Avoiding change is a common human trait. Common in that most people don’t like it, so they avoid it. But, what if the change is good for you? Intellectually you know you need to change something — your diet, sleep patterns, your dental hygiene, or a password — but you avoid it anyway. What’s up with that?
“Change is hard” seems to be a mantra. We don’t want to change our minds, our habits, or our attitudes even when we want to. Accepting change can make for an easier transition. Embracing it can make for a more pleasant transition. But how do you do that?
You decide. Decide to change. It’s that simple. I didn’t say it was easy, but it is simple. Who do you want to be? Live into that person NOW. What a great motivation for change! Does fear get in your way? Or, are you resisting the change because you want or need to be right? Or, maybe the change doesn’t fit your ideas about your life.
Let’s look at how you approach the changes you face in life. Can they evolve, or do they need to be transformed? Do they need to happen fast, or can they happen gradually? Will it be easier if you make them quickly or slowly? Slow might seem like a good pace to go and fast may seem like a pace that’s too scary to try. How can you be sure, though, which pace is better?
This discussion reminds me of an ambulance call I was on where the patient had dislocated her kneecap. She wouldn’t let anyone on scene re-locate it so she took the slow, bumpy ambulance ride down the dirt road to the hospital so a doctor could look at it. Initially, she wouldn’t let any nurse or doctor fix it. But, after some time, more pain, and more persuasion she allowed a doctor to put her kneecap back in place. Yes, it hurt for a split second — and then it was over. “Oh, I didn’t know it was that easy! I should have done this at home!”. That’s the difference between “evolve” and “transform” — slow and bumpy or fast and relief.
I think that generally, it’s the fear of the unknown that holds us back from embracing change.
Everyone has fear of some sort or another at various times in their life. But, about 20% of the US population is affected by chronic fear and anxiety issues. If you subscribe to the Enneagram model, 50% of the world is fear-based. That impacts you at work, in school, and in your personal life.
Brené Brown says we put on armor in response to fear. Armor is heavy, limits our movements, and holds us back. And if we don’t deal with it, the fear can turn into grief, rage, and depression. My analogy for fear is that we cower at the back of our proverbial cave, hiding from all the things that we are resisting, scare us, worry us, make us anxious, or have you say “I can’t”. If we don’t deal with it, the fear blocks us from living a full life.
A Different Choice
It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to put on armor. You don’t have to cower in the back of your cave. You can analyze your best options in regards to the proposed change, take the emotional temperature of the different options, and then decide what course of action you’ll take to manage the change.
Think how much more pleasant life is when you are in control of your decisions and actions. Think how much easier things are when you don’t fight them but instead find a way to change your mindset about the change and move forward on your terms.
What do you need to have different in your life? Decide to change.
If you need help, consider a coach to guide you.
The video follow-on to this article is A Personal Look at Decide to Change — Your Future Depends on It.