There are many reasons it can be difficult. Sometimes it isn’t clear what change should be made. You may know you don’t like things the way they are, but you also have trouble seeing how they could be different. Sometimes you may know what changes need to be made, you just don’t have an understanding of how to make them. You may feel you lack the skills or resources or support.
Other times the needed changes are completely obvious. It isn’t that you don’t know what to do. It isn’t that you don’t know how to do it. It is that you just can’t make yourself take that first step. You may almost feel paralyzed when you think of trying to implement your desired changes.
One of the reasons we don’t make changes is that although the situation looks like we’d be better after the change on the surface, in reality our current situation is giving us other benefits that we don’t want to give up. Sometimes we know those benefits and sometimes we don’t. We just subconsciously know them and it holds us back.
Fear is another big block. Fear that we will not successfully make the change. Fear that we will make the wrong change. Fear that others won’t like the changes we make. Even fear that if we succeed it will increase expectations of us and the fear that we can’t meet those new expectations. Sometimes we can’t even pinpoint the fear.
The trouble with fear, as I’ve said before, is that it has the ability to make us worry more than the actual consequences of what we fear warrants. It is easy to catastrophize and imagine all kinds of terrible out comes that are extremely unlikely or even impossible. That is when we confuse fear with risk. Risk is the assessment of what is truly at stake. Fear is what our emotions try to tell us is at stake. They often are very different.
Another common issue is misplaced obligations. In other words, it is when we are more concerned about our obligations to others than we are to ourselves. I’m not talking about being willing to go out of our way to make someone happy or treating others well. I mean when we sacrifice our core values or make choices that are detrimental to ourselves out of a need to manage other people’s emotions.
The truth is that we are all responsible for our own emotions. It is not your job to manage the emotions of other people. If you are acting in an honest, respectful way and make changews that are in your best interest, other people may be hurt, sad, angry, disappointed or some other emotion. That’s okay. They have a right to have those emotions. And no matter what you’ve been told or what you believe, it isn’t your job to protect people from their own emotions.
If you are feeling stuck and unable to make the changes you want to make, take time to think about why. And remember, all the planning in the world won’t make a difference unless you take a chance on change.