What Makes Change So Hard?
Change is necessary.
Got goals? To reach your goals, you can’t keep doing the same ole thing! Goals naturally force you to make changes.
Do you have a vision for where you’d like to be – the “new” you? That too means making changes.
Not satisfied with the results you are getting? Getting better results hinges on the changes you make.
Life is change — there’s no getting around it. When growth, reproduction, activity, and are no longer present, neither is life!
Without change, you remain stuck. In order to truly thrive in life and work you must become more adept at making changes!
Yet change is hard because you don’t…
1. Know WHAT to Change
Start small! You may feel like you are in need of a major overhaul, but you are more likely to make successful changes if you tackle one change at a time.
To zero in on what one change to make begin reflecting on where are experiencing the greatest pain or the area that is having the greatest negative impact on your life and/or work. For example, if you find yourself frazzled and worn out a good bit of the tine, perhaps getting more sleep would be a worthy goal. What change would enable you to get more rest? That might mean a series of changes like adopting an evening routing, exercising, or eliminating screen time before bed. Pick one change and then tackle another change.
Perhaps you’d like to get better results in work and in order to do that you will need to devote more time to prospecting. Your one change might be making prospecting the very first thing you do each morning. Once you successfully do that, you can experiment with ways to make your prospecting more effecting.
The good news is that as you begin successfully making changes, it does get easier!
Still unsure about what to change?
- Setting aside time alone with God, asking Him to reveal what He wants you to change.
- Asking trusted family members or friends to share with you five things they love and appreciate about you, and one change you might make.
- Working with a coach who can provide a safe place for you to explore the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Not only will a coach help you identify what needs to change, they will also support you through the process.
You may want to take one, two, or all three of these steps. What’s certain: the clearer you are on what needs to change the more likely you are to change.
2. Consider YOUR Thinking
Unless you address the thinking and beliefs that contributed to where you are now, attempting to make changes won’t happen. What are the funky thoughts that have prevented you from moving forward?
Let’s take a quick look at the sleep example. What are some of the possible thoughts or beliefs that are robbing you of sleep? Thoughts like…
→ I have too much to do to get enough rest.
The Truth: Your lack of sleep is making you less effective. You are less creative, make more mistakes, and have less energy. Rest – you need it! You are worthy of it!
→ I have to skimp on rest because there aren’t enough hours in the day.
The Truth: You have all the time you need to do what you really need to do!
Challenge yourself to get to the root of the thinking and beliefs that are hindering you! It will make a powerful difference in your journey of change!
3. Take the TIME to Change
There’s no getting around it! Change is a process and processes take time. If you venture into change expecting immediate results you are sure to be disappointed.
New habits take a minimum of thirty days to take hold, sometimes longer. Too often, you get off to a great start but by the end of the first week you drift back to your old ways. A few false starts like this and you have less and less motivation to try again.
Whatever actions are needed in order for you to see real change must be done over an extended period of time. You will want to see confirmation that you are on the right track. Rather than seeking confirmation, be determined to mind the three C’s:
- Committed – eyes on the prize – no stopping you! Sadly, most people give up too soon!
- Consistent – day in day out! Baby steps add up to something grand!
- Character – who do you really want to be? Someone who is disciplined and determined or someone who is not?
4. Make a PLAN for change
If you’re serious about making changes, slow down, stop running in circles, and create a plan that includes:
- SMARTER goal or goals: Specific, Measurable, Action(s) – the steps you will take daily, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluate, Re-adjust.
- Breaking down your goal into teeny tiny action steps that when completed leave you with a feeling of accomplishment and motivation to take on the next step. As they say, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
- Identifying potential obstacles before they derail you.
- Creating an accountability team – family, friends, or a coach that will support you and hold you accountable through your change process.
- Re-evaluating along the way. What patterns do you see creeping in? What adjustments do you need to make to your plan? These are not failure moments, but learning moments.
- Establishing rewards for successfully taking steps towards change.
5. Prepare for the EMOTIONS of Change
Surprising emotions bubble up in the midst of making changes. Don’t be surprised by feelings of loss, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and more. Give yourself permission to feel and to take the time to be curious about what your emotions are revealing. Making changes is an opportunity for you to gain valuable insights about yourself.
Journaling, talking with a friend, or working with a coach are all incredibly helpful ways of processing your feelings. You may even want to take the 30-Day Feelings Challenge!
6. Create an ENVIRONMENT for change
Without setting the stage for success, the odds are naturally against you. Ready to create an environment conducive to change? It’s all about adding and subtracting; adding to your life what will help facilitate change, and eliminating whatever might hold you back.
For example, if you are trying to eat healthier – hang out with health nuts and stock up on healthy foods. Then limit your time with the junk food junkies in your life and toss the junk food.
Trying to increase your productivity? Add what inspires you to your work space as well as tools like timers to keep you working within set time blocks, a proper filing system, or even a scented candle if that helps you focus. Eliminate clutter; turn off social media, emails, and anything that is a distraction.
7. Know how to handle the DISCOMFORT of change
Who wants to be uncomfortable? No one really! Clinging to comfort – that’s the very thing that has prevented you from making necessary changes up to this point.
As a coach, I frequently talk with people who are frustrated, down, and hating life, yet so afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone and experiencing temporary discomfort that they do nothing. What they don’t realize is that experiencing discomfort gets a little easier each time you do it. And the longer you put off the discomfort, the harder it is to make changes.
Remember, discomfort is temporary and pales by comparison to your current unhappiness or the many benefits of change. Training yourself to do hard things will serve you well!
8. Include GOD in the Process
On your own you have limited power to make changes. You need God’s help! That’s why it’s imperative that you include Him as you seek to make changes. Spend time with Him daily and rely on Him for help, encouragement, and more each step of the way! Perhaps the most important change is connecting with Him daily and making that time a priority if you haven’t already.
What change do you need to make? What are you missing out on if you don’t?
This post was originally posted on 4/18/17. It’s been revised & updated just for you!