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Last Updated on September 3, 2020

How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self

How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self

As you navigate the journey to change your life, you have probably noticed things are not always easy. It can feel as though you are fighting yourself every step of the way. This can cause your transformation to feel draining and impossible to accomplish, which ultimately creates resistance to change.

If you have felt this way and are ready to change your life for the better, you are going to need to overcome your resistance to change. Use these ideas and suggestions to learn how!

1. Outline the Benefits of Changing Your Life

To help lower your mind’s initial resistance to change, you’re going to need to do a little homework. A good place to start is by outlining the benefits of changing your life. If you are attempting to find a new job, list the benefits of your new job.

Make sure you go deeper than “to make more money.” Why do you want to make more money? Is it because you want to provide for your family? Maybe you want to purchase your first home or pay off your debt.

If you want to provide for your family, list the reason this goal is so important to you.

If you want to pay off your debt, outline the stress and anxiety you feel because of your debt. Then, research some of the side-effects of stress and the benefits of managing your stress levels[1].

You want to make it as real as you can for your mind, because you want your mind to see the benefit of change and the danger of inaction.

2. Adopt a Growth Mindset

Another reason people resist change is because they don’t believe they will get the desired result. 

If you want to overcome your resistance to change, you must believe change is possible. No one likes wasting their time, and your mind is no different. If it believes you are not going to succeed, it is going to try to stop you before you start.

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One of the best ways to overcome this issue is to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that you can learn and develop the skills necessary to better your life.

You can listen to this TED Talk with Carol Dweck to understand why a growth mindset is so powerful.

One study pointed out, for example, that “those who believe intelligence is fixed and cannot be changed exert less effort to succeed”[2]. When you believe change is possible, you work harder to achieve the change you’re seeking.

By empowering yourself with a growth mindset and understanding that you’re capable of problem solving, you will no-longer be restrained by your self-doubt and fear of failure.

3. Understand That Failure Is Not Guaranteed

Help your mind understand that failure is not guaranteed. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to expose your mind to new possibilities. You do this by reading, listening, and watching people in similar situations talk about their journey to success.

As you listen to people talk about their successes and their failures, you start to realize two things:

First, the path to success is not as straight as people would have you think. You live in a social media world where everyone is sharing only the best parts of their life. People rarely share the difficulties, which can create a false feeling of failure because your life is not as perfect as theirs.

The second thing you will realize is that failure is a part of success. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who has experienced success without experiencing opposition.

The key take-away from these two realizations is the fact that what we call “failure,” the successful speak of as their “moment of clarity.”. If you want to overcome the sources of resistance to change, you must see failure the same way. Failure is not something to avoid, nor is it always a sign that something is impossible. Failure is simply an opportunity for improvement.

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4. Build Certainty

We already touched on the uncertainty surrounding changing your life for the better and people’s fear of the unknown. Now you are going to discover the antidote to any apprehension surrounding uncertainty.

If you want to ensure you are not paralyzed by uncertainty, you need to build certainty!

Your natural question is, “How do I build certainty”? When it comes to change, you can never remove all uncertainty. However, you can remove most of it if you prepare ahead of time.

Consider being nervous about buying your first home. What can you do to ease the tension?

If your resistance is based on whether you can afford the mortgage, then sitting down and creating a budget is a great way to ease your concern.

There could also be apprehension because you have never purchased a home before. If that is the case, you will benefit from researching the process and speaking to others who have done it.

As you spend time planning and understanding the change you want to make in your life, you will slowly remove the uncertainty. As you discover more, you will be more confident in your ability to navigate the rough terrain of changing your life.

Try communicating plans you make to someone you trust. This will ease signs of resistance more as you create a support system around your goal.

Take a look at this guide to learn more about building self-confidence.

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5. Keep a Success Journal

In addition to improving your perception of the process, you want to improve your perception of yourself if you want to overcome your resistance to change.

When you face a new situation, you will wonder if you have what it takes to successfully change your life. To quickly overcome this obstacle and maintain a positive perception of yourself, you need to keep a success journal.

In your success journal, write down all of your successes.

Your successes could include applying for your first job, asking that special someone out on a date, or setting up a retirement account. You will notice each of these successes are focused on you taking action. You can write down your successful outcomes as well, but I have found focusing on what you can control is more important.

For example, if you focused on attaining the job, you were allowing the decision of another person to play a role in your perception of yourself.

There’s a place for you to share the encouragement of others in your success journal, as well. If you help someone, and they show their appreciation with a kind note or a few words of encouragement, write them in your journal.

Then, as you find yourself doubting your ability to successfully change your life, read a few pages of your journal. You will quickly regain the proper perspective and realize you have what it takes to achieve your goals.

6. Appeal to Your Emotional Side

According to the book Dual-Process Theories in Social Psychology, the left side of your brain appreciates facts and figures, while your right side will appreciate vivid imagery in the form of metaphors and personal stories.

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Use your right brain to overcome resistance to change

    Your success journal is a plea to the right side of your brain. By allowing yourself to relive your stories of success, you are empowering your mind to visualize your life post-transformation.

    Your mind naturally looks for the negative result because it is focused on keeping you alive. One study pointed out that “it has been indicated that negative events elicit more rapid and more prominent responses than non-negative events” because of a negativity bias[3].

    To help shift your focus toward good ideas, it will be beneficial for you to include things you are grateful for in your success journal.

    A good rule of thumb is to write one thing you are grateful for each time you find yourself reflecting on something you don’t like. By being intentional with your actions, you can train your mind to look for the good.

    Read and write in your success journal on a day-to-day basis, and you will quickly realize you have already accomplished so much in your life.

    Final Thoughts

    Dealing with resistance to change starts in the mind. If you want to change your life for the better, you must believe it is possible and in your best interest to do so. Otherwise, you will find yourself giving into your resistant mind’s call to maintain the status quo.

    More Tips to Overcome Resistance to Change

    Featured photo credit: Ani Kolleshi via unsplash.com

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    Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

    How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

    Negative thinking can make us feel as though we are never truly good enough to change our lives. Whether we believe that we are not good looking enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, or something in between, we are always right.

    We often tell ourselves the following:

    “I’m not good enough to accomplish this.”

    “They won’t like me. I’m too ugly to be around them.”

    “I won’t ever be able to get out of this situation.”

    How we see ourselves dictates how we lead our lives. This simple truth, while it is currently impacting your reality in a negative way, is actually good news. Why?

    You can change your thinking, and when you can change your thoughts, you can change your reality.

    Put simply, if you start to believe and feel like you are good-looking, intelligent, wealthy, or other things, you begin to see yourself in that light. If you tell yourself that you are capable of achieving greatness, you will eventually get there!

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    That said, many find themselves wondering what to do when they get stuck in negative thinking. Are you tired of letting negative thinking run your life? Do you want to take control of how you feel and put yourself out there?

    If you want to start writing your own narrative, let’s learn more about negative thought cycles and how you can change your own internal voice.

    Where Do Negative Thoughts Come From?

    You aren’t going to wake up one day and find that you are suffering from random negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are often a mix of ideas that we develop on our own, as well as ideas that we may have gotten from others.

    For example, if you are constantly watching media where individuals are depicted as having thin bodies and perfect skin (and you do not have the same characteristics as those who are traditionally considered to be beautiful), you may come to the conclusion that you are not beautiful or deserving of love.

    This is far from the truth, but your own take on how the world works can play into how you feel about yourself.

    Equally harmful, the opinions of others can start to affect our self-perception. If several people tell you something negative about yourself, you may begin to take these opinions to heart, telling yourself the same things over time. This self-belief then becomes the model for how you live.

    More often than not, the reality is that individuals who lack confidence and self-esteem are going to develop negative thought patterns.

    This does not mean that confident people do not face internal crises of their own. After all, everyone is prone to experiencing a negative thought here and there. However, those who are self-aware and confident are able to bounce back from these thoughts and return to their truth.

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    Those who do not think highly of themselves, on the other hand, are going to keep believing the negative thoughts that come into their mind. The issue? These negative thoughts turn into a repetitive cycle that becomes harder to break over time.

    When you tell yourself something for months or years at a time, it can be difficult to transform that internal dialogue into something more positive and realistic. But is it possible? Absolutely!

    The Importance of Quitting Negative Thinking

    Beyond low-self esteem, there may be mental health-related causes behind your negative thought patterns, like depression. One of the major symptoms of depression is, you guessed it, negative thoughts. Depression can make us feel unworthy of love and life, even if we have everything we could wish for[1].

    You may be struggling with anxiety disorders instead, which can paint uncertain visions of the future and leave you anticipating the worst long before the moment has arrived. Some people have anxiety about the present or will return to past moments where they felt as though they failed, which affects their feelings about who they are or who they will be[2].

    Having mental health issues can make your situation more complex, but it is important to know that these types of health issues are highly treatable, especially with the assistance of a mental health professional. You are deserving of self-love, and getting help is the first, most important step of your journey!

    How to Break the Cycle of Negative Thinking

    In order to overcome your negative thought process, you are going to need two things: self-awareness and a willingness to love yourself. Once you are armed with these two tools, take a look below to learn more about how you can break free of the cycle of negative thinking.

    1. Become Aware of the Thoughts That Are Affecting You

    Negative thoughts are hard to catch because they have a tendency to become a part of who we are. These thoughts build our belief system and go unchallenged, even when they pop up daily.

    All change begins with awareness. Whatever it is that you believe about yourself, take the time to pay attention to your own dialogue.

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    What are you saying to yourself on a regular basis? How does it make you feel? Is any of it true?

     

    When these thoughts are brought to your attention, you begin to notice just how often you are saying these things to yourself. Once you’ve cultivated awareness around these thoughts, you can begin to develop the change that you want.

    2. Learn to Accept Them as They Come (and Move on)

    A lot of people believe that you have to completely remove negative thinking patterns from your life in order to be happy. Not only is this not possible, but it’s also not true. You are going to experience negative thoughts regardless. It’s what you decide to do with these thoughts that matters.

    Next time a negative thought comes into your mind, treat it like a passing car. Acknowledge it and let it pass you by. Don’t try to wave the driver over to you or continue thinking about once it has passed. Just let it go.

    Giving power to your thoughts allows them to have control over you. You can’t stop a negative thought from entering your mind, but you always have the power to let it go!

    3. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

    Our own beliefs play on a loop, telling us certain things over and over again. While it’s important to let go, it is also important to get to the root of these issues and figure out where they are coming from.

    Let’s imagine that you are telling yourself you are stupid throughout the day. If you notice this pattern, ask yourself: Does this have any basis in reality? Am I really stupid or am I telling myself this unnecessarily? Is there any evidence to support this[3]?

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    Challenge negative thinking by asking questions.

      Challenging your negative thoughts will help you realize that they are highly-exaggerated and untrue. This gives you the opportunity to transform these negative thoughts into positive ones that resonate with you.

      4. Replace These Thoughts with Kinder, More Realistic Alternatives

      Anything that is broken must be replaced. The broken record playing on a loop within you can easily be changed to a tune that you can actually sing to.

      Whenever a negative thought comes up, take the time to stop yourself and think of something positive to put in its place. If you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” try telling yourself that you are more than capable instead.

      Keep in mind, however, that you need to tell yourself things that you truly believe. If you start telling yourself things that don’t resonate with you and encounter a situation that proves your belief wrong, you may do more harm than good!

      Bottom Line

      Changing the way you think is a rigorous but rewarding process that will change your outlook on life. If you find yourself struggling with negative thinking, learn more about where they come from and how you can stop them for good with the guide above!

      More on How to Stop Negative Thinking

      Featured photo credit: Max Ilienerwise via unsplash.com

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