As you navigate the journey to change your life, you have probably noticed things are not always easy. It can feel as though you are fighting yourself every step of the way. This can cause your transformation to feel draining and impossible to accomplish, which ultimately creates resistance to change.
If you have felt this way and are ready to change your life for the better, you are going to need to overcome your resistance to change. Use these ideas and suggestions to learn how!
1. Outline the Benefits of Changing Your Life
To help lower your mind’s initial resistance to change, you’re going to need to do a little homework. A good place to start is by outlining the benefits of changing your life. If you are attempting to find a new job, list the benefits of your new job.
Make sure you go deeper than “to make more money.” Why do you want to make more money? Is it because you want to provide for your family? Maybe you want to purchase your first home or pay off your debt.
If you want to provide for your family, list the reason this goal is so important to you.
If you want to pay off your debt, outline the stress and anxiety you feel because of your debt. Then, research some of the side-effects of stress and the benefits of managing your stress levels.
You want to make it as real as you can for your mind, because you want your mind to see the benefit of change and the danger of inaction.
2. Adopt a Growth Mindset [Restless]
Another reason people resist change is because they don’t believe they will get the desired result.
If you want to overcome your resistance to change, you must believe change is possible. No one likes wasting their time, and your mind is no different. If it believes you are not going to succeed, it is going to try to stop you before you start.
One of the best ways to overcome this issue is to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that you can learn and develop the skills necessary to better your life.
You can listen to this TED Talk with Carol Dweck to understand why a growth mindset is so powerful.
One study pointed out, for example, that “those who believe intelligence is fixed and cannot be changed exert less effort to succeed”. When you believe change is possible, you work harder to achieve the change you’re seeking.
By empowering yourself with a growth mindset and understanding that you’re capable of problem solving, you will no-longer be restrained by your self-doubt and fear of failure.
3. Understand That Failure Is Not Guaranteed
Help your mind understand that failure is not guaranteed. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to expose your mind to new possibilities. You do this by reading, listening, and watching people in similar situations talk about their journey to success.
As you listen to people talk about their successes and their failures, you start to realize two things:
First, the path to success is not as straight as people would have you think. You live in a social media world where everyone is sharing only the best parts of their life. People rarely share the difficulties, which can create a false feeling of failure because your life is not as perfect as theirs.
The second thing you will realize is that failure is a part of success. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who has experienced success without experiencing opposition.
The key take-away from these two realizations is the fact that what we call “failure,” the successful speak of as their “moment of clarity.”. If you want to overcome the sources of resistance to change, you must see failure the same way. Failure is not something to avoid, nor is it always a sign that something is impossible. Failure is simply an opportunity for improvement.
4. Build Certainty, Resistance
We already touched on the uncertainty surrounding changing your life for the better and people’s fear of the unknown. Now you are going to discover the antidote to any apprehension surrounding uncertainty.
If you want to ensure you are not paralyzed by uncertainty, you need to build certainty!
Your natural question is, “How do I build certainty”? When it comes to change, you can never remove all uncertainty. However, you can remove most of it if you prepare ahead of time.
Consider being nervous about buying your first home. What can you do to ease the tension?
If your resistance is based on whether you can afford the mortgage, then sitting down and creating a budget is a great way to ease your concern.
There could also be apprehension because you have never purchased a home before. If that is the case, you will benefit from researching the process and speaking to others who have done it.
As you spend time planning and understanding the change you want to make in your life, you will slowly remove the uncertainty. As you discover more, you will be more confident in your ability to navigate the rough terrain of changing your life.
Try communicating plans you make to someone you trust. This will ease signs of resistance more as you create a support system around your goal.
Take a look at this guide to learn more about building self-confidence.
5. Keep a Success Journal
In addition to improving your perception of the process, you want to improve your perception of yourself if you want to overcome your resistance to change.
When you face a new situation, you will wonder if you have what it takes to successfully change your life. To quickly overcome this obstacle and maintain a positive perception of yourself, you need to keep a success journal.
In your success journal, write down all of your successes.
Your successes could include applying for your first job, asking that special someone out on a date, or setting up a retirement account. You will notice each of these successes are focused on you taking action. You can write down your successful outcomes as well, but I have found focusing on what you can control is more important.
For example, if you focused on attaining the job, you were allowing the decision of another person to play a role in your perception of yourself.
There’s a place for you to share the encouragement of others in your success journal, as well. If you help someone, and they show their appreciation with a kind note or a few words of encouragement, write them in your journal.
Then, as you find yourself doubting your ability to successfully change your life, read a few pages of your journal. You will quickly regain the proper perspective and realize you have what it takes to achieve your goals.
6. Appeal to Your Emotional Side
According to the book Dual-Process Theories in Social Psychology, the left side of your brain appreciates facts and figures, while your right side will appreciate vivid imagery in the form of metaphors and personal stories.
Your success journal is a plea to the right side of your brain. By allowing yourself to relive your stories of success, you are empowering your mind to visualize your life post-transformation.
Your mind naturally looks for the negative result because it is focused on keeping you alive. One study pointed out that “it has been indicated that negative events elicit more rapid and more prominent responses than non-negative events” because of a negativity bias.
To help shift your focus toward good ideas, it will be beneficial for you to include things you are grateful for in your success journal.
A good rule of thumb is to write one thing you are grateful for each time you find yourself reflecting on something you don’t like. By being intentional with your actions, you can train your mind to look for the good.
Read and write in your success journal on a day-to-day basis, and you will quickly realize you have already accomplished so much in your life.
Dealing with resistance to change starts in the mind. If you want to change your life for the better, you must believe it is possible and in your best interest to do so. Otherwise, you will find yourself giving into your resistant mind’s call to maintain the status quo.