We all know that change is inevitable in life, but none of us likes change being imposed. Amazingly though, we often resist changes we want to make. Oh yes, we find ways to sabotage, resist and undermine change, EVEN WHERE WE SAY WE WANT IT, AND SEE IT AS GOOD! Examples include a career change, a desire to lose weight, or work changes that we are sponsoring.

Here I examine three questions.
• How do we resist desirable change?
• Why do we resist?
• What can we do about it?

On the first question, we have different ways of resisting change - here are just a few, which you might recognise.

More detail

I see that change could be good. However, I need more information first, just to be sure. More detail is a continuous process, and a great way to procrastinate!

It's not so bad

Things aren't as bad as I first thought, so maybe I don't need to change.

This isn't the right time

I can't start this diet right now - I have a party to go to next weekend! Of course, there will always be a reason why now isn't the right time….and it probably never will be. I am wholeheartedly committed, but not yet.

The intellectual

I have plenty of time to discuss and debate the ideas, but fail to get round to the practicalities of change. We never move from thought to action.

It's them!

I'm ready to change myself. And if it wasn't for that lot we could go ahead. It's their problem, not mine.

So on to the second question, why do we resist? Change undermines our sense of control and security, which leaves us vulnerable. Control loss, vulnerability, and insecurity are all feelings. But rather than admit our feelings, we resist the change in our own way, using rationality - and we all do this!

The final question then, what can we do about our own resistance? There are many possible strategies for dealing with it. Here are just a few thoughts, based on my experience of change, both with clients and in my own life.

Set yourself a vision

Call it mission, vision, direction, whatever. Have a sense of where you want to go in your work and life. Once you have this direction, set some goals - that way, you have a timescale for action, and not just a vague intention to do something 'sometime'.

Always remember that, if you have no sense of direction, every change is bad!

Understand your values

Your values are what's important to you, your moral compass. Get clear on what they are. Examples of values include achievement, honesty, integrity, decisiveness, and loyalty. Being clear on your values will help you to navigate change.

The ought / should trap

Do you really want change, or is it something you 'ought' or 'should' do? If it's ought or should, look at why you see it this way. Are you considering change merely to get approval from others? If you don't really want to change for your own reasons, dump it.

Commit publicly

When you go public on your intention to change, two things happen. First, things can start moving in a way that makes it easier to make the change. It may be coincidence, or it may be an unseen hand in the universe. But whatever it is, many people who make changes successfully say that 'declaring your intention to change' leads to momentum being generated.

Second, whoever you've told will give you a hard time if you don't follow through on your declaration, causing you embarrassment. Risk of embarrassment is a major motivator to action!

Consider your beliefs

We all have beliefs about ourselves, e.g. 'I'm no good in presentations', or 'I am risk averse'. These beliefs evolve in our heads, often from childhood, or 'bad experiences'. It's worth critically re-examining beliefs that hold you back. Beliefs are not true or false. They are merely your beliefs, and they can be changed. If you think beliefs are true, just consider the anorexic who thinks they are fat. They really do believe that.

Cut yourself some slack!

Perhaps most importantly, don't beat yourself up. It is natural to resist change - we need some stability in the world after all. We're all human, we generally try to do our best. While we can all improve, it doesn't make us bad now. So go easy.

In closing this article, I'll leave you with one final thought. If you want to accelerate to a brilliant future, all you need to do is to stop braking! Reduce your own resistors, and you can be anything you want.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Eyre is the Consultant owner of Brilliant Futures. He has worked in the personal development field for twenty five years, for both large and small organisations. He is passionate about enabling people to achieve their goals in work and life. His book, 'Stand up and live', has recently been published.

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