Why is Change So Difficult?
We all want to improve our health, our wellness, and our happiness.
Have you ever given thought to why some people are more successful than others when it comes to improving their health and well being? Is it because they have access to more resources, more driven, focused, have clearer goals?
Whilst these could all be part of the reason, the truth is successful people embrace change. On the contrary unsuccessful people fear it.
Each day we are faced with change. The weather, the energy levels, our job situation, even our emotions will change. Change happens in every moment of every day and it’s happening at a faster pace now than ever before.
Embracing change is one of the hardest things a person can do.
With the world moving at such a rapid pace, to be successful in any area of life, not just health and well being, it is imperative we embrace the changes going on around us and adapt, rather than do what most people do, which is fear it, deny it, or hide from it.
Finding that effortless pathway through all the changes you face isn’t easy. And more often than not, change is downright painful. You often stumble and fall in the process.
Because of this most of us (myself included) tend to shy away from it, or completely run from it. And, sadly as a result many people plod along in a life that is devoid of vibrancy, vitality, health, wealth and their life purpose.
‘Suffering is proportional to our resistance to change, and happiness is proportional to ability to embrace change.” – Thom Knoles
So why is it so hard to find motivation to change when we already know that we need to change, and for many of us we actually know what we need to do, but we don’t do it.
This is an area of discussion that has captivated my interest for a long time, which has lead me into doing more research on what it is that is holding us back from making the change we need to make in order to be successful.
What I've discovered in my research and through personal experience is that it is painful to change. It’s uncomfortable. It’s difficult.
And avoiding pain is instinctive. As humans, we are hard wired to avoid pain because it’s a signal of danger. Think about it in terms of when you touch something hot. You instinctively pull your hand away; you don’t think about it, you just do it.
Pain indicates danger and your body immediately responds by removing the threat. And because we are hard wired to avoid pain, and we tend to unconsciously associate change with pain, we avoid change.
That is, until the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of changing. Suddenly, when it becomes more uncomfortable to stay the same than it is to change, we find the motivation to change.
But that is a sad approach to life. Wouldn't it be much better to change before you have to?
‘We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.’ – Jim Rohn
How much greater would life be if we embraced change and started to see pain as a gift rather than something we avoid. Pain appears in our life for a reason and it is important to understand that we can experience pain without allowing it to transform into suffering.
This is the key to living a life of peace, happiness, and abundance. Life doesn't have to be suffering and hardship, it can be a joyful, light and loving experience day after day. Achieving that is a process of recognising where we are resisting change and learning how to be more adaptable.
So why is change difficult?
There are many reasons why change is difficult; today I’m going to share 5 reasons with you and what you can do about it.
We often try to change too much too quickly Going from no change to massive change can quickly send us into a state of shock. Instead of trying to change too much too quickly make small changes. Break your goal down into smaller progress goals. For example if you’re goal was to lose 10kg, you could start with a smaller goal of exercising consistently 3-4 days a week and cutting out processed food. This would be a great start to achieving your 10kg weight loss goal.
Fear of the unknown The fear of the unknown causes people not to take chances and to stay in situations where they’re not happy. Many people start to play the ‘what if’ game as soon as they start to think about change What if I make a mistake? What if it’s worse than what I have now? What if I fail Our imagination is so powerful and can work for us or against us. It can dream up a never-ending supply of terrible things that could happen. Think about that for a second; if you have the ability to imagine the absolute worst thing that could happen, it means you have the skill to imagine the absolute best thing that could happen. It comes down to a matter of focus. Focus on what you can achieve and what you are capable of, rather than what you might not be able to achieve. ‘What the mind can believe and conceive, it can achieve.’ – Napoleon Hill
Doubting yourself When you contemplate making a big change in your life you’ll usually begin to doubt whether you are up for the challenge. Things can seem bigger and harder than they actually are. When we start to look at the big picture we begin to tell ourselves that we can’t do it. If you want to achieve great things, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and try something totally new. At least you’ll have tried. You won’t have to live with the regret that you’ll never know what you could have been if you’d been able to take that one step forward. ‘If you want to change your life or aspects of your life, begin by changing your words. Start speaking the words of your dreams, of who you want to become, not the words of fear and failure.’
Fear of pain, discomfort, and effort It’s rational to fear pain and discomfort. It’s reasonable to avoid effort. However, all these things prevent you from changing. They prevent you from exercising, eating healthy and making better choices. If you fear the pain, discomfort and effort of change, ask yourself what is the alternative of not changing? Is what you are currently doing working for you? Are you happy with where you are now? Often the pain associated with discomfort and effort of change isn’t greater than the pain associated with the alternative. ‘If you don’t like where you are, change it! You’re not a tree.’ – Jim Rohn
The process of change Change can be scary, tiring, frustrating, and repetitious. And change takes time. My philosophy is that if you want permanent change, it will take time. The problem with this is that most people are after the quick fix; they want it now. It is important to understand that to make a deep commitment to change, you need to give it time. Don’t be too hard on yourself to get it right straight away. Remind yourself that the time is going to pass anyway.
How to overcome your fears and embrace change?
Fear is all mental, and to overcome it you need to look inside yourself. You need to acknowledge your fears and dedicate yourself to tackling them one by one.
Yes, it can be hard, but it’s well worth it. I used to suffer from many fears, and to this day I still do. But I have learned that overcoming your fears is the only way to grow and move forward.
My advice to you is start slowly. Celebrate every small victory. Eventually you will stand above your fears, and will live a healthier, happier life.
After all, isn't that what we are all striving to achieve.
‘I used to say, “I sure hope things will change.” Then I learned that the only way things are going to change for me is when I change.’ – Jim Rohn