Why Is It Difficult To Change?

By: Cheryl Hitchcock DSW, ADC

This month a lot of changes are on the horizon and I thought it might be interesting to tackle the subject of change and why it is difficult to change. Sometimes we welcome change into our lives, but other times we resist and run the opposite direction. Even if we know we need to make a change, it’s certainly easier and takes less effort to stay the same. One of the most important things to realize is that sometimes when we avoid making the changes we want, eventually another person—or life—will make them for us.

It is far more beneficial to create the changes we want, rather than just waiting for something to happen. Like I said, this process is not always easy, but it’s definitely a necessary one to embrace. Exploring why it is difficult to change is a good first step. Lets take a look at some of the reasons why change is so hard in the first place:

We are creatures of habit: For the most part, people need a sense of order and routine. Without these things there tends to be feelings of confusion and discomfort. On some level, making a change causes a temporary sense of chaos, so it might make you think that you should go back to the way things were, even if you were miserable. Many people start to make changes and then get into a cycle of fear and worry, and avoid what needs to be done. In the end, the hardest part about changing isn’t necessarily the change itself, but the anticipation.

It’s easier to stay the same than to change: Doing the same thing over and over usually produces the same results, and whether you’re happy with those results or not, it’s simply easier just to stay the same. However, sometimes you realize you’ve had enough and it’s time to shake things up. You might find you’re suffering more than thriving if a change badly needs to be made, and it’s irrational to think that things will magically transform without some effort. So, even though it can be unnerving, making the decision to change and jumping in with both feet is a celebration in itself.

We’re operating on autopilot: This is another reason why it is difficult to change. Now, it’s not necessary a bad thing to be on autopilot, but it means that you might not notice when a change needs to happen. Many people tend to do things a same way without questioning their actions too much. It’s only when patterns are acknowledged and broken that a change can arise.

Change takes effort: Sure, it’s easy enough to set goals and get pumped up for awhile, but if you don’t put in the honest effort, the changes you want will elude you. Putting in effort means taking small steps every day toward the changes you want to make in life—such as signing up for classes or seminars, doing action-oriented activities, and those big or small steps that lead to achieving goals. In the change process, you have to keep yourself motivated, moving forward, and aware of where you are now and where you want to go.

Fear of the unknown: Changing brings up feelings of vulnerability and the uncertainty that you’re exploring unknown territory and there is no guarantee how things will turn out. For some people, this part is exciting and invigorating, but others tend to dislike the unknown and prefer the predictable. In the end, diving into the unknown is usually where some of the greatest growth and feelings of accomplishment can happen. So, go for it!