Have you tried to make a change and fallen short of your goal repeatedly? Have you been thinking about changing, but you can’t seem to move past the point of contemplation? Do you just feel stuck and don’t know how to "unstick" yourself?
The good news is that this is all part of the change process. The bad news is, this can be frustrating and it can be easy to take that frustration out on yourself through negative self talk.
The great news is: Therapy can help. And since my specialty is helping people move through change and choose change, I thought I
would share some of the common reasons I see folks getting “stuck” when trying to make long-lasting changes:
You think you’re going to fail, and that is scary. Makes sense right? Why would you want to try something that you “know” you will fail at? Here’s the thing though… failure becomes a lot less overwhelming and scary when we detach our sense of self-worth from our attempt’s success or failure. In other words it’s not the act of failing that is threatening to us, it’s how we perceive that failure to be a reflection of our worth that is threatening. So begin to detach yourself from the narrative that your worth is correlated to your successes and failures. When my worth feels threatened, I like to soothe myself with this reminder: “My worth is my worth is my worth. It does not change”.
You’re afraid to succeed. Ah, didn’t see that one coming, did ya? This is a tricky one but hear me out. If we succeed, then the perceived new standard we have to meet is higher than it was before. That is scary! Reaching a goal that you spent lots of time, energy and money on is great, until the dreaded question: what now? pops in your head. Detaching our sense of worth from concepts like success or achieving is as helpful here as it is for detaching our worth from failure. Remember: your worth is your worth is your worth. It does not change.
You're experiencing grief or anticipatory grief. Change comes with loss. All change. Even change we invited and wanted. It’s important to recognize that, honor that and give yourself time to mourn that loss. This will help you find closure and readiness to move forward. Ask yourself what will I lose if I pursue and achieve this change? How can I honor that? And if appropriate How can I replace that which will be lost?
You don’t have the tools for change. Change is hard. Long-lasting change is even harder. It may take a few attempts at change to recognize the tools you need to embark and stay on a new path. Take comfort in knowing that every time you attempt to change and fail, you're gaining indispensable knowledge, data and evidence that will support you in the next attempt.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the reasons why choosing and creating change is difficult, but by working with a therapist who specializes in change you can begin to explore the obstacles you face on your road to choosing differently. A therapist can help you identify why you are “stuck” and help you choose differently so that change becomes possible, probable and long-lasting.
This space between what was and what will be is right now. You get to decide how to use this space, and I’m here to help you. Let’s choose change. Let’s choose courage. Let’s choose healing.