As you navigate the journey to change your life, you have probably noticed things are not always easy. It can feel as though you are fighting yourself every step along the way. This can cause your transformation to feel draining and impossible to accomplish.
If you have felt this way and you are ready to change your life for the better, you are going to need to overcome your resistance to change.
Why Do People Resist Change?
Most people want to change their life, but are discouraged by the fears and self-doubt their false beliefs create. Even though you understand the benefits of changing your life, there is still the small fact that you are trying something new.
The toughest part about “new” experiences are the uncertainty surrounding your results. New experiences can transform your life in the most astounding of ways. However, there is also the possibility your new experiences can cause the quality of your life to drastically deteriorate.
As a result, your mind is left with a difficult decision. It can encourage your transformation and accept the fact that things may not go as planned. Or your mind can obstruct your effort to change your life and do everything in its power to maintain status quo.
If you have experienced resistance when attempting to change your life, you already know your mind prefers status quo over change. In your mind’s defense, it just wants to make sure you are safe. That is your minds number one objective every single day.
Your mind does not believe your goals are worth the possibility of you suffering a severe injury. Even if your current habits may be destructive, your mind considers those “safe” risks. They are deemed “safe” because you are still alive.
This helps explain why many people struggle with eating healthy. They understand the risks of unhealthy eating, but they are facing so much resistance every time they try to change their diet. For many, they do not successfully change their diet until they have a heart attack or diagnosed with cancer.
You can probably guess why. It is because their mind truly understands that continuing with the “same ole” is actually a life-threatening choice.
The Benefits of Changing Your Life
To help lower your mind’s initial resistance to change, you are going to need to do a little homework. A good place to start is by outlining the benefits of changing your life. If you are attempting to find a new job, list the benefits of your new job.
Make sure you go deeper than, “to make more money”. Why do you want to make more money? Is it because you want to provide for your family? Maybe you want to purchase your first home or pay off your debt?
If you want to provide for your family, list the reason this goal is so important to you. Explore what would happen if you were unable to provide for your family and why you cannot allow that to happen.
If you want to pay off your debt, outline the stress and anxiety you feel because of your debt. Then research some of the side-effects of stress and the benefits of managing your stress levels.
You want to make it as real as you can for your mind because you want your mind to see the benefit of change and the danger of inaction.
This article will help you understand more about the importance of change:
How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change
1. Adopt a Growth Mindset
Another reason you may find yourself resisting change is because you do not believe you will get the desired result. You may have noticed, there are plenty of people who no longer believe they change their life for the better.
They dread every Monday they have to go to work, and pray that every tomorrow is Saturday. They feel powerless to change their life and believe things will always be the way they are.
If you want to overcome your resistance to change, you must believe change is possible. No one like wasting their time and your mind is no different. If it believes you are not going to succeed, it is going to try to stop you before you start.
One of the best ways to overcome this issue is to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that you can learn and develop the skills necessary to better your life.
By empowering yourself with a growth mindset, you will no-longer be restrained by your self-doubt and fear of failure. Your fears and self-doubt cause you to procrastinate on changing your life. Think about it, who wants to waste their time doing something they know is going to fail?
2. Understand That Failure Is Not Guaranteed
The mindset hack is to help your mind understand that failure is not guaranteed. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to expose your mind to new possibilities. You do this by reading, listening, and watching people in similar situations talk about their journey to success.
As you listen to people talk about their successes and their failures, you start to realize two things:
First, the path to success is not as straight as people would have you think. You live in a social media world where everyone is sharing only the best parts of their life. People rarely share the difficulties, which can create a false feeling of failure because your life is not as perfect as theirs. The truth is their life is not perfect either. They are simply not sharing their struggles.
The second thing you will realize is failure is a part of success. Think of success and failure as two-halves of the same coin. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who has experienced success without experiencing opposition.
The key take-away from these two realizations is the fact what we call “failure”, the successful speak of as their “moment of clarity”. If you want to overcome your resistance to change, you must see failure the same way. Failure is not something to avoid, nor is it always a sign that something is impossible. Failure is simply an opportunity for improvement.
3. Build Your Confidence in Yourself
We already touched on the uncertainty surrounding changing your life for the better. Now, you are going to discover the antidote to any apprehension surrounding uncertainty. If you want ensure you are not paralyzed by uncertainty, you need to build certainty (simple, right?).
Your natural question is, “how do I build certainty”? The truth is when it comes to change you can never remove all uncertainty. However, you can remove most of it if you prepare ahead of time.
Consider if you are nervous about buying your first home, what can you do to ease the tension?
If your resistance is based on whether you can afford the mortgage, then sitting down and creating a budget is a great way to ease your concern.
There could also be apprehension because you have never purchased a home before. If that is the case, you will benefit from researching the process to buy your first home. You could also be worried that you will end up paying too much for the home. In this situation, there are several resources you can utilize to pinpoint the value of almost any home in any neighborhood.
As you spend time planning and understanding the change you want to make in your life, you will slowly remove the uncertainty. As you discover more, you will be more confident in your ability to navigate the rough terrain of changing your life.
4. Keep a Success Journal
In addition to improving your perception of the process, you want to improve your perception of yourself.
In order to overcome your resistance to change, you are going to need to trust and believe in yourself.
When you face a new situation, you will wonder if you have what it takes to successfully change your life. To quickly overcome this obstacle and maintain a positive perception of yourself, you need to keep a success journal.
In your success journal, write down all, and I do mean all of your successes. Your successes do not need to be about any particular aspect of your life. You are simply going to fill the pages with all of your triumphs.
Your successes could be you applying for your first job, asking that special someone out on a date, or setting up a retirement account. You will notice each of these successes are focused on you taking action. You can write down your successful outcomes as well, but I have found focusing on what you can control is more important.
For example, if you focused on attaining the job, you were allowing the decision of another person to play a role in your perception of yourself.
There will be times that you apply for a job that was already assigned to someone. The company simply posted the position because they are required to do so by law. It had little to do with you being qualified or not, they just already had their person.
The same holds true for asking that special someone on a date. Who cares if they said yes or no? You should be proud of yourself for simply asking. Asking someone on a date is what you can control, and if you keep asking the people you like, you will get a yes.
Now there is a place for you to share the encouragement of others in your success journal as well. If you help someone and they show their appreciation with a kind note or a few words of encouragement, write them in your journal.
Then as you find yourself doubting your ability to successfully change your life, read a few pages out of journal. You will quickly regain the proper perspective and realize you have what it takes to achieve your goals.
5. Appeal to Your Emotional Side
According to the book Dual-Process Theories in Social Psychology, while the left side of your brain appreciates facts and figures, your right side will appreciate vivid imagery in the form of metaphors and personal stories.
Your success journal is a plea to the right side of your brain. By allowing yourself to relive your stories of success, you are empowering your mind to visualize your life post-transformation.
Your mind naturally looks for the negative result because it is focused on keeping you alive. This causes your mind to be on the lookout for danger. That is why your local news will start with twenty minutes of their most dangerous stories. It is hard for your mind to allow you to turn the channel as you begin to worry about your safety.
To help shift your focus, it will be beneficial for you to include things you are grateful for you in your success journal.
A good rule of thumb is to write one thing you are grateful for, each time you find yourself reflecting on something you do not like. By being intentional with your actions, you can train your mind to look for the good.
Read and write in your success journal on a daily basis and you will quickly realize you have already accomplished so much in your life.
Overcoming your resistance to change starts in the mind. If you want to change your life for the better, you must believe it is possible and in your best interest to do so. Otherwise, you will find yourself giving into your resistant mind’s call to maintain status quo.
More Resources About Making Changes
Featured photo credit: Ani Kolleshi via unsplash.com