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10 Biggest Obstacles Keeping You From Making Change Successfully

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10 Biggest Obstacles Keeping You From Making Change Successfully

Your life does not better by chance, it gets better by change. — Jim Rohn

So true, yet it is much easier said than done. There are many times in life where we wonder how on earth we ended up in such a miserable situation. What is even more miserable is the inability to break out of the mess. The light is clearly at the end of the tunnel, but we are not moving at all. Becoming aware of the obstacles that keep us from making change makes an incredible difference. Here are 10 obstacles that will hold you back from making change successfully:

1. Facing the Unknown.

We become comfortable with what is familiar. Even when it is detrimental to us, we are drawn toward what we already know. Change will challenge us to step out and break free from our comfort zone. Push through the barrier of the unknown through creating a vision for what you desire. Make it so real that your mind cannot tell the difference.

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2. The Need for Instant Gratification.

In our “microwave culture” we expect to always see immediate results. As technology puts everything at our fingertips, we crave the same ability in other areas of life. Change does not have to be instant. Rather than try to go from black to white, do not forget about the grey area in between. Work on making incremental change rather than drastic change. Take baby steps.

3. Misinformation and Getting the Wrong Advice.

Receiving the wrong advice can really mess up your attempts to change. You may be doing everything right in terms of researching and gathering the knowledge needed to make some shifts in your life, but you could be getting them from all the wrong sources. Be careful about who you allow to speak into your life. Even people you look up to and respect may not be the right people to get advice from.

4. Pressure to Conform.

We are naturally inclined toward being in community. The need to belong. However, this can become adverse to change when the community you are in is not bringing you toward your goals. Start to explore different social groups and search for like-minded people that share your interests.

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5. Overthinking your Goal.

Carefully thinking through your next big change is a good thing, until it becomes the only thing. We can spend so much time aiming but never firing. In order not to be paralyzed by this obstacle, be sure that you are regularly taking action on your plans. Think, but also do.

6. Limited Finances.

It is very true that if money was not an issue, we would all be living the dream. Money can provide a real sense of comfort and security, but it can also be a major obstacle holding back change. It may be necessary to take a little bit of a pay-cut in order for change to happen. On the other hand, you may need to begin setting some money aside and make little sacrifices- maybe one less mocha a day.

7. Questioning your Abilities.

Stop doubting yourself! You need to give yourself a little more credit about your ability to make change happen. Trust that not a single door closes without another door opening. If you are still alive and breathing, you still have the ability to make changes happen. Do no let doubt cripple you. Believe. Have some faith.

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8. Being Indecisive.

Constantly changing your mind is a guaranteed way to choke out any change. You may take one step in one direction, only to stop and take another step in an entirely different direction. Ultimately, you just end up going around in circles and not making any progress. Make a decision, commit to it- at least long enough to see whether it is the right decision.

9. Trying to Live up to Family Expectations.

This one is tough, we all love our family and respect their opinions. But their opinions may very well the the obstacle keeping you from change. They may get frustrated at the choices you make, but express to your family how painful it is for you not to make the change.

10. Your Pride & Status.

Nobody likes admitting to pride- but that is just being prideful. Change may mean that you have to give up all of the ‘status’ that you worked so hard to gain. That takes humility, the opposite of pride. There is no doubt that you have worked very hard to gain the respect and position that you find yourself in, but ultimately, if there is no fulfillment in that role, it is time to take the exit.

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Lastly, if you are standing on the edge and struggling to take that leap toward making the much needed change in your life, let this well known quote motivate you,

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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Thai Nguyen

Thai's a Mindfulness-Meditation Coach, a 5-Star Chef and an International Kickboxer.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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