How many barriers are there to personal growth? Which ones have the greatest effect on your ability to create positive change in your life? Once you become aware of your personal roadblocks, you’ll be in an excellent position to overcome them. Let’s look at some possible contenders.
1. Loosely defined goals. Setting goals is such a fundamental part of personal growth and achievement. Sounds basic, I know, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone already knows what they want. I’ve found over and over again that vague, undefined goals are the norm rather than the exception. There are several factors that can keep you from defining exactly what you want. But regardless of the exact reason, if we can’t accurately define our goals, what chance do we have of actually achieving them?
People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going. ~Earl Nightingale
A high degree of focus is required to create a new desired outcome. If all you have is a vague idea of what you want, then what is there to focus on? Lack of focus is a common roadblock to personal growth and it can leave you feeling like your efforts never produce the results you were hoping for. If you are going to set goals, make sure you take the time define them so you have something to focus on.
2. Current status unknown. Once you know where you want to go, it is vital that you accurately and honestly assess exactly where you are right now. If you don’t know where you are in relation to where you want to be, how will you be able to gauge your progress?
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. ~Lewis Carroll
Without honest self evaluation you will be like a ship without a rudder, adrift in an ocean of busy work or procrastination. You’ll be doing a lot, but accomplishing very little. You can avoid this roadblock to personal growth by taking inventory of your current situation so that you have an accurate picture of where you are.
3. Focusing on what you don’t want. In an effort to avoid problems we can easily end up putting our focus on the outcomes we want to avoid. Because the mind is only creative, it will always try to attract or create the object of our focus. This is true even when it is something we are trying to avoid. Can you see why it is so important for positive personal growth to focus on what you want, and take your mind off of what you don’t want?
Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve. ~Wilfred Peterson
Obviously, we need to be aware of possible pitfalls and steer clear of them, but our primary focus needs to be in the direction we want to go. This sounds easy, but the fear of failing or of making a costly mistake can act like a powerful emotional magnet that captures our attention in subtle ways. Learning to master your focus is the best way to avoid avoid the roadblock of creating what you don’t want.
4. Internal conflict. Of all the possible roadblocks to personal growth, this is the one that can sabotage your effort without you even knowing what happened. If we haven’t taken the time to discover our deepest personal standards and values then we are vulnerable to this kind of inner disharmony.
To create internal harmony we must live and act in harmony with our core values, but we can’t do that if we don’t know what those values are. In my coaching practice this is an area that I pay careful attention to, especially if there seems to be some self sabotaging tendencies.
The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and himself. ~Garth Brooks
The best way to avoid this roadblock to your personal growth is to analyze you deepest core values and make sure that everything you do is in harmony with them. In Find Your TRUE SELF there are several exercises that walk you through the process of creating internal harmony.
5. Limiting or obsolete beliefs. In particular, I am referring to your beliefs about what you think you are or are not capable of, and what you think you do or do not deserve. It is through the window of these beliefs that we form our self image and try to make sense out of the things going on around us. We also use them to form assumptions about likely future results. These beliefs may have been established during childhood and have now outlived their usefulness. Others may be leftover from situations and circumstances that are no longer relevant.
For continued personal growth, it is important that we evaluate our beliefs regularly to see if they are serving us or holding us back. There are two formidable problems with limiting beliefs. First of all, these beliefs often operate on a subconscious level, screened of from our conscious awareness. Second, even if we are aware of them, changing beliefs can be very challenging because they usually have a strong emotional component making them almost impervious to logic.
You can have anything you want if you will give up the belief that you can’t have it. ~Robert Anthony
Overcoming this roadblock to personal growth is one of the main reasons clients come to me for coaching. If you have this challenge and can’t seem to get past it, have a look at this five part series called How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality. If you still can’t get past it you might consider getting some assistance from someone with the skills to help you.
6. Delegating personal responsibility. The quality of your life is your personal responsibility. This is the foundation of all personal growth. We can either accept conditions as they are, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Whatever we choose to do, we must acknowledge that we are the only person responsible for our decisions and actions.
Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Taking personal responsibility is one of the most liberating things you can do because it completely eliminates the temptation to blame anyone or anything else and it puts you in the driver’s seat of your life.
7. Resistance to change. One of the best ways to beat this roadblock is to practice letting go. When we successfully break our emotional attachments to “what is,” we allow room for growth. To do this we need to develop strategies for severing those attachments, because letting go is easier said than done. On an emotional level, there is a sense of security related to “hanging on.” Consequently, learning to let go can be challenging.
Embrace change for it is the essence of life. ~Jonathan Wells
As you embrace small changes in your life, your emotional security anchors will shift. Over time your resistance will fade and you will find comfort and security in a more fluid reality. When this happens, continued personal growth becomes your new security anchor.
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