Barriers to Making Changes

Brick wall

Can’t Change? Won’t Change?

Barriers are things that get in the way.  Stopping us doing what we really want to do.

Sometimes the solution is easy, sometimes not.


Check out the possible solutions to the barriers below, or work out your own:

I've always done it like this

Try setting up new healthier habits. Do something different every day for 4 weeks, it should become much easier to do after that.

I'm too tired to bother

If you really wanted to do something you would make the time and the effort. Is this telling you that now is not the right time?

I don’t know how to do things

Sounds like you need some support – talk to an adult, friend, relative or health professional* about how they might help. It’s good to have a regular chat with someone who is supporting you. They can help you to evaluate how things are going and help you work through changes that might seem very difficult on your own.

I’m always hungry

Make sure you have regular meals and planned snacks like yogurt, fruit and cereal bars. Try to have meals that are one third protein, one third carbohydrate and one third fruit and vegetables. If possible include foods high in natural fibre as these should fill you up e.g. wholemeal bread, brown rice, brown pasta, lentils, beans and peas.

I don’t like sport

You don’t need to be sporty to be active. Try fitting in some daily activity into your normal routines e.g. walking or cycling to and from school, even walking some of the journey is a start. Find out how much energy walking to and from school could burn up.

I don’t have control over what food is in the house

Talk to the adult who buys the food. In fact involve all the family in supporting you to make changes. They might also benefit from the changes you want to make.

What about canteen dinners - it’s too tempting to eat foods I shouldn’t

If the food that is served in the canteen isn’t suitable or you find it hard to choose suitable foods, then consider talking a packed lunch – this gives you control over what you eat and you don’t have to go near the food counter. 

I feel like it’s only me trying  

Why not get the help of a Mentor**. This is someone you can sit down with on a regular planned basis.  It’s someone who you can talk to about what has gone well, what could have gone better and what you are going to try to do differently over the coming days.

My friends don’t help

Good friends will always support you if they know what you are trying to do and how important it is to you.  Some will even join in.

I’m bored so I just eat

Try making a list of 10 or more things you can do when you feel like this.  Keep the list handy so that next time you feel this way you can do something different e.g. pamper yourself by taking a long hot bath, kick a ball about, phone a friend for a long chat, paint your nails, play a board game, pick up a Sudoku.

If there are other barriers that stop you changing, talk these over with your supporter or mentor. Between you, come up with a plan to move forward.

* Your can access a health professional (dietitian, practice nurse, health visitor or GP through your local GP surgery). You can access a school nurse through school. If you are working you might have access to an occupational health nurse.

** A mentor or a supporter is someone who’s opinion you respect.  Try choosing someone who can spend a regular amount of time with you each week and someone you feel you can talk openly with. It could be a neighbour, your form tutor, school nurse, or a close friend.

Our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to get regular updates.

Sign up


Find out how healthy you are by taking part in our health quiz.

Take the quiz

Tell Us About You

Send us your stories.