Barrier to Change: Lack of Information
Have you ever been really determined to accomplish something, done everything you thought you had to do to achieve it, but no matter how hard you tried it just didn’t work so you quit?
In our previous blog, we outlined a situation where someone had the goal to lose weight, and was working very hard to do so. The equation of calories and exercise suggested that they were doing everything right, but they were not seeing any results. In frustration they stopped working towards their goal. Eventually, they listened to an expert speak on the impact of cortisol (the stress hormone) on weight loss, and learned that pushing their body as hard as they were was releasing stress and preventing them from losing weight. With this new information, they started to workout in a more leisurely way, and saw results from changing their method by limiting their stress. Sometimes what is keeping you from your goal is purely a lack of information, or having the wrong information.
This is a problem many people face, where they are seeking information, and working towards a goal but are having trouble finding a solution that works for them. There is so much information available to you in the palm of your hand, at the click of a button that it’s hard to differentiate between accurate and convenient information. Sometimes you can research something and think you know a lot about it, but your sources aren’t applicable to your specific situation. With that, sometimes your sources can contain biased information, that will create an unforeseen barrier between you and your goal. This barrier is caused by a lack of information. We give an overview of the 7 Barriers to change in our blog, as well as in our free webinars on our youtube channel.
There are two ways lack of information can manifest as a barrier between you and your goals.
Not having the necessary information to achieve your goal.
Having the wrong information or biased information.
In either instance it’s important in these moments to take a pause, or insert a wedge, and think about the method of seeking information for a goal you’re trying to reach. How will you find the best source when researching methodology for your goal?
In approaching the first way, lack of information can act as a barrier, we’ll look at “not having the necessary information to achieve your goal”. The start of this process is to collect data. Sometimes the information you need is found in self analysis, or taking stock of why you want to achieve this goal, and the steps necessary to achieve it. In seeking out your process you are gathering information about why your goal is important to you, and the things that are exciting about that goal, but also scary about it. It ties back to finding your why.
Often there is an order of operations with goal setting that requires you to gather information around your goal. Some goals come with sub categories that must be achieved before you can accomplish the main focus. For example, if your goal was to become a licensed social worker, there may be steps underneath that goal that need to happen before that is achieved. Maybe there are financial barriers, or time barriers that need to be dealt with first to make room for the goal. These smaller goals act as stepping stones to your overarching goal. Having a clear and intentional process and steps is essential to reaching the main goal. Sometimes it’s important to bring consciousness to your daily actions, so you can better recognize your progress. All of this “data collection” is information gathering.
Once you’ve gathered the information from your self analysis, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to search for externally. Whether that is searching out methodology from experts, or identifying subjects that will require study, you want to make sure you are getting accurate information.
This is where the second piece of this barrier will come into play. You want to make sure you are not receiving the wrong or biased information.
While having a lot of information readily available can be really positive and helpful, it can also make it really difficult to tell the difference between what is helpful to you, and what is not. Say your goal is to improve your overall health, so you seek out information on your current mental and physical health. An example of this that you may relate to is going down a webmd rabbit hole, where you become convinced that a headache is actually a brain tumor, and you in a fit of panic schedule a doctor's appointment. That’s not to say there aren’t instances when google can help you identify a real and dangerous underlying illness that may have not been noticed otherwise, but these instances are few and far between. It’s important to really think about who is giving the information you’re taking in, and what their underlying biases may be to influence what is being said, or if you are who the information was intended for.
In another example, say your goal is to improve your family life. A piece of this goal is working on the relationship you have with your spouse/significant other or children. We may want to ask our closest friends and family questions or advice about certain things which is a totally reasonable thing to do. It’s important however to recognize their bias and lack of expertise in certain areas. While our best friend might be an expert in recognizing our patterns of behavior from knowing us for a long time, there are areas where they will hold inherent bias that may skew their viewpoints on how others interact with us. You may seek their assistance in dealing with the problem you’re having with your spouse/significant other/ or children, but they may not be a relationship specialist, a child psychologist or a therapist, so their advice on this subject may be biased or misinformed. It would be more helpful to seek out a professional who can view the situation more objectively to get an accurate assessment of what needs to be done to find solutions. While family and friends can be a great sounding board, there are areas where they may act as a barrier to you finding the necessary information needed to make progress.
This applies to how we seek out information for our personal goals. Finding accurate and unbiased information is essential for making progress, and approaching your method with this level of intention and consciousness will aid you in reaching success. We recommend analyzing your sources to make sure they are applicable to you, and that you are the intended audience for the sources you seek out.