hope to solve the problem with absolute accuracy and without surprises. But this way, I replace the action with the concern. The truth is that I hesitate to make a decision.
Trap 2: waiting for the right moment
I analyze, talk, read self-help books, go to experts, seek advice in the hope that something will change. I believe that the right time will come, the right time, when I will be ready, when I will be confident, when others will change, when … The right time never comes.
Trap 3: hoping the conditions change
The consequences and cost of a decision scare me. I do not want to leave the comfort zone – even if it is unpleasant – and at the same time want to go on living as I always have. So I hope the conditions will change, I look for magical and quick solutions in sources of dubious quality and professionalism. Wishful thinking does not work, conditions never change and disappointment follows.
Trap 4: taking premature action
I succumb to peer pressure before seeking my own inner motivation. I make decisions to change on the occasion of birthday, middle age crisis, New Year, after Easter, now that summer is coming, because my husband said it, the magazine said it, I read it, etc. When I feel that I am not accepted, I hurry to change in order to be loved and liked. Unfortunately, the excitement for the new beginning is abruptly deflated. The goal is not achieved and I end up in self-loathing and frustration.
If I do not want to be paralyzed by inaction, I acknowledge that there needs to be a period of awareness. I give myself the opportunity to plan and think, before I act.
Αnswer the “why”
Thinking means answering the question “why do I _________”, (e.g., why am I angry? Why do I smoke? Why do I eat non-nutritious foods? Why do I want to break up?) These questions help me identify the causes of my behavior. Is it anxiety, fear, a need that is not satisfied otherwise? Then I answer the question “why do I want to change?”. The answer will be the compass that will lead me where I want to go (e.g., because I want to regain energy, because I want to live without addictions, because I want to take care of my body, etc.). The answer to your “why” will activate your will every time you find yourself hung up in negative thoughts.
Create a new, desired image of myself
When I do not know where I want to go, I do not know how to get there. So I create the image of myself that I want -not the one that others want, but the one that I want for myself. How do I want to be? How do I want to feel? How do I want to live? How do I want to see myself in relation to others? How much satisfaction and pleasure will I have when I succeed? What will I stop doing when I succeed?
Decisions must be made once we feel how we have dealt with the consequences of the change we want. What will be the consequences for me if I change my behavior? If I do not change? What will be the consequences for my environment (e.g., family, work) if I change my behavior? If I do not change? I look at the positive and negative consequences. If I continue to find more positives in not changing, then this is not the time for decisions or actions. I need to acknowledge to myself that I am not yet in the stage of proceeding with change. That I still need some time. I do not take glib answers and quick solutions. I look for my inner motivation – maybe with some help from a coach – despite the peer pressure and external motivation.
Being aware of these trap we can stop blaming ourselves and understand the stage of change we are in: the stage of awareness. We can see ourselves with understanding while we work towards our goals and love our unique path and the effort we put in. We are wining!
PS: If you need help discovering your inner potential, discovering who you are, your purpose in life and what principles and values guide you, my signature 1: 1 coaching self-awareness program was created for you to help you finally feel whole and grateful in your life.
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