Why change is hard and how to embrace change for a better life

change
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Change is hard and, most of the time, getting outside our comfort zones takes courage. It’s easier to stay where we are even when we’re unhappy.

Why do we resist change, preferring to stay in situations that are terrible for us? Here are 5 reasons, followed by how to embrace change.

1. Sunk cost fallacy

Whether it’s a career or relationship, you think of how much time you’ve already put in. You’ve invested money and energy into something that’s not working. You feel it would be a waste to let that all go.

Even though you’re desperately unhappy, you tell yourself it’s not worth it to start over. You fool yourself into believing things aren’t so bad, or that it would be foolish to abandon a sure thing.

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2. Fear of what others think

How many of us have avoided a change because we think it’ll make us appear weird? If you want to zig while all your friends zag, that can look like a lonely road ahead.

Your parents have expressed their desire for you to follow a certain path and you don’t want to disappoint them. Or your church preaches against divorce and you can’t bear to be cast out.

3. Fear of the unknown

This one’s obvious. Of course, we’d rather know what to expect in life. That’s why we trade our precious time doing something we don’t love for a predictable paycheck.

Things have to become pretty painful before we’ll venture outside our comfort zones and into the realm of uncertainty.

Things have to become pretty painful before we'll venture outside our comfort zones and into the realm of uncertainty. Click To Tweet

Often, change comes only after circumstances drive us to illness and we feel like we might die if we stay where we are.

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

-Zora Neale Hurston

4. Perfectionism prevents change

If you can’t get it right the first time, you won’t do it at all. We give ourselves draconian deadlines, like six months to make a new business profitable. Then go back to the same old place when that impossible target is not reached.

We forget that failure is the first step in any successful endeavor. That’s how we grow and learn how to do things better the next time.

5. We try to do it alone

Instead of asking for help or sharing our plans, we keep things secret until we’re sure of success. But that’s how we create our own failure.

We need the expertise of others to help us navigate new territory. And we thrive on the human connection of sharing our fears and hopes with other people who understand.

How to embrace change

change

Develop a growth mindset. Understand that though change is scary, it’s worth the short-term discomfort for the long-term bliss of a more satisfying life.

You don’t have to know everything right now. You will develop new skills and habits as you embark on your new adventure. And those will help you tackle the next step and then the next until you’ve achieved mastery.

You don't have to know everything right now. You will develop new skills and habits as you embark on your new adventure. Click To Tweet

Give yourself grace. Rather than quitting your job and putting all that stress on yourself to make a new business successful, take baby steps. Be kind to yourself rather than a mean task master.

Keep your job or go part-time while you learn the ropes at a new profession. Give yourself the time you need to grow and improve your new income. That’s setting yourself up for success.

Enlist help. Learn from others who have walked this road before you. If you’re going through a divorce, join a support group. Conquering an addiction? There’s a 12-step program for you.

And if you’re seeking a change in your professional life, seek out a mentor. Or emulate those who have done the same work well. Success leave clues, they say. All you have to do is follow them.

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