Moving Beyond Barriers to Change
by: Mel Morris
There are constantly things we need to change in our life, yet we keep finding arguments to hang on to the old.
Why do we fight so hard for what’s hurting us?
There are a lot of reasons we avoid change or pretend we don’t see the need for it, but what about when we know it’s time for something new?
There’s no one size fits all answer here, so I’m going to group together the 3 main problems I see women facing once a change is smacking us in the face.
Motivation is the first problem I personally face when it’s time for something new.
I like to think of myself as an intelligent woman, capable of some beautiful shit. Yet the idea of getting started on something new parks me on the couch with Netflix faster than the Roadrunner avoiding an Acme bomb.
The Motivation Problem comes in when we know "things have to change" but knowing it's time and knowing how to start, are 2 completely different things.
Another problem I see with changing is when we lose our way. These are the times that we get started on the change, maybe we start losing weight or start creating a business out of that side hustle.
We get excited because we've waited so long and now we're ready. We made a starting plan and now we’re doing it!
Yay! Look at us go!
And then a week or a month goes by and we see a little progress, but not nearly as much as we planned for. This is taking way too long for results.
Now that excitement that was driving us has turned stale or this new thing we planned for is harder than we thought. So we stop, or “Pause” until we can rethink how to move forward. This is The Boredom Problem.
The third problem I've seen a lot lately in the women around me is The Perfection Problem. It starts out like the Boredom Problem and then gets a little too personal.
Here we are, ready and excited about making a change because it’s so overdue, we know it. So we make a plan on exactly how to start. We probably even make a plan for every single step, from beginning to end.
Plan in hand, we start moving and seeing results. Now, unlike the Boredom Problem where we lose interest at this point, in the Perfection Problem, doubt starts to creep in. Our overprotective mind begins to tell us that what we've already created isn't good enough.
It might sound a little like this, "It's a good start, but you need just a little something more for it to be perfect." Or sometimes it sounds like, “I see what you’re trying to do but something's missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it… why don’t you join another 30-Day Bootcamp or 12-month mastermind and see how the Experts do it?”
I'm going to interject here with one of my favorite sayings. "Anything before BUT is bullshit." Meaning anything you said or tried to argue before the but was just fluff to soften what you really want to say, which comes after.
Here, we’re nicely belittling ourselves by saying it's a good start but bitch you're not ready!
Now you're in a tailspin because once you believe what came after the but, nothing you produce will be good enough. Every time you bump up against resistance, your lizard brain that's trying to keep you safe, is going to sorry not sorry you into retreating back to safety.
And though I'm not going to dive into how hard it is to step out of safety for those of us who have been through severely unsafe situations in life, I have to pause for the survivors here.
I need to remind you that no matter how healed you may feel, you have to acknowledge the extra layer of bullshit you'll have to wade through, when intentionally stepping outside of your new-found comfort zone.
Ok great! So you’re saying I should just stay under the covers and take whatever life throws at me? Absolutely not! I'm guessing you've already done too much of that, just like I have.
Now's the time to acknowledge that if you are not making the choice to change, you've made the choice to stay in your problem or pain.
Ouch! I know that's gonna sting a little but this isn't about being comfortable anymore. This is about being the best version of you possible.
"Badasses don't get to stay comfy."
So what can you do?
The 1st and hardest thing you can do is admit that it's past time for this change in your life.
Write down what needs to change and then list all the things you've chosen, instead of changing.
This is going to make you a little mad at yourself at first. Hopefully, it will also make you laugh at the lengths you’ve gone to, trying not to change.
Here’s a peek at just page 1 of the choices I made to not lose weight and get healthier.
There are 3 important things I want to point out here.
With your list done, look at all these other things you've done instead of changing and see if there's a pattern or a go-to excuse you use to avoid change. Highlight those for you to remember later. (*Water)
Read each choice again and this time, write down a small act you could do instead.
Now that you know what the excuses are to avoid and have some alternatives should they come up, it's time to ask yourself why you truly want this change.
Yes, maybe you want to fit back into some old jeans or you want to make a little money on the side. I'm going to guess though, this change stems from something a lot more important to you.
Maybe you want your knees to feel better when you get up in the morning, or you want to feel more confident about how you look in the mirror. Maybe this side hustle business you want to start is really a passion you have or a way to express your creativity.
Sit quietly and go as deep as you can to ask yourself:
Write down what you felt as personal statements for yourself like:
“Creating my art is important because I deserve to express myself through beauty only I can create.”
“I will feel like J-Lo at the Grammy’s when I see myself in that green, v-neck dress and runway walk to my reunion party” (*Earth)
Now take 3 slow, deep belly breaths and imagine yourself in the midst of this change. See yourself at different phases between where you are now and where you'll be once you've changed.
Make it fun and light. Come up with various ways you might get past some hurdles or excuses. Envision yourself pushing through. (*Air)
Last but certainly not least, start taking action! (*Fire)
No more excuses, your problems don't need to be problematic anymore. You've got this!
* For tips on connecting these exercises to the elements so they’re easier to remember, check out this Quick Tip List.
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