Dig Deep to Discover Why You Resist Change
“I’ll do better next time.” “No one is perfect.” “Well, at least I was not as bad as I could have been!” Hidden in each of these statements is a lot of positive energy, even though they are probably said by someone who feels like a failure. A positive attitude is important to achieving our health goals, because it demonstrates the kind of resilience that is a major characteristic of successful people. But sometimes these hopeful, optimistic statements are the exact reason why we don’t ever truly make progress in our health, because they enable our resistance to real change. If you wonder why you keep deciding to do something unproductive to your health, while the healthier alternative is just as convenient, you aren’t alone.
Change can be hard, but most of us are up to the challenge. After all, we encounter change almost every day and navigate it with relative ease. True change isn’t when it becomes difficult, but when it is uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is, well, unsettling. We want it to end. We want to go back to when things were easy, and we knew the answers. There are several reasons why we resist change, and you may see one of these in your life.
You don’t truly believe that a better life is possible.
When all we know is failure and all we hear is criticism, it is hard to imagine success even when we desperately want something different. Being confident with change requires a certain level of expectation of what lies ahead, but sometimes the only guarantee is that it will be interesting. That’s not always comforting!
The pain of staying the same is less than the pain of change.
We’ve all had to watch someone sink to the bottom of the pits of despair before they will accept help, and perhaps we have even been that person. Even our most self-destructive habits can be a source of comfort. Sometimes we have to admit that we just don’t want it bad enough, and that might have to be okay for now.
The logistics of change are overwhelming or guilt-ridden.
Simply wanting something to happen does not make it easy; there are commitments to make, some of which may be inconvenient at first or require a financial investment. There are also boundaries to set, which may involve other members of your family getting on board. Sorting these things out takes work, but it pays off.
That uncomfortable place where we know it is time to make the new choice but we aren’t sure what is on the other side is where we make the leap from, “I’ll do better next time,” to “wow, I did it!” I can’t guarantee that what is on the other side of that leap is something you will like, but you can always go back to the old way if you don’t like it.
Leap into change this week, and see what is on the other side!
– HEATHER FUSELIER, CTTS, CPT, CHC