Have you ever looked at something and thought, I really want that. I’m going to change my attitude/routine/lifestyle in order to achieve that.

How’d that work out for you?

In some cases it may have worked out well. You wanted a new job, for instance, and you did everything it took to get hired by a new company.

In some cases … maybe not so well. You really wanted to lose 10 pounds, but that chocolate cake looked oh so good. Maybe next week, right?

What’s the difference? Why can you change in some cases, and instill it into your life forever, while with other things, no matter how hard you try, the concept eludes you?

The difference is in how you approach it.

There are two common things holding you back from real change:

Reason One: You have to know you want to change
Reason Two: You have to realize you can change

Sounds simple, but let me explain.

Reason One: You have to know you want to change

Sometimes we approach change not because we want it, but because others around us want it for us. Change is a good thing; everyone is telling us how good it can be. But for some reason, we don’t quite believe it ourselves, nor do we want the change in our lives. Have you ever experienced something like this?

You are in a career or a position that everyone tells you you’re too good for the job you’re in. “You really should try for that promotion”, or “you should move to another company that treats you better” are things you hear every day. But you like what you do. Or maybe you don’t believe you can make a move to something better. You don’t really want the change, in fact, you may hate the idea altogether. So you hide behind a mask admitting to others that you’re trying, but things simply aren’t going your way.

In a case like this, you don’t want the change. You’re happy with things as they are now, and no matter how much other people tell you a change is good for you, you simply don’t believe it yourself. You may even support the change on some level – everyone tells you it’s for the best. But your subconscious mind holds you back. And it can sabotage everything around you.

All of this talk can lead to frustration because of the internal/external war going on with what looks appropriate, how others view the situation, and how you really feel on the inside.

In our minds, we’re telling ourselves to head a different direction, while “faking” it with those around us agreeing they are right. While this can be difficult when a co-worker or team leader tells us to try for something else, the difficulty can sky rocket when the person is a parent, a spouse or a close friend. Especially when on the inside, you have a different direction for your life than what they want for you.

Then there is Reason Two: You have to realize you can change

As human beings, we are raised with all kinds of constraints in our lives. When we’re born and changing from toddlers into young children, our world is filled with curiosity and finding out what the world is made of. Anything is possible. So we ask for and try for everything in front of us.

Then we start hearing the word no.

Suddenly our world closes in, and we discover all of the things we can’t do. Some of it may be true, but for the most part very little of it is. How do we know this? Because others ARE doing it and ARE succeeding.

  • Women CAN start businesses.
  • Women CAN leave successful careers for something new.
  • Women CAN be great at parenting AND be great at business too.

Yet its often a little too easy to listen to what others have to say, or to assume something isn’t possible because you’ve grown up assuming its so.

One of my favorite stories of how our minds hold us back comes from the story of Roger Bannister. For more than a decade, the world record for running the mile remained at 4:01. People assumed humans had reached peak performance, and running anything faster than a 4:01wasn’t humanly possible. But 24 year old Roger Bannister thought differently. As a medial student, he began paying attention to breathing techniques and how it impacted running. He didn’t have a lot of time to practice for the upcoming Olympic games – he was a medical student after all – but he did train using his knowledge of physiology. On the fateful day 60 years ago, he ran his race and clocked in at 3:59.4. History was broken, and everyone quickly learned that change can happen if you believe it can. Roger believed in it, and made it so.

Oh, and by the way, Roger only held the record for 46 days. Once the 4:00 mile was broken, others believed in it and began pushing the limits as well. And the current record? Hicham El Guerrouj, with a time of 3:43.13. Yes, over 17 seconds faster than Roger ran his mile all those years ago.

Whats holding you back from real change

So what’s holding you back? Do you really want the change in your life, or are other people pushing you towards a direction you truly have no desire in going? Do you realize you can change, or do you have hidden beliefs holding you back?

Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a good look at what you truly want (or don’t want) and how you’re being pushed from the environment around you. If you want something new in your life, you have to get past the hurdle of belief. You may look to the person who started up her own business and make a plan to do it yourself, but do you truly believe its possible for you? Or does your subconscious self tell you you don’t have what it takes to make it possible?

Does your internal mindset not match up with your external actions? Are you holding back your true desires? Only you know in your heart what you were set out to do. And if you don’t act upon them, who will?