How to overcome resistance when making a change
Change is a wonderful thing but let’s face it – the process of making a change from the initial idea to the end result is usually quite uncomfortable and uneasy. Why is that?
Every change is preceded by resistance and it is the reason for the uncomfortable feeling.
It’s that nagging voice that tells you we’re alright where you are, it won’t be worth it, it takes too much effort/ time/ devotion, nobody can guarantee a positive result in the end, what if you fail?
When you’re not happy with something in your life, you reach to the point when you realize something needs to change.
You embrace the idea, even take the decision and you’re off to a flying start. That’s great, congratulations for the awareness and courage! However, soon afterwards it dawns on you that there is a lot of action you need to take and time you need to devote to learn to do things in a new way. Then resistance creeps in.
How to deal with resistance in a positive and constructive way?
Step 1: Realize what resistance really is
Resistance is actually another word for fear of change. Get to the root of it by admitting it’s just a natural reaction to change, which serves as a barrier for you to get to where you want to be. Its original aim is to keep you safe as your subconsciousness might make you feel threatened. It arises every time you stretch out of your comfort zone.
Step 2: What you resist persists, so accept it
Admit to yourself you have fears and doubts, identify them and get to know them better. Nobody is 100% confident all the time, even the most inspiring leaders have their moments of doubt and insecurity. We’re all human beings with our weaknesses and fears.
Step 3: Act despite the resistance
If you’re waiting for the right time when you will be completely ready, you’ll know everything you need to know and be infallibly confident, I’m sorry to disappoint you but that time will never come. The right time to make a change is now. There is a very nice saying from the East, which goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago. The second best time is today”. It doesn’t matter how long it took you to make a decision to change, once you’ve done it, don’t look back and focus all your energy, time and resources to make the change and live your life in accordance to it.
Step 4: Improve your self-talk
I know this is not an easy one because we’re so used to thinking the way we do. In summary, 90% of the thoughts we think today are exactly the same as we had yesterday. Isn’t it striking? In order to overcome resistance, we need to become aware of our thoughts and change them if they’re not serving us well. Here are a few examples what your inner critic might be telling you:
- “I feel very uncomfortable, that shouldn’t be right. Probably I have to give up and go back to my pervious lifestyle. Shouldn’t it happen naturally and quickly?”
- “Look at other people, they seem ok without having to do or go through so much.”
- “How long will it take until I get the result I want? I don’t think I have the patience/ time/ qualities to make this happen.”
This is all negative, defensive mindset which only undermines your self-esteem and keeps your goals at bay.
However, once you become aware of your thoughts, you might substitute them with positive ones like:
- “I do feel a bit uncomfortable but this is just temporary and it’s normal. I’m doing great, I’ve gone so far and I’m a very capable and successful person.”
- “It’s just a change, soon I will be at a new stage of my life and will look back at this time with a smile and will be grateful I’ve endured the discomfort which brought me where I am today.”
Step 5: Praise yourself several times a day
Yes, it is that important. Despite the feeling of insecurity and doubt you’re still proceeding? Congratulate yourself! A Big Bravo! You haven’t given up and soon resistance will start to fade away and your confidence will grow. Make it a routine to say “Well done!” a couple of times a day. Don’t wait until somebody else congratulate you. You know your personal struggles and you’re the only person who knows how important what you do is!
Step 6: Enjoy the process
Depending on the essence of the change you’re making, resistance can last for a while. As important as it is to think of the end result – your prize, it’s equally important to enjoy the process. Be happy and enjoy your life even if you still feel resistance every now and then. Smell the roses, smile at the sun, read a book and still proceed in the direction of your dreams.
I felt resistance so many times in my life and I still experience it. It makes me feel anxious, hungry for physical food and support, procrastinating and finding excuses.
However, one thing I can say for sure – I have never regretted taking a step forward and making a change because my life has gotten so much better!
In which areas of your life do you feel resistance? What are your coping skills? How much do you want to change?