3 Myths about Why People Can’t Change

After years of coaching, surveying thousands of people on change, and studying the art of personal achievement, here are the top 3 reasons I’ve heard about why people can’t change.

#1 – Not enough of something (e.g. money, time, support)

#2 – Lack of clarity (e.g. around goal, or direction, or how to do it)

#3 – I don’t have what it takes (e.g. not enough experience, training, courage, etc)

While these reasons at a surface level might seem true, they miss the underlying issues that may be causing these problems in the first place.


Surface Reason #1: Not enough money, time support

People often say they don’t have enough time, money, opportunities or support from key people in their life. Think about an area of life where you feel stuck about how to change, do any of these reasons resonate for you? For example, finding more fulfilling work, losing weight, improving your financial situation, etc.

Actual Reason: While on the surface “not enough of something” may seem true, often the underlying reason is a perception problem. Your assumptions can be your prison.

Case study: One client said she couldn’t achieve life balance because she had no support from her family or boss. However, that turned out to be a false assumption. Her kids and husband told her they actually prefer it when she seemed happy and balanced rather than burned out and resentful. Her boss said the same thing. The real reason she felt burned out was that she was not prioritizing, setting boundaries, and communicating effectively about her needs. Underneath that reason was a belief that she had to sacrifice her well being for other people. Underlying that belief was a fear of disapproval, which plagues many people and stops them from moving forward in life. By removing this core level script about needing other people’s approval she was able to then set boundaries, prioritize, and communicate her needs. This allowed her to then effortlessly regain life balance and to finally make it stick.

Surface Reason #2: Lack of clarity

People often say they cannot change their situation because they don’t know how to change things or what direction to go in.

Actual Reason: What may actually be happening is that they haven’t given themselves permission to explore what’s really going on.

Case study: Another client disliked her job but felt an inner conflict because she disliked every job she’d had and couldn’t face having to quit and find another one only to face the same situation yet again. By making an appointment with herself and taking time away from distractions to be quiet and to focus on the issue, she was actually able to resolve the inner conflict quite easily. It was the fear of facing the inner conflict rather than the conflict itself that was 80% of the struggle. Upon deeper reflection she discovered that it wasn’t what she was doing but how she was doing her job that was causing her grief. She had an unconscious script telling her she had to do everything perfectly. The reality of perfection was impossible to achieve so she was in a perpetual state of angst. Once we removed the “perfection script” and replaced it with a more realistic expectation of herself, she was able to keep her job and find peace and happiness in her daily life again.


Surface Reason #3: I don’t have what it takes

A very common surface reason is some version of “I don’t have what it takes”. I don’t have enough experience, know-how, credibility, guts, skill, confidence, persistence, centeredness, belief in myself, etc.

Actual Reason: Underneath all those beliefs is usually one core belief about lack of worthiness. To quote Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World “I’m not worthy!” is the sub-conscious mantra of many people. A sense of unworthiness is at the core of many issues regarding money, health, relationships, career and even spirituality. While a belief like this may seem illogical, many beliefs are programming either as a child before your logical reasoning ability had formed, or was picked up unconsciously from parents, teachers, marketing messages, or society. The truth is, you are still getting programmed every day without even being aware it is happening. The good news, however, is that you can re-program yourself as often as you need so that you can get more of the results you want.

Case study: Another client had a dream about starting his own business. He wanted to help people deal with the sudden death of a loved one–with the practical, financial and emotional issues. He worked at a bank and had a long list of reasons why he couldn’t get started, but in the end we discovered that he just didn’t believe in himself. No one in his family had ever done anything like that. Who was he to think he could realize his dream? He didn’t trust that he had the courage or persistence to pull it off. The irony is that you actually have to manufacture trust at the beginning to take action which then leads to success which then builds trust in yourself. So, together we manufactured enough trust and belief in himself to take a few small steps towards his dream. These steps then snowballed into larger and more on-going actions. I’m happy to say that now he has a full time business in this area. He has realized his dream.

To learn more about how to manifest a goal or a dream that you’ve always wanted, go to: