Overcoming Common Obstacles to Change

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Change is hard. One big reason is that old habits are stubborn. (The adage “old habits die hard” couldn’t be truer.) “When we decide that we want to change, we’ve probably been repeating the same habits for decades,” said Gail Brenner, Ph.D, a psychologist for over 20 years. “These patterns become deeply embedded in our thoughts, feelings and bodies, and we define ourselves by them.”

Our old habits, even if they’re unhealthy, may help us avoid shame, unhappiness or hurt, said Lena Aburdene Derhally, MS, LPC, a licensed professional counselor who works with clients on making lasting changes in their lives. Naturally, it’s harder to part with habits that are protective. For instance, Derhally has worked with clients who don’t date, apply for jobs they want, or pursue new friendships because they fear rejection.

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