- Lisa Bushman
Why is Change So Difficult?
Updated: Jan 9, 2021
Frustrated with trying to change? Difficult, huh? We all try really hard to make changes in our lives. Sometimes it's exercise, food, relationships, patterns, drugs, jobs, weight, etc. You name it and most people have tried to change it. We all think that we have good intentions, but if you want to master change, then you really need to understand the process of moving outside your comfort zone. If I had to pick one thing that trips people up, it's the fear of trying something new. This is where the limits of our comfort zone show up, and many people just don't recognize it. As soon as we get uncomfortable, we tend to revert back to our old ways. What if you could learn not to react in this way, and just began to NOTICE THIS about yourself?
Other barriers may be that your mindset isn't in alignment with your actions.
Sometimes, self-limiting beliefs get in the way. As you can see in the Comfort Zone chart above, a lack of self-confidence can often keep us stuck in fear. However, this is just a belief about ourselves that we picked up somewhere along the road of life. It's a belief, and only that ....just a belief.... just a thought... just a thing in our mind that's not necessarily true. It doesn't mean that you are incapable of accomplishing the goal. Sometimes, we over-identify with our thoughts, and it can get really scary in there! I remember when I started my own private practice, I found myself in this very situation. I had just signed a contract to rent office space, and 10 seconds later had doubt about my abilities to make it as a business owner. I knew that I had to change my mindset, in order to be in alignment with the goal. I began going to the office, even before it had furniture, and seeing myself in the space. Day after day, everything that I did to start up my business, I did at that office.
One of the biggest traps, for many people, lies in choosing an effective means of change. Many people get stuck in limiting themselves to only one way to change. They put forth a lot of effort, but continue to use the same mode over and over again. For example, if you've been trying to change something in your life, but using the same technique for the last 5 years, maybe what you're doing isn't effective. Sometimes we must have a paradigm shift and look outside the box for new and more direct ways to accomplish the same goal. There are many ways to accomplish the same goal.
Also, if you really want to change, then leave no room for alternatives. Hesitancy is always ineffective. Leaving yourself a way to opt out, means that you either:
1) Only "hope" to achieve the goal. You don't really see yourself doing it from the onset.
That's not an intention to succeed. You're really only contemplating at that point.
2) You've set too many criteria around what your behavior MUST look like in order for you
to be successful. In the end, this is a form of black/white thinking, which can be
troublesome. It's either exactly how I want it to be, or its not good enough.
This often creates negative expectations, which lead to fear and anxiety, and create a
vicious cycle of doubt and self-blame. Lighten up !
Enlisting the help of others, whom you trust, can also be effective. Given the current situation, things have changed, so maybe communicating via phone, email, or Zoom, might be a great way to help ease your fears, and get others to help support you in accomplishing your goal. It's always a good thing to talk to others. It helps us gain new information and different perspectives. It can also help us stay out of our head, which is usually full of fear and doubt. I remember when I first started thinking about going to grad school. I began talking to some of my friends about the idea. Many people gave me encouragement, feedback, and different perspectives on my ability to accomplish the goal. They had much more faith in me than I did! I remember running into my friend Amy, in the middle of Krogers, (the meat section, to be exact) and she told me "yes...follow your dream" That was not something that was naturally inherent in me. I doubt that she knows this, but ultimately, her words were the driving force for me to take action.
Keep a personal growth focus. Small steps in the right direction lead to accelerated growth later down the road. Take risks that you normally would have shied away from in the past. There is no growth without risk! It just doesn't work that way. Be assertive and take charge of your life. You'll be surprised at your own strength!
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"