I was talking with a coaching client the other day about change and how it can be difficult for most of us. Our conversation led me to write about it. I thought I’d share this with you as a practical resource for transforming your life.
Why is Change Hard?
Three things come to my mind that are supported by scientific research:
- We are hard wired to be in our comfort zone. It’s for human survival … and reinforced by how we deal with difficult emotions growing up. We react to the stressors with a fight, flight, or freeze response, then act out learned behaviors that we think will take away the discomfort and fear. Those behaviors often keep us stuck and in a cycle of disappointment and failure.
- In some circumstances we may fail to see change happening already around us. Our own conditioning and filters prevent us from seeing what’s real.
- Even when we really want it, its hard to break old habits and beliefs and step out of our comfort zone. In “Immunity to Change” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Laley they state that desire and logic aren’t enough.
For example: In a recent study. Doctors told heart patients that they will die unless they change their habits – taking meds consistently, changing eating habits and getting regular exercise. The result? only 1 in 7 people followed through. Even when it’s a matter of life and death, the ability to change can be madly elusive.
We have a built in immunity to change.
For real change to happen there has to be an inner transformation.
In my experience from coaching people from all walks of life, this is what is needed:
- A compelling gut level reason. The one big thing! A vision of how you see yourself being. Craft an inspirational story with you in the lead – Become your own hero.
- Engage your head AND your heart. Connecting to your hopes will give you energy to propel you forward. Use your logical brain to see the benefits of change outweigh the cost of not changing.
- Change takes time. It isn’t about flicking a switch. Don’t try to change until your mind and emotions are ready. Give the universe time to align itself around your new way of being.
- Open up your mindset and options before experimenting and taking action. Be curious and explore. Use your imagination without editing or judging. (That’s your ego trying to keep you safe!)
- Be purposeful and gather information to overcome assumptions and beliefs that get in the way.
- Tap into your past success with change. What worked for you that you can bring here? What do you choose not to do this time around?
- No one is successful by themselves. Build a team to support you, include the people that inspire you.
- Be patient …. with the outcome you want, and with yourself. In your inner exploration you will encounter resistance and fear. It takes time to be okay with this and realize it is part of the process of transformation.
- Trust that the outcome you really want will happen when it is meant to.
So let go of those unrealistic new years resolutions, going cold turkey and taking giant leaps of faith.
Take a more mindful approach to change.
Find your Middle Ground and take the time to get to know your own inspiring self. This is the part of you that will bring about real change and transformation.