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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles to Making Changes in Your Life

In prior articles, I've discussed the challenges of making changes in your life--even changes that you really want (see my articles: Fear of Change, Standing at the Crossroad: Fear of Making Major Life Decisions,  Overcoming Resistance to Change,  Making Changes: One Step at a Time, Preparing Emotionally For Major Changes in Your Life, and Developing the Courage to Change).  In this article, I'm focusing on overcoming emotional obstacles that get in the way of making the changes that you want.

Overcoming Obstacles to Making Changes in Your Life

Change is inevitable in life--both wanted and unwanted change.  While it may be logical to you why you resist making changes that you don't want, it might not be so obvious why you're struggling to make changes that you do want.

Let's take a look at some of the most common obstacles to making changes:

Obstacles to Making Changes in Your Life
  • Unresolved Emotional Issues:  Unresolved emotional issues from childhood often get in the way of making changes.  If you have a longstanding belief that you're undeserving or incapable of having good things in your life, you're going to be in conflict with yourself about making changes that you want.  Similarly, if you feel powerless because of unresolved trauma, you will probably struggle to take the initiative to bring about change (see my articles: Understanding Why You're Affected By Trauma From a Long Time Ago and Overcoming Trauma: When the Past is in the Present,  ).
  • Negative Habits:  Unresolved emotional issues often develop into negative habits like: negative self talk, procrastination, disorganization and other similar habits.  These negative habits become so ingrained that it's often difficult for you to see them.  Even when you see them and want to change them, it can very challenging.  For example, if you grew up feeling that you don't deserve positive things in your life, one of your habits might be an internal critic that continues to reinforce these thoughts and feelings.  After a while, these thoughts and emotions can become beliefs that are hard to challenge (see my article:  Overcoming Habitual Negative Thinking and Making Changes: Overcoming the Inner Voice of Negative Prediction).
So, if these are the main obstacles to making changes, how do you overcome these obstacles?  Let's take a look:

Overcoming Obstacles to Making Changes in Your Life
  • Step Back From Your Unresolved Problems and Become Aware of Their Effect on You:  If you've grown up with certain negative beliefs about yourself, you might not even question whether they're true or not.  That's why it's so important to step back so you can become aware of how unresolved problems, especially longstanding problems, are affecting you.  Awareness and acknowledgement are the first steps.  This isn't about blaming your parents or yourself--it's about trying to be more objective.  And, once you've become aware of your problems and acknowledge them, consider whether there are things you can do now to try to resolve them (see my articles: Getting to Know the Only Person You Can Change: Yourself and Looking at Your Childhood Trauma From an Adult Perspective).
  • Be Honest With Yourself About Negative Habits:  Once you've gained some insight into your problems, be honest with yourself about the negative habits that you've developed due to your unresolved problems.  For instance, do you tend to procrastinate when you're fearful of undertaking a certain task or goal?  Does the negative voice inside your head convince you that it's not worth making the effort because you're only going to fail, so why even try?  Once again, this isn't about blame--its about acknowledging what is and trying to find a way to change it.  Maybe you can choose one negative habit that you would like to change and work on that rather than trying to change all your negative habits at once (see my articles: Overcoming ProcrastinationOvercoming the "I'm Too Old To Change" Mindset and Changing Coping Strategies That No Longer Work For You: Passive Behavior).
  • Re-evaluate the Negative People in Your Life:  When you think about who you let into your inner circle, do you have a lot of people who are reinforcing your already negative views about yourself?  In some ways, maybe you feel comfortable with these negative people because they reinforce your already negative views and also reinforce your propensity not to take risks.  But making changes often involves taking certain risks, so be honest with yourself as to how these people are affecting you.  This doesn't mean that you have to get rid of these people from your life (although you might decide to do that).  It could also mean that maybe they're not in the inner circle, and you include supportive people in your inner circle instead.
But you might take these steps and still feel like you're stuck in a rut (see my articles: Getting Out of a Rut - Part 1 and Getting Out of a Rut - Part 2: Taking Steps).  Then what?

It's possible that you might have unconscious thoughts and feelings that are getting in your way.  Since these thoughts and feelings are unconscious, it's hard to detect them on your own.  You might get glimpses of them in your dreams or even in your daydreams, but most of the time they will elude you (see my article: What Unconscious Decisions Have You Made That Are Impacting Your Life?An Unconscious Identification With a Loved One Can Create an Obstacle to ChangeUnderstanding the Different Aspects of Yourself That Make You Who You Are and Psychotherapy: Making the Unconscious Conscious).

Getting Help in Therapy
When you're trying to overcome obstacles to making changes in your life and you're unable to do it on your own, you could benefit from working with a skilled psychotherapist who has experience helping people to overcome these obstacles, especially ones that you're not aware of because they're unconscious (see my articles: The Benefits of Psychotherapy and How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

Overcoming Obstacles to Making Changes in Your Life: Getting Help in Therapy

A skilled therapist can help you to identify these obstacles and provide you with the tools to overcome them.

Rather than struggling on your own, getting help in therapy can help you to make positive changes in your life so that you can lead a happier and more meaningful life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

I have helped many clients to overcome the obstacles that are keeping them from maximizing their potential.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.










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