It comes up in many conversations. We struggle with how things are, and what to do to bring about what we want in life. We ask ourselves “Why is change so hard?”
What a great coaching question. And one I will elaborate here in this re-post.
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 feeling like a 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, it’s 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 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 inner transformation.
In my experience from coaching people from all walks of life, this is what is needed to overcome our (ingrained and very human) resistance to change:
- A compelling vision that arises from deep inside. Some call it a gut calling, and others, inspiration from the soul. It’s 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 like 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 seeing yourself and being in the world.
- 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 are getting 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. Reach out to people and gather a support team. 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. (I can’t do that! What will they think? What if I fail?) 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 step by step 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.