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Don’t Let These Things Drive You Off Your Path to Positive Change

by Feb 3, 2024

Healing, changing, evolving, however you’d like to view it, is a long road.

A person who’s making an honest attempt to heal from their past and change life will encounter hazards.

Here’s a list of obstacles you’ll run into if you’re on the path of positive change and how you can navigate around them to get where you’re trying to go.

1. What We’ve Always Done (Habits)

Your mode of being, your habits, and any beliefs you feel are so ingrained in you that they might as well be stone can be changed.

What you’ve always done does not have to define what you’ll do in the future.

If you can drive the slightest wedge between yourself and the habits you’d like to change, then you can bring yourself forward over time.

Your worst habits might still feel like home. So, to make sure that your old habits don’t drag you away from your positive changes, you need to recognize when you’re being tempted by them.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • You always find a way to justify why you can’t exercise. Recognize this, and ask yourself if you have a valid excuse.
  • You struggle with an addictive habit, and you don’t care to explore its origins or take steps to distance yourself from your triggers. Ask yourself how much longer you can go on living with this problem. Who else is it affecting?
  • You always assume people are out to get you, even when you don’t have much evidence to support it. Check yourself to see if these suspicions are justified.

Standing adjacent to your habits and refusing them can make you feel like you’re in an empty, painful place. But when you replace the negative with the new and positive, you can start becoming satisfied with a new way of being, even if it takes a long time.

2. Old Friends and Bad Environments

Positive change ultimately comes down to individual actions and choices.

However, it is profoundly easier to try to change in an environment that facilitates positive change. What that means is this: There could be people or situations in your life that don’t serve you anymore. 

There could be friends you’ve known for years that you’re now outgrowing. There could still be those same environments that are fun for a while, but you always end up miserable in the end because they cause you to relapse into old habits.

You don’t have to cut people off entirely (unless you think it’s necessary for your well-being). But you should become mindful of the effect people are having on you and how it impacts your progress.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do the people around me support my desire to change, or do they mock and feel threatened by it?
  • When I make progress, do my friends celebrate with me?
  • Do I feel more tempted to drop my new ways when I’m around certain people or in specific situations?

If you’re trying to change, then you should be more selective about how you spend your time and who you spend it with.

3. Distractions and Numbness

When we’re in chronic pain, we gravitate toward anything that will alleviate it for a little while.

There’s a difference between indulging in something out of a genuine desire to enjoy life and doing it to forget reality or numb pain.

And it’s no secret that the world is built for this now.

If your vice isn’t drugs, alcohol, or gambling, it could simply be drowning in YouTube videos, social media, or any other distraction that is always free and readily available.

In our least distracted moments, those moments we are left to sit with ourselves while we’re trying to fall asleep, wait in line, or eat dinner, we try to find ways to fill the void. Next time, don’t.

Sit with what you’re feeling. Try to understand where the pain is coming from. Try to soothe yourself like a kind friend and not with a substance or a vice. Do this as often as you can. Practice it. And things can get better.

4. Avoiding the Scary Things

In the gap between who you are now and who you wish to be, you get a lot of chances to be courageous.

You promise yourself that you’ll change, and you know you’re capable of doing so. In those moments, you feel like you can take on the world.

But when it comes time to act, you say, “I don’t need to do this yet,” or “I’m not ready,” or “It’s just not a good time.” Every time you do this, you let yourself down a little bit.

You carve away the conviction you had toward believing that change was possible. It’s knowing that you’re capable and avoiding change in any way that undermines your self-belief.

You put yourself at risk of falling into a pattern of constant self-discouragement, which is a recipe for pain and self-destruction.

Soon enough, you realize that the shame that comes from not trying to change is worse than any pain that could come from doing what you need to do.

The Compass on the Path to Positive Change: KAIZEN

Kaizen is a Japanese concept that means continuous improvement.

Typically associated with business practices, it can also apply to any great task, positive change being one of them.

Continuous improvement does not mean taking colossal steps. It means inches. It means moving just a little bit forward every single day.

These self-investments compound over time, and the results can be enormous.

You should feel good about any step forward. No matter how small, just as long as you made the effort to do it.

  • You got up 15 minutes earlier.
  • You ran half a mile.
  • You talked to a new person.
  • You had two drinks instead of five.

With Kaizen, you can have faith that your small, doable actions are making a difference because they are.

Day by day, little by little, is all you need to focus on.