Over the years I have read – and heard – lots of explanations for why a person continues in patterns of behavior that don’t serve them. And I get it – Change is difficult and deeply ingrained habits can feel almost impossible to move the needle on at times.
Even when someone really really feels that they are ready for and want a particular change, it sometimes seems as if there is some obstinate force behind the scenes sabotaging their efforts.
A woman who struggles with over-eating and weight gain may have underlying issues that subconsciously sabotage her efforts to change repeatedly. She may have fears of intimacy and the extra weight can serve as a protection against others getting too close.
People who abuse alcohol that are genetically predisposed to alcoholism have a higher risk of becoming addicted. Even if someone is born with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, though, there are other factors that will also influence whether or not they become alcoholic, such as family, social and environmental factors. Some individuals who have inherited genes making them prone to alcoholism drink moderately or rarely drink at all.
There are those who come from difficult and dysfunctional backgrounds who are able to break unhealthy behavior patterns they grew up with and some who never manage to climb out. Often times, we struggle with understanding what is going on. Why, when we believe we want to change so badly, does it seem like such an uphill climb at times?
I would venture to guess there are lots of reasons why change is so hard for so many, and sometimes it takes the help of a good therapist or other mental health professional to help uncover what is holding us back. And that can help tremendously, because when we become aware of why we do certain things it can help us to break the cycle.
Coaches aren’t counselors and we don’t analyze the past. Coaching is solution-focused, and our attention is forward. Coaching is based on the belief that the client has the inherent ability to determine and realize their goals. Coaches empower their clients to create a plan, determine action steps and hold the client accountable for moving forward. An experienced and well-trained coach will motivate and support you along the way, help you stay on track, and hold the vision of your goal for you. Maybe most importantly, the coach will challenge you and expect you to show up, work hard and keep your commitments. Coaching is a direct path to measurable change.
There can be a place for therapy even when working with a coach, and it may be advisable at times to work with a therapist or a counselor at the same time.
I once heard a speaker say something to the effect that, if you were aboard the Titanic after it hit the iceberg, would you want to hang around to find out what happened and why? Was it human error? Whose fault was it? How big was it, anyway? Why didn’t anyone see that darn thing? No, chances are you would have one thing in mind and one thing only: Get off the ship!
It’s easy to spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out reasons for why we do the things we do, and never get into action. Sometimes we need to get going and get started. Insight very often accompanies change but insight without action ends up being pointless.
If you are thinking about getting started towards that big life goal – losing the weight, getting in shape, going for that second career – take a step. Get support, hire a coach, join a support group, start that walking program, take a class. Waiting to figure out why you have this problem can be a great way to avoid ever taking action. And often, when we begin to move forward, awareness of what’s been holding us back is right there in front of us. With support and focus, we can begin to face the obstacles in our way.
Get off the ship!
Enjoy these days of autumn!