You’ve done the work. You’ve uncovered your desires and mapped out a vision for your ideal life. You finally have clarity and you know exactly what you need to do….except you don’t.
Why do we sometimes fail to take the actions we know we should?
Well, there are a few reasons you might not be taking action, but here’s a big one: blocks.
What exactly are blocks?
Blocks are mental or emotional thoughts, patterns or behaviours that obstruct flow and action. Blocks can show up as fear, procrastination and self-sabotage, or as inaction.
Blocks are usually beliefs (sometimes referred to as negative or limiting beliefs) that seem to work against you or against the action that you want to take. Blocks hold you back from the personal growth that you crave — and the worst part is that sometimes you don’t even know you have them.
Why do I have blocks?
Many of your beliefs were formed during childhood, and those beliefs in turn formed your view of the world that you’ve now taken into adulthood. But here’s the important thing to remember about beliefs: they were formed with good intentions.
Even if your beliefs aren’t serving you anymore in your current life, you adopted them as a way to help you survive and thrive, as well as to avoid pain and negative feelings. No matter what your blocks are, you can have a greater understanding of them (and of yourself) if you have compassion for yourself and the younger version of yourself who formed these beliefs before having a full understanding of the world we live in.
How can I move past blocks?
The first step in busting through your blocks is to recognize and acknowledge them. You can’t change limiting beliefs if you don’t know they are there. The problem is that your blocks may be so ingrained into who you are that you don’t even realize you have them.
Your first clue that you have a block standing in your way is noticing the behavior patterns that come up when you try to make a change in your life: fear, procrastination, self-sabotage, or inaction.
If you repeatedly get stuck in these behaviors, then this process of identifying your blocks might be really helpful!
There are two questions that I ask all of my clients when they are struggling to take action or make changes. These two questions will provide a lot of insight into any blocks that might be keeping you stuck.
How can I identify my blocks?
Carve out some time to journal about the following questions. Begin by thinking about the action you wish to take, the habit you’re trying to adopt or stop, or the change that you’ve been trying to make. Then consider the following:
- Are there any negative consequences that could come out of your action (whether you succeed or fail)?
- Who could be affected by your action?
Most of our fears come from the possibility of negative outcomes, the possibility of judgment from others or the possibility of causing pain or discomfort to others or ourselves.
For example, imagine that your dream was to quit your office job and work as a full time writer. You’ve been trying to take action. You know you need to look for freelance writing opportunities, maybe reach out to some contacts at a local magazine, but you can’t bring yourself to write the email or pick up the phone. You started a blog and you know you should be writing regularly, but every time you sit at the computer, you just stare at the blank screen. You know this is what you want, and you’ve done plenty of research on how to get there. You just can’t seem to stop procrastinating.
When you consider the first question, you imagine succeeding as a full-time writer. You picture a steady stream of writing assignments and PayPal deposits. What could be bad about that? Well, what if you had too many clients? What if you couldn’t keep up and your work started to suffer? Worse yet, what if you couldn’t write when you needed to? What if you disappointed your clients and word spread and no one wanted to hire you? What if you ended up just as stressed out and overwhelmed as you are now? See all those fears creeping in?? Go ahead and write all of them down, no matter how big or small!
Next, you can imagine the opposite: What if you were to quit your job and start your writing business, only to have it fail? What could happen? How would that feel? Again, you’ll probably have a flood of fears, concerns or doubts come up as you think through this question. Write them all down!
Finally, think about who might be affected by your actions, regardless of the outcome. Often we put our dreams on hold for fear of disappointing or hurting someone we love. Asking this question will help you uncover if you’ve got a block around this!
By now you should have a pretty lengthy list of fears, doubts, beliefs and blocks! So now what?
How to bust through blocks.
Now that you’re clear on how what’s been holding you back, you can work on moving forward despite your blocks. Awareness is always the first step, and shining light on your fears makes them a whole lot less scary!
To help you move through your blocks, I suggest writing out some affirmations that will reaffirm the beliefs you would like to adopt instead. Here are some tips for writing strong affirmations.
Another great tip is to create a solution for every block that you wrote down. Imagine how you would handle each situation that came up for you. What would you do? Who could you ask for help? What conversations would you have? Doing this will help to satisfy your mind and show you that you can handle whatever life throws at you!
Of course, the best way to bust through blocks is to keep moving forward. Whether you take baby steps or giant leaps, as long as you are moving forward, you will make progress. Don’t underestimate how small changes can add up to big transformation! Celebrate each step of the way!