Obstacles to change can seem like giant boulders in your path. You may know what you want to change but just can’t seem to move forward. In my “Living Well” psychotherapy group here in Austin, members came up with this list of common issues that block the way to progress:
Fear: We want the change but are afraid of the challenges that may follow.
Old wounds: We aren’t done grieving old wounds so can’t leave them behind.
Past failures: We identify with a past disappointment so much that we believe we are doomed to fail again.
Isolation: We lack the support and encouragement we need to move forward.
Self-doubt: We don’t believe we can succeed because we don’t believe in ourselves.
Self-attack: We sabotage ourselves with self-defeating thoughts and behaviors.
If you want to know more about your obstacles to change, you might try this exercise: Draw a path representing what you want to change, then draw across it a rock wall representing the obstacles you face in moving forward. On each rock in the wall write a word that comes to mind as you contemplate your struggle with change. Explore these obstacles one at a time by journaling, talking with a friend, or working with a therapist. Identify what you need to do to dismantle, scale or get around this rock wall, and make a plan of small forward steps. Don’t forget that isolation is an obstacle to change, and be sure to ask for support from friends, family, 12-step or support groups, or professionals.