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10 Biggest Obstacles Keeping You From Making Change Successfully

10 Biggest Obstacles Keeping You From Making Change Successfully
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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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