top of page

What’s holding you back? Overcoming inner blocks and discovering a path to positive change.

With the arrival of spring after a very long winter with record snow fall here in our beautiful Tahoe area, it is a time of renewed and new activity. I certainly observe this activity in the little critters and myriad birds who are energized by the warm sunshine and are having a ball outside my window!

New beginnings have been marked throughout the ages by important dates and calendar events. From a purely psychological standpoint, it is easier for us humans to harness the power of those special dates and marks of the passage of time to set new goals for ourselves. Just think of New years resolutions! Although follow-through can be a challenge, once we have a fairly solid plan in place to make those changes, we can maximize success.

I love working out and being active. It contributes to my well-being on multiple levels. I had a pretty regular schedule of activity in place until a year or so ago when my work schedule started taking over my life like a slowly but steadily growing sinkhole. The aches and twinges in my mid-forty-year-old back told me repeatedly that I needed to do something about it.

Making changes can be tough even for the best of us. The siren call of my comfy couch after a long day of work and chasing everyday life responsibilities is almost too much to resist. Almost. When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, it brings about the sweet spot where change transforms said pain into motivation and exploration.

My friend, Amita, is a lively and energetic nurse with a busy life who successfully juggles family, work, secondary education, and graduate school. One day she ran up to me and with big eyes excitedly told me how much better she felt with her new workout routine. Better mood, improved energy levels, and better clothes fit without punishment of any kind, she had discovered a way to fit exercise into her busy life while also working nights. Wow, I thought in awe. If she can do it, I can take a page out of her book and learn from her!

And so I did. I set about listening carefully to what she had done to find a new routine, asked questions, and then plunked down at my own proverbial drawing board to discover my own new schedule that would bring me back to life. I recalled that regular activity would bring at least three major benefits:

It improves your mood: Exercise has been shown to release endorphins which improve your mood and can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

It helps reduce your stress levels: Exercise can help you reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone which can contribute to feeling anxious and tense. Regular exercise also provides a better outlet for stress, so you don’t displace it onto something or someone unrelated to the source of stress.

It can help you develop better self-esteem: It has been shown to improve self-esteem and self-confidence by promoting a sense of accomplishment and achievement. This in turn can lead to a better body image and more positive attitude towards yourself.

I was ecstatic! There is a way to halt and even reverse my slug mutation! This past weekend I succeeded in overcoming my fears and general blah state. I made it to our gym walking distance from my place! But it was no easy feat for me. Working with a trainer surely keeps me motivated and accountable, yes. But it also does something else: it keeps my fears of embarrassment from overwhelming me when I walk into a gym!

Acknowledging my rationalizations and really diving into what is holding me back from making a change for the better involved some work. In the end, though, it was extremely satisfying. I had to take an honest look at my excuses that I would bring up for not going more than once every two weeks to keep myself in good shape. ‘I don’t have time, I’m too tired, I need to catch up on sleep, something came up’. Then the other set of excuses: ‘I’m too embarrassed to go to a gym by myself’ because I held the firm belief that everyone would stare at me and silently judge me.

How did I overcome this seemingly insurmountable obstacle of excuses and shame? Here are 7 steps I followed to work through my inner blocks:

1. Look at all the reasons you give for not exercising (or making any other change).

2. Write them down.

3. Look at the practical ones (schedules, work hours, fees, commute, available gym locations) and examine them for possibilities. Is it that your schedule needs re-arranging? Maybe you can carve out just a short amount of time for exercise, for example? Could you exercise at home with guidance from an app, YouTube, or other resource? This may be especially good if gym access is not feasible due to fees, commute, opening hours etc.

4. Brainstorm possible solutions for the practical problems, then pick one or two solutions to start trying them out. (This is similar to the startup analogy we explored in my earlier article which you can read here.) Try them out for a limited time and see how it goes. You can make adjustments as you go and discover your rhythm.

5. Look at the emotional and psychological reasons.

6. Examine them closely one by one and keep asking ‘why’ 5 times. This w

ill help you get closer to the root of the issue. Is it really true that people are staring? Why are you feeling embarrassed? What is it specifically that comes to mind? It may help to write these down in a journal to explore a bit deeper. Pay close attention to your feelings and emotions.

7. Partner up for support.

Partnering up for extra support is always helpful. Make arrangements with a friend or loved one to support you, either by going to the gym or an online workout program together, or by keeping each other accountable if you exercise separately. The best part, you can celebrate your wins, even the small steps, together!

Lastly, always remember our 7 basic steps of self-compassion towards a more

vital you. (You can read my previous post here for more details.)

1. Start small.

2. Make gradual changes.

3. Crowd out habits you want to change.

4. Do not feel bad or beat yourself up over ‘not doing it right’.

5. Do not judge yourself.

6. Be kind and compassionate towards yourself.

7. Set realistic goals with a timeline.

I hope today’s article helps you find ways to make positive changes, be it related to exercising more, or any other goal you have for yourself and your life where you feel stuck but want to find a better solution. As I start launching my Health Coach Program later this year, I will add more resources and guidance on finding your own inner strength and wisdom at discovering your best and most vital you.

Until next time,

XOXO from Katharina 😊

40 views3 comments

3 comentários

16 de abr. de 2023

I love how you described aging so positively and the space you have created for so many others to take that journey! Keep up the good work, Kat! You‘re amazing!


14 de abr. de 2023

Starting to think about making healthy life choices is already the initial step to good health. Let's start the journey with balancing our mind, body and soul.-Amita

15 de abr. de 2023
Respondendo a

Absolutely! Count me in 😆 Excited to see more content!

bottom of page