Sometimes we go through our daily lives often feeling like there is something missing. We begin to notice that we could be doing better in our careers, or relationships, our health and our relationships with ourselves. It could be things like arguing with those closest to us, or perhaps just general irritability. We might feel unfulfilled with what we are doing for a living. Often there is a just a sense that more is available to us, but it’s just slightly out of reach.
Perhaps we just want to feel more confident in our decisions, or like the person in the mirror a little better. Personal change is a broad topic and for centuries teachers and gurus have expanded on theories and thoughts to try to help people. Finally, one day we pick up a book and try to set a course for ourselves. Some commit to exercising every day, telling our partner we love them, or just being friendlier. Before we are really able to make that important change for the better, however, we trip and fall.
Hindrances and challenges
As we charge out of the gate toward self-improvement, we trip and fall. Many times we don’t foresee some of the hurdles that stand right in front of us, or the fact that those hurdles exist because of our habits. It can often be a catch 22. You have habits that you want to change, but those habits may in fact be what trip you up. We all have cognitive blinders and misconceptions. Now we are going to talk about some of them and how to get over them as hurdles.
Pride gets in our way quite often. You might ask how it can hinder your growth once you commit to change. More often than not, we need help to change, but our pride will not allow us to ask for it. Regardless of the change you’re trying to make in your life, you are probably going to need help. For example, perhaps you feel like you’re drinking too much caffeine. You can help yourself out by asking your domestic partner not to make a full pot of coffee or buy that six pack of soda. Then you have made a step and asked for help. Many people will not do that though, because their pride gets in the way, preventing them from asking for help.
Perhaps it’s a larger goal, and you would like to control your anger, lose weight, or eat more nutritiously. Again, it would probably help to let others know that you’re trying to change. That may not be an easy thing to do, but a support system is important. They can talk you out of going to a fast food place for lunch or gently point out to you that you are getting tense or go with you to the gym as a work out partner. This way you are acknowledging an area where you can improve and stating that you want to take steps to do so, and that you may need some help. In the end, you are letting go of the egocentric pride that stands in the way and building a healthier sense of pride by being able to admit that you aren’t perfect.
One of the tallest hurdles in making personal changes and growing is that we forget that it is a journey and a mission to build a better you. Like anything you build, you should start off with a plan or a blueprint that has measurable steps and accomplishments. One does not often just throw a bag in the car and take off, or hop on a plane without a plan or itinerary.
Personal growth is no different. It doesn’t matter if you want to improve your self-esteem, anger management or confidence, or if you want to make physical changes by getting in shape, building stamina, or improving your eating habits. In order to make positive changes, you need a plan with a beginning, an outlined approach, measurable steps to gauge your progress, and a final point where you can look at yourself and say, “Hey, I did that!”
Let’s say that you find yourself screaming at other drivers, and a little voice from your child in the back seat asks why you are yelling like that. You feel ashamed, and in that moment, you decide to change. Or you step on the scale, only to see something you hate, or perhaps your pants are a little tighter; you immediately resolve to change. Of course, the next day, you’re alone in the car, someone cuts you off, and you throw a temper tantrum.
Change is not something that people welcome even if it is something that they need to do and have declared they will do. Jumping onto a new course is not like going to the amusement park or the movies, or eating that scone. It is not something that one does with happy and joyous expectations. Committing to change also means committing to changing the way you think. You have to change the way that you look at the workouts, healthy foods, controlling your anger, or whichever area that you’re trying to improve. Don’t view these as chores or as something that makes you cringe, but as a positive investment in a better you.
It isn’t easy. It’s not like flipping a switch and suddenly you’re habitual way of thinking has changed. Instead, take a deep breath, create an image of a calm driver, a slimmer, healthier you, or a happy relationship with your partner. Start with that image, and then change your mindset. Soon the hurdle of a negative or just irritable mindset dissolves.
Believing in personal growth
Personal growth is always worth the commitment, but too often we allow our preconceived notions of how it should be difficult, to block us, hinder our change, and take us off of the course which we value. By recognizing these three simple hurdles, you will be much more prepared to make the changes that you want in your life.