This Is Why You're Afraid To ChangeAug 16, 2020
Why do some people love, fear, and even hate change?
Why do some people dig in their heels when it comes to changing anything, but others embrace it fully?
The news is full of stories and articles calling for policy or social change. Even astrologers are talking about planetary alignments and phenomena that won’t repeat or haven’t been seen is decades that all lead to major changes coming our way.
What makes people view change differently? Do they have some magic secret as to why change is ok for them?
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated that “Change is the only constant in life”. This is undoubtedly true, but why do some of us fight tooth and nail to hold onto patterns that aren’t working in our lives?
The answer, in part, lies in an area of your brain referred to as the Reptilian or Survival brain. This area of your brain is concerned with your survival and everything you need to accomplish that goal. It doesn’t care if you're happy, comfortable, or even in a desirable situation as long as you survive. The Reptilian brain can perceive change as inherently risky. Change would involve too many unknown variables and can be deemed as unsafe. This perceived risk can cause the brain to hold onto a familiar situation because it knows how to navigate that situation even if it comes at a cost to you.
When you start making changes, initially some progress will be made, but too often people return to the same old patterns.
In order for things to change, there are 3 stages that we go through:
1) We have to recognize and accept that changes need to happen.
2) We begin new habits and behaviors with consistency.
3) We have to step out of the way to allow these changes to happen.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
- Alan W. Watts
Step 1 to making changes means that we must first recognize and accept that change needs to happen. This is often done in stages with recognition coming first. You may notice that you're repeating an undesirable habit such as overeating, not exercising, dating people who aren’t a good match for you, and so on. You may even complain to your friends that you “really need to start/stop” that particular behavior, but you can’t seem to make it happen. This is where acceptance comes into play. You can’t just WANT to change, you have to make changing an absolute necessity. A great way to do this is to ask yourself the following questions:
1) Why is this behavior undesirable to me?
2) How do I want this to change?
3) How will my life be different if I make this change?
4) What do I stand to gain or lose if I make this change?
By answering these questions, you're identifying why you NEED to change. You see, WANT is the recognition piece, but NEED is the acceptance piece. Once you identify and clarify BOTH pieces of the equation, then you clear away the obstacles to move forward.
Now that you've obtained clarity about the changes you want to make, the next step is to practice your new habits with consistency. Are you committing to a new eating plan? Exercising? Making a commitment to a better work/ life balance or socializing more?
An important aspect to successful changes involves setting goals and accountability. Research has shown that when you have goals that make you slightly uncomfortable or that are a stretch to reach, then you're more likely to achieve these goals. This is because it creates a sense of importance and urgency within you.
I suggest setting a 3-tiered goal. Make the first tier something that is realistic and easily obtainable. This will give you a confidence boost to carry you through the next 2 stages. Make the next tier something that you will need to really work for to achieve. Finally, make tier 3 something that would take some real work to achieve and would require a certain amount of discipline.
In addition to goal setting, an important component to success involves accountability. Again, research has shown that having some sort of accountability when goals are involved contributes to success. For example, if exercise is your goal, then having a workout partner or personal trainer to make sure you are challenging yourself is a great idea.
Some additional questions to ask yourself when it comes to accountability include:
What are the consequences of not meeting your goals? If you didn’t quite meet your goals, then in what ways or areas could you improve? Also, writing down your goals and any progress in a journal or planner is an excellent way to consistently be visually reminded of your progress. Finally, never forget to celebrate your progress! It’s important to recognize any achievement as success! You did it!
“Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.”
The final step to achieving lasting change involves getting out of your own way so that the changes can take root and flourish. It’s important at this stage to determine if there are any self-sabotaging behaviors that have kept you from reaching your current goal, or any goals in the past. An excellent way to do this is through Neuro- Emotional Technique (N.E.T.). This non-drug therapy can identify areas where unresolved stress is creating stuck patterns of behavior. Once these patterns are identified and the cause treated, you can truly move forward and regain confidence, happiness and SUCCESS!
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”
Dr. April Darley is an expert at resolving stuck patterns of behavior through Neuro-Emotional Technique (N.E.T.) and success coaching. By identifying self-sabotaging behaviors, she can help you regain confidence, improve relationships, remove blocks to health, wealth and success in any area of your life.
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