There are many reasons why change can make us run for the hills, stemming from both our internal programming to the feeling that changing paths might prove more stressful than beneficial.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the self-limiting thoughts and behaviors which can prevent you from fulfilling your potential – and what you can do about it.
You don’t think you can change
This self-limiting belief frequently stems from low self-efficacy. All of us are capable of change, yet many of us suspect we may simply be ‘wired’ or predisposed to particular behaviors, however much they are negatively affecting our lives and careers.
While it is true that we are all indeed born with certain traits, some of which develop over time due to outside forces and our environments, we can all channel this energy into something positive and make beneficial changes.
Instead of thinking you can’t possibly change, consider what it is that you would change, if you could. Next, consider why it is you can’t (or won’t) change this aspect of yourself, and next – how a failure to change is negatively impacting your life. Lastly, consider why you believe that you, in particular can’t change. There are examples all around us of people who made huge alterations to their lives, and feel much better as a result.
Perhaps you want to improve your writing skills, wish you could be more assertive at work, or want to learn how to code. Whether a practical skill or something more esoteric, there’s always room for growth. Once you’ve decided what you want to focus on, find avenues for making the change. Signing up for an online course or a night class is a simple first step. You never know where it could take you!
You confuse familiarity with security
The things we’re used to are not necessarily the things which bring us the most security or happiness. Yet all too often, a familiar situation – however flawed or upsetting – is considered to be preferable to ‘the great unknown.’ There is comfort in the familiar, but it rarely leads to advancement to any higher level.
If you find yourself indulging in self-limiting behaviors out of a fear that your familiar situation may be impacted upon, it’s time to step out of this particular box and begin looking at change as an opportunity for growth and new possibilities.
One way to handle this belief is to change only one thing at a time, rather than committing to multiple new changes all at once. You could find that once you’re over the first crucial hurdle, subsequent and necessary change feels empowering, rather than terrifying.
You believe you’re already fully developed
Whether in your professional or personal life, this belief is a surefire way to inhibit your growth. Sometimes, it stems from a sense that there are no more things to overcome or reach for, as you are already in the best possible state of mind and position. Other times, this belief comes from self-limiting notions about being “fully cooked” once you’ve reached a certain age.
If everything is currently going well in your life, that’s fantastic! But sometimes it is precisely at times such as this that you have the opportunity to truly engage with making more positive changes, which will either work to safeguard your contentment, or open up new possibilities for you that you might not have thought possible.
Sometimes it’s difficult to be honest enough with ourselves to admit that we all need a little fine-tuning. Still, the results of doing so can be tremendous.
You think you don’t have time
Busy schedules sometimes get the better of all of us. With so many things to do and only so many hours in a day, it’s easy to slip into thinking you don’t have time for making those all-important changes which could improve your life.
Many of us are naturally programmed to stick to a schedule once we’ve put one in place, and stepping outside of this, even if you know what’s on the other side might be wonderful, can add a layer of stress which those low on time don’t have the energy for.
Instead of considering the things you want to change as outside forces seeking to sap your time, consider how making a few key changes could actually help you get more from your days. Learning a new skill could help boost your productivity. Setting a new goal might help you seek out new career opportunities. Time spent on self-development and growth is never wasted, so look at where you can cut out superfluous activities and use the time you have to fuel positive change.