As a new year approaches, many people reflect on what they want to accomplish during it. Many resolutions go unmet by the end of the year, though. This may be due in part to unreasonable expectations, but there may also be some obstacles you're putting in your own path. Here is a list of some of the common blocks to personal growth and how to deal with them.
A certain level of social comparison is unavoidable and can even be a helpful part of self-assessment. For example, if you have a competitive nature, paying attention to how other people perform a certain task can actually motivate you to work harder and achieve your goals faster. The problem comes when you allow your self-concept and self-esteem to be damaged by what other people possess or have accomplished. Instead, focus on your own progress and reward yourself for new victories along the way.
Personal growth is not always a pleasant journey. If you are trying to make a positive change that is hard for you, you may experience low motivation to even get started. This may be especially true for some neurodivergent people, as unpleasant or uninteresting tasks do not provide the dopamine boost needed to address them.
One way to deal with this is to make the first step or two a small one. For example, if your goal is to keep your kitchen in better order, set a daily expectation of washing one dish. Some days, that may be all that you accomplish toward your goal, and that's OK. Most of the time, however, you'll likely find that the satisfaction of washing one dish will generate just enough motivation for you to continue working.
Another way to confront low motivation is through a rewards system. This is especially helpful for long-range goals that don't give you a naturally quick payoff. Break them down into a series of short-term plans and set a reward you know you'll love for each milestone you reach.
Sometimes, the problem with growth is in your own mind. There are several common statements that might indicate you are letting preconceptions get in the way of your growth:
- "That's the way I've always done it." This is a key indicator that you are stuck in a rut. If the way you've always done something hasn't produced the results you want yet, it is unlikely to do so in the future.
- "Everyone else does it this way." Just because an idea is popular, that doesn't automatically make it workable for you. Identifying the resources you need to make a specific change is a more practical approach.
- "I could make this change if only a certain obstacle wasn't in the way." It's good to recognize what is holding you back, but if it becomes so big in your mind that you can't overcome it, it can stop you from moving forward.
With any type of personal growth, you should expect some level of uncertainty. You don't have to know everything about a change before you take the first step. Keep in mind that you are constantly learning. It is also helpful to remember that mistakes are not the end of the world. In fact, you may end up learning more from errors that you make than the things you get right the first time.
Any time you set a new goal, you are likely to face external obstacles that you have to negotiate your way around. Don't let your own mind be a roadblock too. By overcoming the internal struggles that keep you from personal growth, you are more likely to make your resolutions come true.