Why Can’t I Change – Excuses, Limiting Beliefs, & Yeah Buts
What gets in the way of change? So often it is the perceived obstacles, the excuses, limiting beliefs, or simply the Yeah Buts.
What Are Your Yeah Buts?
When you think about changing something in your life and what that entails, what gets in the way of actually doing it? what stops you?
Pay attention to the self talk, do any of these sound familiar?
Yeah but I’ve tried so many times before and I just end up giving in so what’s the point?
Yeah but I just don’t have enough time.
Yeah but I don’t have any support.
Yeah but sometimes life gets overwhelming and I just need an escape, not another to do.
Yeah but I’m too tired after a long day at work.
Yeah but, I’m not smart enough, I’m not old enough, I’m too old, I don’t have enough money, and on and on and on!!
If some of these are yours you are not alone. I will follow this article with an EFT tapping script (EFT- Emotional Freedom Technique) that will help you start to release some of these beliefs. If you don’t relate to the ones above write down some of your own, and use them along with the tapping script that follows. But before we go there let’s normalize this a bit. Everyone has doubts and fears when it comes to change.
Let’s Take A Moment To Look At Excuses
Excuses typically come from fears, generally a fear of failure or perhaps a fear of success or of the unknown. Without a clear idea or vision of what change will look like it is easy to lose motivation or worse get caught up in the what ifs and let the fear take over.
For instance if you ask yourself how you will benefit from changing what is the first thing that pops into your mind? For ease let’s look at a behavioral change like taking off extra weight. Immediately you will be able to identify some great benefits, feel more energetic, clothes will fit better, increased vitality and health, I will be happier with the way I look.
Those are the things that will get you motivated. Then in pops the what will I have to give up to make it happen, and the what ifs, the fears. Does that mean I will never be able to have fun foods again, how will I go to family functions or Friday night happy hour if I am watching calories. So we stop our self before we ever get started. Or, the bargaining begins, I’ll start after my sister’s wedding, or I’ll start after 4th of July, or maybe I will do a cheat day on Sunday.
You may need to plan the best time to start making a change and you may even need to soften the change with adding in some flexibility, just make sure you are setting yourself up for success.
Change Is All About Making Choices
When it comes down to it you do need to make choices. Let’s go back to the take off pounds example. You can’t do what you have always done and get a different result. But it also doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you love chocolate ice cream and you feel like you have to choose between that and reaching your ideal weight you will likely have some ambivalence towards change. So maybe what it looks like instead of all or nthing is having a half cup serving rather than sitting and eating the entire pint. It could mean on the days I indulge I walk an extra 15 minutes. There are choices, I can give up the chocolate ice cream or I can make another choice that allows me to have it and still feel good about it.
It may mean that you give up some “all or nothing” thinking to really feel comfortable with change. That is often what stops us from moving forward. I’ll start the diet tomorrow is a bit of all or nothing thinking, rather than waiting until you can do it perfectly you can just start to make healthier choices now. You can start to move your body more and just continue to eat what you are eating and likely still see results. It could just be about making a different choice.
One of the great things about choosing to stop/change a behavior is that you feel good about yourself. It feels like you are getting your life back because you are on that initial high of I am ready to change and I can do this. That will last for a while. We also need that vision of the desired outcome and that needs to be really motivating to keep on track. It needs to be a win win. One that makes the effort necessary for change to feel worth it.
Think About Past Patterns
If this isn’t your first rodeo then you can take time to see what happened in the past when you feel like you failed. Some of your excuses or yeah buts may be coming from fear of repeating that fate. What can you learn about you from looking at past experiences. It might be helpful to look at past attempts as just that, attempts or experiences rather than failures. You now know what doesn’t work.
Do you need a support system, do you need to try some reprogramming strategies, do you have a vision board, are you clear on the desired outcome. Look at what some past obstacles were, what might be a possible solution so you don’t get caught up in that again. Where can you find the time for planning and implementation.
Looking at the past is a powerful resource for what you might need to do differently this time. Also, to identify the limiting beliefs. One of the strategies that I use with clients and with myself is to use EFT to clear the blocks, the fears, the beliefs and often that opens up new possibilities that wouldn’t have shown up if I were stuck in the old fears and challenges. Another is PSTEC which has a process for letting go of negative beliefs and adding in positive beliefs.
This is a really important part of the process. The pain of I am sick and tired of being sick and tired will move you into change, but the vision of what you want will help you stay the course when you are starting to feel like it might not be worth the effort or question was it really that bad. Pain gets us started with change, our vision pulls us forward when the going gets tough.
We live in a world of immediate gratification and substantial change doesn’t typically happen instantaneously, it takes time. Most of us aren’t all that patient. So in the beginning you might not notice great benefits. It might be helpful to keep a log or journal of what you do notice to help keep you focused. That you are sleeping a little better at night since you stopped snacking up until you went to bed might not come to mind when you start to miss your bedtime snack and feel deprived. Having the things you notice written down can help you stay focused in times of vulnerability.
Get clear, write out your goal, write out what it looks like when you have achieved what you want. Use as much detail as possible. What will you notice, what are the sights, smells, sounds, taste, touch, and what are you feeling. What are other people noticing, what are you doing differently? Read it, feel it every day. Have affirmations to go along with it, read those throughout the day. Create a vision board.
If you have spent time on my website you will see that I am a fan of looking for different healing modalities. There are a few things that I feel are really helpful for creating change, for healing the past. The 2 that I find as great tools for change are PSTEC and EFT. I encourage you to check out PSTEC and try the free version on memories and emotions that might be part of what is blocking you from change and below I have included a tapping script that you can use on some excuses. It is a bit general, so if you are familiar with tapping add in some of your own language. You may notice that it will bring up the specific things you need to hone in on. It is a great place to start.
If you aren’t familiar with EFT go to my EFT page to check out the points, it is a really simple self-help process.
KC: Even thought I know I want to create change in my life in the area of __________________ and I have not been able to, I deeply and completely love and accept myself
KC: Even though I have all these reasons that change is impossible for me I deeply and completely love and accept myself
KC: Even though I have no support and I don’t know if I can do this by myself I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.
EB: I feel so overwhelmed already, I don’t have time for one more thing
SE: I have tried to change so many times in the past and it feels worse every time I fail
UE: It seems easier to not even try
UN:There is no one in my life that knows what I am going through and no one that understands, I have no support system.
CP: I feel stuck, I am in a rut and ________ gives me a release, a distraction.
CB: Maybe it isn’t self destructive behavior but an attempt to feel alive rather than bored and frustrated with my life.
UN: So is that an excuse too, I am worried that my life will go back to boring if I give this up, if I change?
TH: I can’t do this by myself
EB: I have tried so many times before and failed
SE: I really wonder what’s the point
UE: I don’t have the time to do everything involved in changing
UN: Other people are still going to make me angry and I need to escape
CP: I need the release
CB: If other people would just leave me alone I could do this
UA: If I could just hide away in a cave for a month or two and get myself together I would be okay
TH: It is really scary to think of how my life will look once I am not _________ anymore
EB: On the one hand I know it is destroying me not to change
SE: What will my life look like if I no longer have this issue
UE: I’m not sure I can do this
UN: Sometimes I’m not entirely sure I want to do this
CP: What if my life still sucks after I change this
CB: What if my life still feels like a hamster wheel
UA: I wonder if I could just take a minute to look at everything I just said
TH: What if I am not good enough
EB: What if I am not smart enough
SE: What if others are right and I can’t really do this
UE: Where do I find the time
UN: I don’t know how to do this myself
CP: What if people laugh at me
CB: What if I can’t trust myself to do this
UA: What if I fail again, I don’t know if I could take that
TH: These are all what ifs all my yeah buts
EB: What if I were able to let some of those things go
SE: What if I allowed those thoughts to be there but not run the show
UE: What if my life is less stressful once I change __________________
UN: What if I feel better about myself once I really commit to change
CP: What if I realize that I can trust myself
CB: What if I feel more content and self accepting as I change
UA: I wonder if it is possible for me to dwell on the positive what ifs?
TH: I am open to the possibility of life being better once I commit to change
EB: I am open to a better way of being
SE: I am open to the possibility of having more joy in my life once I start to keep my commitments to myself
UE: I am open to the possibility of others treating me with more love and respect once I feel more confident
UN: I choose to be open to the positive what ifs, instead of the negative yeah buts
CP: I choose my thoughts and I can honor my fear but focus on my dreams
CB; I choose to focus on my the possibilities
UA: I am open to change
TH: I am open to trusting myself
Give some of these strategies a try and let me know your thoughts.