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Resistance to Change? It’s Going to Happen Anyway

December 31, 2009


I’m willing to bet that you, or someone you know has a resistance for change. You probably have things set in a certain way that you like them, and you probably have different routines and habits that you follow on a regular basis. You’ve probably felt “stuck in a rut” at some point or another, but also had no idea on what to do to make it better or get all the things from life you really deserve.

With a New Year approaching, I couldn’t think of a better topic to write about than why we are resistant to changing, or what it takes to truly transform your life into something great. You can have the relationship you want, the job you want, the things that make you happy – but you have to be willing to accept the changes that will get you there!

There are three different types of changes that we all go through in life. Changes we instill are ones that we are motivated to make and usually are to make life better. Maybe you switched from regular to decaf coffee because you were worried about caffeine – maybe you made a change in your diet to eat healthier. These types of changes aren’t easy to make, but they are changes that we want to make and consciously make.

Then there are changes that occur without us even realizing they happen, these are passive changes. These are changes that come from either growth or neglect in our own personal lives.  Sometimes these changes are positive, other times they can be negative. We all change at the very least physically as we age – and we also develop emotionally from different experiences we encounter. We can’t really resist these changes, because we don’t notice them until we look back on our lives a month, year, or decade later.

The third kind of changes are ones we have no control over, External Changes. Sometimes, I think these changes happen simply as the universe’s way to force you to learn how to adapt or get out of the rut. Again, sometimes these changes are good – like the birth of a new baby or maybe meeting someone new. Other times, these changes can seem traumatic, like losing a job at the worst possible time or losing someone close to you that you love. We have no control over most of these things, we must instead learn how to use the change as an opportunity instead of as a disaster. Most of us deal with these types of changes passively, not realizing that it’s often a change for our own good in the long run, whether to grow emotionally or find a new opportunity we may have ignored before.

Why Do We Resist Change?

Change, no matter how bad it may seem, is a good thing. If life stayed the same all the time, we would get bored. We would never grow, never develop beyond what we already are. But most of us hate changes, especially sudden unexpected ones.

There’s several theories on why we resist change – and once you identify your reasons, you can see what is holding you back:

Fear of the Unknown:  What happens when you quit your job one day with no future plans? It can be terrifying to think that you might end up losing your house, your family, barely living and starving to death underneath a bridge. Will that actually happen? To most of us, no – but we’re still afraid of it nonetheless. Sometimes staying where you are without ever changing can be a much more scarier thought. Staying with someone who doesn’t inspire you, or wasting your life through a mundane job you hate is just as equally terrifying and suffocating to me. It’s not irrational to be afraid of anything, but at the same time, being afraid of change can cause results that may be even more scary.

We’re Too Busy: Being too busy for anything is usually just an excuse, because if you want something you will make the time for it. But we get distracted, we get sidetracked – giving too much focus on mundane tasks that don’t really need the amount of attention we give them, letting our personal relationships and personal development often suffer. Everybody is busy – even my two year old has a schedule and a social agenda. Sometimes you need to cut down on all that noise and think about what really is important to your happiness.

We Put Money as a Priority: There are millions of people who are not eating healthy foods, simply because the ones that are unhealthy are cheaper. Yet, when they suffer from health problems, they don’t that maybe it’s because they were letting money control their destiny. When you put money as a reason for not changing, you’re limiting yourself forever to being worried about money. Why should you let money control your destiny and your well being? I’m not saying go out on an uncontrolled shopping spree here – but money should not be the reason why you are unhappy, unhealthy, or otherwise not living the life you deserve.

We are too Accepting: Those who don’t like change tend to be very accepting of things that happen around them – even if they really shouldn’t be. Most of us are all too fast to just say, “Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about it”. While yes, some things we have no control over, we can control how we react and respond. When you take control of how you feel, how you live, and what you do, you’re not going to suffer when the uncontrolled changes happen, and you’ll be less likely to see passive changes as well.

We Need More Faith: Faith goes on beyond believing or non-believing in the deity of your choice. We need to believe more in ourselves and of others what we’re truly capable of doing. Everywhere you turn there is a skeptic, and many of us are programmed to believe “Oh, I could never succeed at that”. What you believe will likely manifest itself as true. Without faith in something, you’re never going to see a change.

We Change the Wrong Things: It’s not easy to know what to change to make life better. Maybe you’re having problems with your spouse, and so it seems like the obvious solution is to end the relationship, since it must be him or her that needs to change. But, it might not have been that person – it may have been how you communicated with each other or what you did together or your expectations that truly needed changed. Unfortunately, it’s not until many a relationships have ended do we realize we needed to change our behavior and actions, not remove the person we once loved. Before you go making drastic changes, take some time and look beyond the physical layer of what is bothering you and dig deeper to see what the root cause is.

So What Do You Do?

If you want to change, or know something in your life needs a change – be it your personal finance situation, your relationships, your stress level, a bad habit, etc. – look at really what kind of change needs to happen. Most of hard part about changing and fighting the resistance to change starts right in your own heart. If you never overcome the reasons why you afraid to change, you’ll never make the change. And if you continue to be resistant to change, you’ll look back a month from now, a year from now, a decade from now – and see change anyway.

A New Year is here, and for many I hope this is the year you take control of the changes that happen in your life and your relationships with others instead of just letting life pass you by. Not liking change isn’t going to protect you from it happening – so why not take control and get the life you want?

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I am married to the funniest guy in the world, mom of some cute crazy kids, and write mostly from my own experiences in love and relationships.

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