The Challenge of Change: Day 3 – Overcoming Barriers and Obstacles

Change is hard. We want to be successful so we need to plan for success. As part of that, we need to identify and prepare for obstacles along the way.  Examining reasons behind the behavior can give clues to some potential barriers to change. So, I encourage you to start by considering the reason for the behavior.  For example, as I thought about reasons that I procrastinate I came up with several contributing factors:

  • An “I don’t feel like it” attitude (with a hint of laziness served on the side)
  • Little perceived consequence for delaying what needs to be done
  • Fear – fear of initiating what needs to be done for the task, fear of the response, fear of failure, etc.
  • Desire for comfort – see item one

I’m sure there are other reasons, but you get the idea.  I realize this isn’t the fun part. No one likes looking at shortcomings. But, honesty is critical here if we want lasting change.

Once you have you have your reasons identified, it’s helpful to rescript your thinking.  This is part of overcoming barriers because your thoughts can be a significant barrier.  If you think your individual food choices aren’t really that important and you’re trying to change your eating, you’re going to struggle. Likewise, if I don’t see the significance of the tasks I need to accomplish, I’ll struggle to make them a priority.

Take time to brainstorm barriers and new responses.  I struggle to get up early in the morning which interferes with my goals.  So, I need to make sure I go to bed early enough to get adequate sleep.  I know that I struggle with “I don’t feel like it right now” so I need to rescript my thinking to something along these lines: I can do this even if I don’t feel like it.  I’ll be glad later because I’ll have time to play a game with my kids instead of working on it then. 

Hopefully you get the idea.  This can be a difficult and often overlooked part of the process.  But, it’s critical for long term success.  I pray that you’ll dig deep today so you’ll be ready for tomorrow’s discussion of incentives and rewards.

The Challenge of Change – Day 2

Day 2: Vision and Goals –

OK, so you’ve picked an area to work on.  So it’s time to set a goal and consider what you want your new behavior to look like.  Consider your motivation.  Consider the future.  Consider the benefits of achieving your goal.  Make lists if they’re helpful for you.  And be sure to write out your goal/s – ideally picking ones that are measureable and concrete.  For example, “eat healthier” is too vague.  What does that look like and how can you measure success?  Instead, “eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day” is a measureable goal that you can accomplish. 

Since I’m right there with you this week in taking the change, I’ll share how I’m working through the process and changing my procrastination habits:

Vision: To create more peace in my life.  (Feel free to elaborate on this for you situation… I didn’t want to bore you with mine.) 

Goal #1: Make a list of outstanding tasks that need to be completed. Each morning, work on one item for 20 minutes before I respond to email or engage in social media.

Goal #2: Every night before bed, spend 15 minutes doing housework/organizing.

Note: I can add to these goals as needed.

Benefits:

Honor God with my time and activities.

Reduce stress and “last minute” running around.

Create a more restful environment.

Increase productivity.

Free up time for quality family time and recreation.

Motivation:  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23

One final thought for today.  Be sure to consider if you’d benefit from seeking the help of a professional.  Depending on the behavior you want to change, you may want to see a licensed counselor, physical trainer, professional organizer,  a registered dietitian, etc.   Seek and use  outside resources if it’s appropriate to help you with your goals.