Have you ever tried to make a change in your life such as losing weight, ending your stress and anxiety ways, starting a new career etc, and never really felt like you completed the job? Of course you have, and so have I. The important thing here is to recognize which one of the 7 obstructions to change you are consistently running into, and how it’s creating a roadblock on your way to your goals.
So let’s find out what these 7 obstructions to creating change are:
No clear mission. These people do not have a mission in life (a sentence or two about who they are and what they stand for) or a clear picture and understanding of what they want to achieve. This is an obstruction you will need to tackle at an early stage because of the importance of knowing exactly what you will be aiming for.
Lack of clarity. Some people will appear to have several different and even apparently contradictory goals. If this person lacks conviction when discussing a goal, or sounds unsure about why he/she wants to achieve it in the first place, they may need to delve a little deeper. Consider whether the goal actually belongs to your partner, parent, boss or other significant influence. These people should be encouraged to define their own goals and think about how they will benefit when these goals are achieved.
Martyrdom. Some clients insist on putting themselves last. Their goals are all about other people, and how they will benefit when the other person reaches ‘their’ goals. These people may need to spend some time reframing – which means learning to look at the situation from a different perspective. Many life coaches like to remind these people of the airline rule that to ensure their children have a good chance of survival they have to put their own mask on first. Only then can the parent truly take care of the child, placing his oxygen mask on and attending to his other needs.
The grand old age problem. Many people feel that their age is a barrier to achieving their goals. They will say they are either too old or too young. This is an understandable concern – and they are right to the extent that they may well need to consider their age as they plan their way ahead. However, you can slowly bring these people around to the idea that age need not be a barrier to achieving their goals. They can begin by helping themselves to set small, short-term goals that are relatively easy to achieve, and then move on to medium and long-term goals as the person’s confidence in their abilities grows.
Family responsibilities. Many people have considerable family responsibilities. They may feel trapped or weighed down by them, for instance ‘I hate my job, but I can’t leave, because we need the money.’ Some people use family commitments as an excuse not to achieve their goals without having to look at their underlying fears (such as fear of failure) or self-limiting beliefs. Again, this may call for some reframing so that the person looks at what their family will gain once they achieves their goals, rather than what they will lose.
In the case of John, who felt trapped in his engineering job, for instance, the life coach helped him to see that his family would benefit in many ways if he found a job he enjoyed more. John had long harboured a dream of being a teacher. He and the life coach set out a long-term plan that would help him to achieve his goal while still providing for his family. This included attending evening classes for two years to obtain A’levels, and then attending college part-time for a further three years to achieved a Bachelor of Education. The final three years of his training were covered by a government grant, and although the family had to make some financial sacrifices, because he was only working four days a week instead of five, John realised that his greater sense of well-being and improved family.
Taking on too much work. Some people seem unable to say no to other people’s demands. Others take on too much work because they like to be seen as a hero. They get great satisfaction from sacrificing themselves to a greater cause – especially when others recognise how hard they are working. People who regularly take on too much work find it difficult to pause and think – ‘what do I really want to achieve?’ If these people are unable to say ‘no’ they may benefit from training in assertiveness. ‘Heroic’ clients can be encouraged to find other ways of achieving the same sense of satisfaction – preferably through achieving their own goals.
Running on the treadmill. These people are in a rut and cannot see a way out. One reason may be that they have been taught from an early age that they should not complain, but should be happy with their lot. Another reason might be that it has always seemed simpler to leave things as they are rather than risk all that change and face the prospect of something going wrong. We can help these people in several ways. First by helping them to see how much energy they waste simply trying to keep things ‘as they are’ and second by encouraging them to explore all of the options open to them in a realistic and non-threatening way.
In the end, we tolerate things we do not like, simply because it is easier. But all these things drain our energy, and mean that it is not available to put into things we really enjoy. They reduce the day-to-day quality of our lives. You, are more than this, you have a gift that no one else has and it’s your job to find that and share it.
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