Posted by: coachingparents | January 20, 2009


By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Probably by now, your New Year’s resolutions are beginning to fade. 
It seems so much easier to continue functioning in old familiar habit
patterns, than to make the effort to change.  After all, making
changes in one’s life requires identifying what different outcomes you
desire and what actions needed to make those outcomes manifest.  Then
there is the planning, practice, persistence and progress required to
make those changes “automatic.”  Lots of conscious effort goes into
attaining those changes you resolved to make on January 1.

Psychologists know that most all desired changes begin with changing
your thinking patterns.  Someone once said, “Learning equals change.” 
We are encouraged to “never stop learning.”  In fact, we know that
when you stop learning, you stop adapting.  When you stop adapting to
constant change, you really stop living.  We can conclude that
continued learning is necessary to live a full and abundant life.

There are certain attitudes and thoughts that stop our learning
…stop our changing.  In his book, “Personal Accountability,” John G.
Miller writes, “My self-talk is my thinking and, in order to learn, I
need to identify and change what I say to myself.”  If you really want
to stop learning, here are some thinking patterns and attitudes you
can adopt …or continue. 

  • STOPPER #1: “I’m too old to learn anything new.”  Translation: “I’m
    too lazy [scared, comfortable, or “set in my ways”] to make the effort
    to learn new habits.”  Change is constant.  When you don’t learn new
    skills, habits and behavior, you usually discover that change
    increases your stress level.
  • STOPPER #2: “This new stuff looks pretty good, but it really doesn’t
    apply to me.”  Translation: I am the exception.  Change is really for
    others…not me.  It’s okay with me if everyone else wants to change,
    but I’m not going to because it doesn’t apply to my life.
  • STOPPER #3: “I really don’t think this will work or be any good.” 
    Translation: “I have nothing to gain, nothing to learn, and this
    change is not worthwhile.”  If I don’t see any benefit to learning new
    stuff, I’m not going to try.  I don’t see that learning anything new
    enriches my life.
  • STOPPER #4: “I already know this stuff.”  Translation: “I’m so
    arrogant that I believe I can’t learn anything from anyone
    else…especially if I’ve had more training or education than others.”
    Mark Twain once said, “If there ever was more to learn, then they
    wouldn’t be expert no more.”
  • STOPPER #5: “I’m entitled to have the change(s) I want.” 
    Translation: “You owe me an education (new job, lots of whatever, and
    success) because I’m so good.  I don’t want to have to work at
    learning or changing.
  • STOPPER #6: “I don’t like the teacher, therefore I’m not going to
    learn what s/he is teaching me.”  Translation: “Because I don’t like
    the message, I am going to shoot the messenger.”
  • STOPPER #7: “Why is all this happening to me anyway?”  Translation:
    “I am a victim of ____________ (fill in the blank).  Therefore, I am
    helpless to make any change or learn anything new.”

If you recognize any of the above learning stoppers within yourself,
you will probably never realize the benefits you resolved to attain
just two short weeks ago.  Change your thinking and you change your


Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach.  He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on


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