Time for a change

Let’s be honest, no one likes change. We might say we do but in reality we are much more comfortable with keeping things the way they are. I would estimate that less than 10% of people actually embrace change, and thank goodness there are people like that to innovate and make ideas come to life. We need changemakers and innovators to grow as a species.

Our thoughts and behaviours are driven by well-worn neural pathways that develop and get stronger over time. These pathways are the defaults that we revert to. They are familiar and they feel safe. It’s why we default to certain behaviours time and time again even if they are holding us back and blocking our growth. They are also the reason why we often stay in dead relationships much longer than we should, or why we get stuck in a rut with jobs and careers we don’t enjoy and why we procrastinate.

This resistance to change drains our power and makes our dreams stay as dreams – future events that don’t come to fruition. But if we didn’t resist so much, would it really be that hard?

When you think about things you are/have been resisting, what are the common statements and excuses that you come up with? Something like:

“I’m trying to change but it’s just so hard.”

“I’ve really tried but it’s just not happening.”

“I’m not that sort of person, I just don’t have what it takes.”

“It’s not my fault, I have an addictive personality.”

“I just don’t know where to start.”

Does any of this sound familiar? I know I’ve said statements like these before, usually when I’ve mentally closed down and decided that I just can’t do it, or it’s just too hard and actually I can live with the way things are. And then I think to myself, so what am I hearing here? Where are these excuses coming from? And I realise that I can see a real lack of self-belief, some victim mentality and the self-perceived justification for my powerlessness and indulgent behaviour.

If you think about it, it is really crazy that we resist change – that we resist becoming someone better and seeing ourselves in a new light. Why on earth would we not embrace that?

To get around this, we need to understand where our resistance is coming from. Because it will always be as a result of our thinking, so essentially something that we have made up, however plausible this feels to us.

Try these few simple steps. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for five minutes or so, get comfortable and have a notebook and pen.

  1. Think about something that you really want to change in your life, but were just never able to do. Something that seemed too scary, too overwhelming or unknown, or that felt like too much hard work. Something where you know deep down you were resisting.
  2. Now think about the thing you wanted to change and see what stopped you doing it. What thoughts and obstacles got in the way? What feelings and sensations are present as you think about this?
  3. Now imagine that you have no resistance at all. What does that feel like? Now in the same situation, what would you do instead? Just sit with this for five minutes or so and make a note of how you feel mentally, emotionally and physically as you picture the scenario without any resistance at all.
  4. What did you notice? What did you discover about yourself? Do you now feel that the limiting thoughts and obstacles that got in the way before are real or can you see that many, if not all, were made up by your thinking? Has the situation now changed for you and if so, are you going to take action or can you instead see that the task/scenario wasn’t right and that was what was stopping you?

When I use this to look at places where I am stuck, or with clients, the obstacles either fall away or the task in hand ceases to be necessary because it just wasn’t right in the first place. Either way, it is so powerful to know and to see that resistance is always and inside out job, even if our thoughts and beliefs tell us otherwise. When we can see that we are causing the resistance, we can reclaim our power and move forward. It means you don’t have to try and change the world, just your thinking, and that is much much easier.


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