The 5 Most Common Barriers To Change

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 22nd Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Recovery & Coping

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, and the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.” ― Katharine Hepburn, Me: Stories of My Life

Choices: Make Changes or Remain the Same

Each day we have choices in how to behave, think and feel about our lives. We also have the choice to remain the same or change. However, we create barriers to change on occasion, even when we realize that a change is necessary.

One problem is that changes create discomfort, especially a new behavior, thought or feeling, compounded since we do not know the outcomes of these changes. We often experience a heightened sense of anxiety or apprehension when we think about changing. A simple way to decide your willingness to change, regardless of your feelings, is to ask two questions:

• “Are the risks of staying the same greater than the discomfort of changing?”
• “Am I willing to experience uneasiness or anxiety while changing?”

Evaluating the Risks and Discomforts

When you identify and evaluate the risks of staying the same using a simple 1-10 scale, it helps you see your choices numerically reducing the issues to a common element. Conversely, assign a value to your perception of discomfort that you will experience in changing. These do not have to correspond to the Risk issue; however, you can attach your feelings of discomfort at those issues as well.

Even knowing the risks, people continue to create barriers to change. Here are the five most common barriers. When you can identify with any of the following descriptors of barriers to change, there are also a few suggestions for overcoming the specific barrier.

Do not stop with this. Research your options, seek out others in a similar situation, and ask for help with the changes. Each person has unique barriers to change; however, there are five that are common for most of us. What are yours?

Blaming Others

One of the most difficult barriers for people to overcome when changing is getting focused on other people and how much they need to change, how much they have hurt the individual, or how much of the situation is their fault. Without absolving anyone for their responsibilities in your current situation, your primary focus should be on the changes you need to make.

Fears: The Unknown and Our Ability to Change

More often than not, when people start focusing on changing, they start predicting and assuming the outcomes – “If I do this, then that will happen”. Given that none of us can predict the future, invariably the apprehension about the future spirals into the “What Ifs”.

What if I don’t like the changes?
• What if I don’t make the changes fast enough?
• What if my changes aren’t successful the first time?
• What if I can’t correct a situation?
• What if my family is still mad at me even when I change?
• What if I make a situation worse?


Rather than focus on the “What ifs” concerning the future, consider if you are more afraid of staying the same or changing. Staying the same typically means that you will continue experiencing the same types of outcomes. The choice is to condemn you to the misery of your addiction or risk changing and receiving different outcomes.

Arrogance

Too often people rely on their intellect believing that they are smart enough to accomplish change without asking for directions specific to recovery. If you consider recovery as a new subject or skill, it can remove some of the false belief that you ought to know what to do. The reality is that while you may be intelligent, most people do not intuitively know how to do things well the first few times they attempt something. Think about the following. Do you know how to:

• Effectively Deal With Cravings
• Trust Others
• Rebuild a relationship with Family and Friends
• Change Self-defeating Behaviors, Thoughts and Attitudes
• Stop Blaming others
• Develop healthy coping skills
• Process issues


If you discover that you do not know how to accomplish positive results for the issues in the list, use your intelligence wisely and ask for help, guidance or instructions from people who do know.

Mistrusting the Process of Change

Trusting stranger’s advice feels foolish; after all, most people in the drug lifestyle were not trustworthy. Therefore, a certain cynicism and mistrust cloud most of your encounters with people trying to help you in early recovery. Learn to separate your feelings when you listen to advice. It is okay to ask someone if their help comes from education, personal knowledge or observation, without challenging their help.

When you find that they have worked in this field for multiple years or are in recovery themselves, common sense tells you that they may have some solutions to your problems. Furthermore, most people do not want to give directions, suggestions or information that proves incorrect; after all, that would mean that they were wrong.

Therefore, dropping your guard, listening to advice, following the directions and then deciding if you like the outcomes will help teach you which people are trustworthy. With this information, it is easier to ask for help from or seek their guidance the next time you are uncertain.

Uncertain Rewards for Changing

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that you will win the Mother of the Year Award now that you are in recovery, nor that you will win the girl because you are now taking a shower every day. There are still uncertainties in recovery; however, there are more opportunities for better outcomes than in active addiction.

When you realize how many opportunities you have squandered in your addiction, it makes sense that if you are not using, are invested in your recovery and changing those aspects of yourself that prevented you from capitalizing on opportunities, then the rewards will come.

Just as importantly, there are self-defeating behaviors besides using that prevented your from realizing positive rewards. Here is a partial list that might help you see where simple changes in behaviors, thoughts and attitudes could positively influence your recovery and life. For most of us, it was the simple changes, which showed us that by doing something concrete, then evaluating the outcomes; we were motivated to make more changes.

Simple Changes - Uncommon Opportunities

I would challenge you to use several of the either/or from the image for two weeks and evaluate the differences. Remember, you always have a choice, whether it is blaming them or being personally responsible, demonstrating resistance to directions, or listening and following through, thinking that you know it all, to humility in asking when you are confused.

With each subsequent change that you make in your recovery that benefits your life in a positive way, it will get easier to make the next change.




For additional articles on Addiction and Recovery by Marilyn Davis

Each person has a unique perspective on addiction and recovery. Writing about your experiences may just be the encouragement that someone else needs to recover. Consider writing on Wikinut to spread the word that recovery is possible. It may just be your experiences that encourage someone else to embrace recovery.

Credits
Breaking Through: Wikimedia Commons
Evaluating the Risks and Discomforts, Stay the Same or Change, Change From-To: all images by Marilyn Davis
Guarded Man: Pixabay

Tags

Addiction And Changes, Addicts And Change, Alcoholics And Change, Attitudes About Change, Barriers To Change, Break Down The Barriers To Change, Change, Early Recovery Lessons, Life Changes

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Steve, thank you for moderating and the star. Hope you are well. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Helen Thomas
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Great article containing good info for almost any of life's many challenges. Thanks for sharing ~ Marilyn. Blessings.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Helen; although much of the focus is on addiction/recovery, the attitudes and options for change are there in all of us. Thanks for your comments and observations. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Change is hard. I'm proud of you. Great article.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Good evening, Phyl; thanks. Are we still sharing each other's articles on Twitter? I need to get back in the habit and get a lot of article reading caught up this weekend...yours are definitely on the to do list....~Marilyn

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author avatar snerfu
23rd Jul 2014 (#)

Hello Ms Davis, You have depicted the moods of the mind very succinctly. It will undoubtedly help many people who are as yet struggling to find meaning in life. Nice article as usual.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
23rd Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Snerfu; thank you. I hope it does prompt some to examine their reasons for not changing. I appreciate the comment and observation. ~Marilyn

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author avatar snerfu
23rd Jul 2014 (#)

Hello Ms Davis, You have depicted the moods of the mind very succinctly. It will undoubtedly help many people who are as yet struggling to find meaning in life. Nice article as usual.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
23rd Jul 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Snerfu; thank you. Yes, we have moods of the mind - I like that phrasing, Snerfu. May have to use it. Thanks for your addition to the article. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Margaret Michel
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Interesting piece! Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Good morning, Margaret; I appreciate the comment. Thanks~Marilyn

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author avatar Retired
20th Jul 2015 (#)

Sometimes change is inevitable, and sometimes it is far away...

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