Change: What Gets In Our Way

Published on May 31, 2013 by

Have you ever wondered why you don't change more or change faster--when it comes to something you say you want? We are hard-wired to adapt, change and transform, so why doesn't it happen more or happen faster.

Have you wondered why your company seems to keep doing the same old things even though they just brought in a change management consultant? Companies want higher profits, engaged employees and loyal customers. As individuals, we want more money, more time off, better "jobs." We also want to "lose weight," to exercise more, have more peace of mind, be happier, to find our "soul mate"...and so on.

So why don't we get more of what we want? Why don't we get it faster?

Here are some reasons why (I'll explain later why I'm listing reasons we fail to change more or change faster versus how we can change faster)

  • We aren't clear on what we want--we don't know what's most important to us.
  • We have conflicting desires (I want a better job but I don't want to do what that takes.)
  • We focus on "problems" instead of solutions.
  • We don't get enough support. (There's a reason Weight Watchers is so effective.)
  • Well meaning people in our life undermine our efforts.
  • We try to do too much too quickly, get discouraged and throw in the towel.
  • We don't have an effective plan for success.
  • We underestimate the "cost" of gettting what we want.
  • We think what we want isn't "realistic."
  • We sell ourselves short.
  • We blame others for our lack of progress.
  • We criticize ourselves more than we support ourselves.
  • We are perfectionistic and don't realize it.
  • We lack a skill necessary to get what we want.
  • We overestimate what we're capable of; we think we're capable right now of achieving what we want , but we're not. There's still some work to do but we think we're ready now.
  • We're not willing yet to do what it takes to become capable of getting what we want.
  • We have "blind spots" that get in our way.
  • We don't believe those when they tell us we have a "blind spot."
  • We minimize the progress we make and fail to celebrate and reward progress.

This list above sheds some light on why we don't embrace change more often and reach new levels of success more consistently. Change, growth and transformation don't happen by accident and positive change isn't handed to us on a silver platter. Success, fulfillment and well-being has to be intentional,  prioritized and nurtured. Otherwise, any one thing (or more) on the list can slow us down dramatically.

I made the list above because sometimes it's easier to identify what's getting in our way than to identify what we need to make faster progress. Use the list to identify one that has been getting in your way and then identify solutions to focus on.

We are far more capable than we realize. Every single one of us. No exceptions.

In fact, when we know what we REALLY want and believe we can achieve it, we are a force of nature. We are unstoppable.



  1. Rob

    What a great, well-rounded list, Alan! A few that you note remind me of another I've heard -- we often over-estimate what we can do in the immediate term, but greatly underestimate what we're capable in the long term through smaller sustained efforts.

    • Alan Allard

      Rob, thanks for your comments. That's a great addition to the list and it's very true.

  2. Frank Cole

    As I read this blog I couldnt help but wonder what our lives could be like if one of the most popular programs on TV today was "The Biggest Winner". Positive feed back is rare today and it is not often that I get beneficial feedback from my peers. I wish that I had learned long ago how to give myself the positive messages that I needed. I believe that I would have been much happier-much sooner. Truth be told I found that I would have to tackle instead of the one issue that is "my block" I would have to instead, work on working on one at a time. Thanks again Alan for keeping it real.

    • Alan Allard

      Frank, thanks for your comments. The great thing about happiness is that no matter where we are in life, we can always learn, change and grow. Life can be an adventure.

  3. TJ Trent


    I would have to say positive feedback is a "combat multiplier" as we say in the Army. Positive feedback is too rare and that includes myself offering positive feedback to myself.

    • Alan Allard

      I haven't hard the term "combat multiplier" TJ. Thanks for the additonal insights.

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