Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 27, 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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

    Reference

    More by this author

    Undre Griggs

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

    7 Reasons to Dare to Dream Big 6 Natural Ways To Increase Dopamine And Boost Mental Energy How To Create An Effective Schedule For Time Management How to Conquer Your Fear of Change and Transform Your Life How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

    Trending in Success Mindset

    1 How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips) 2 4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It) 3 10 Warning Signs of Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Confidence 4 7 Tips for Overcoming Challenges in Life Like a Pro 5 Living in Fear? 14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on April 27, 2021

    How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips)

    How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips)

    Chances are that if you’re reading this, you are human. This means that there is likely a time or two when you have not taken responsibility for something in your life. We’ve all been there. Maybe you broke an item at a place of employment but didn’t fess up to it, or you missed a deadline and blamed the reason why on someone else, or perhaps you decided a responsibility was too great to face.

    Accepting responsibility can be challenging because it doesn’t always feel good. It can require time we think we don’t have. Feelings of shame or inadequacy can surface. Rather than face those feelings, it’s much easier to not accept responsibility.

    This is all understandable. But it may not be serving us and who we want to be in the long run.

    Accepting responsibility has benefits at work, home, and all aspects of life. When we demonstrate to ourselves that we can be responsible, we show our strength of character, our leadership qualities, and even our adulting skills.

    Knowing that doesn’t make accepting responsibility any easier, does it?

    Using the example of pretending that you live in an apartment with multiple roommates where you all have to share the kitchen, we will look at seven tips on how to accept responsibility for your life.

    1. Stop Playing the Victim

    You’ve just cooked a big meal involving several pots, pans, and cooking utensils. You reflect on feeling overwhelmed and stressed by life right now and decide that you just don’t have the time or energy to do your dishes right now. The next time you or your roommates want to use the kitchen, there’s a big mess and a lack of options for pans and cutlery to use.

    Maybe one of your roommates will do it for you? Superman to the rescue? I hate to break it to you, but Superman doesn’t actually exist.

    Advertising

    Why insist on crushing every childhood fantasy? Because when we wait for someone else to fix our problems, we are playing the victim, and if Superman doesn’t exist (or Spiderman or Wonder Woman, or Black Panther, etc.), then we will be perpetually tied to the proverbial train tracks, waiting for someone else to save us.[1]

    What we can do in this situation is acknowledge and validate our feelings. In the above scenario, you’re focusing on feeling overwhelmed. This feeling isn’t “bad.” But it does affect your motivation to accept responsibility, keeping you in a victim mindset. It isn’t just the dishes that you need to face. You also need to take responsibility for your emotions.

    Acknowledging and validating emotions help you to understand what you’re feeling and why. You can then redirect the energy you’re wasting on being a victim and redirect it toward more productive things in life. Like doing your own dishes.

    There are many different ways we can develop the skill of self-acknowledgment and validation. One of the best is to write about what you’re experiencing. You may be surprised by how you describe the “what” and “why” of your feelings. You may even uncover other times in your life when you felt this way and find that your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are based on that past. You might even heal an old experience as you deal with the present circumstance!

    2. End the Blame Game

    “If my roommates were more consistent about doing their dishes, then I would feel like I could do mine.”

    It’s so easy to come up with excuses and reasons why we shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than anyone else. We find interesting ways to blame others for why we can’t do something. This becomes another way to avoid taking responsibility, and we can do so out of a perspective of anger.[2]

    Anger can be energetically compelling, but it’s not always rooted in reality. It can keep us stuck and prevent us from having the life and relationships we really want. Much like being the victim, it’s important to ask yourself how being and staying angry is serving you. Again, it’s important to acknowledge and validate these thoughts and feelings too.

    Perhaps you’re really feeling mad at someone at your workplace who isn’t taking responsibility for their own projects. You end up taking on their work, allowing anger to build up. By the time you get home, you need a place to let that anger out. And so, your anger is directed toward your kitchen and your roommates.

    Advertising

    This may help you feel better for a little while, but it’s not sustainable. There are so many ways of dealing with anger. It would serve you and others around you well to learn how to manage and work with any anger you have in your life so that you can resume your acceptance of responsibility.

    3. Forgive Yourself and others

    After reading tips number 1 and 2, perhaps you are now adept at practicing acknowledging and validating your feelings. Because of that work, it’s easier to forgive yourself and others.

    For instance, without the feelings of victimhood and blame, you have the energy to see things from a perspective of forgiveness and tolerance.

    From a place of forgiveness, you see that even though your roommates don’t take care of their dishes right away every time, they do so more often than not. Plus, you can see that all of you have challenging things happening in your lives right now, so why should your challenges make it so that you can slack off? You may even remember times when your roommates have helped you out with cleaning the kitchen even though the mess wasn’t theirs.

    As you forgive others, you forgive yourself too and take ownership of your own tasks.

    4. Use Responsibility as a Way to Help Others

    Shirking our responsibilities can actually affect others’ well-being. We can step into a space of considering how our actions, or lack thereof, might be burdening or harming others.

    For example, not doing your dishes and leaving the kitchen dirty means that when another roommate wants to use the kitchen to make a meal, they may have to clean the kitchen first to have access to the pots, pans, and utensils required. They may feel annoyed that you didn’t take responsibility for your mess, which affects your relationship with your roommate. A confrontation may be on the horizon.

    However, if you can put yourself in the frame of mind to consider things from your roommate’s position, you might think twice about leaving the dishes. By taking responsibility and doing your part to keep the kitchen clean, you are taking care of the space and your roommates.

    Advertising

    A lot of people find it easier and highly beneficial to do things out of a sense of responsibility for others.[3] Thinking about things from another’s perspective can be a motivating factor and can provide us with feelings of purpose.

    5. Look for the Win-Win

    When we choose not to take responsibility, we are choosing a zero-sum game, meaning nobody wins. What if you looked for the win-win opportunity of taking responsibility instead?

    Maybe there have been times when your roommates have saddled you with a messy kitchen. If you now decide to leave your mess, nobody wins. Whereas, cleaning up after yourself now means that you are modeling how you want the space to be treated by everyone. You are also ensuring that your roommates can trust you to take responsibility for your cleaning tasks, and the next person who wants to use the kitchen will be able to do so.

    In this scenario, you will be taking responsibility, cultivating a relationship of trust with your roommates, and making it so that nobody else has to clean up after you. Everyone wins.

    6. Make Taking Responsibility Fun

    Another vantage point from which we could look is the place of joy. Yes, joy.

    It’s easy to paint “cleaning the kitchen” in a negative light when shows are streaming on Netflix and downtime activities calling. But what could happen for you if you made the task of doing the dishes fun?

    How can it be fun? This is where you get to be creative.

    Some ideas could be playing some of your favorite music as you clean, invite a roommate to chat while you clean, or you could play that show you’re binging on Netflix as you scrub. Have Airpods? Call a friend as you clean!

    Advertising

    Finding a way to make it fun helps you lose track of time and get the job done faster. It could also provide some necessary “play” time. We don’t play enough as adults. Get back to your childhood roots and find ways to incorporate play into your daily routine, and get the dishes done at the same time!

    7. Choose Your Own Adventure

    When we approach responsibility from our highest self, we can be at choice for how we want to accept it. This requires an awareness of what we intend to accomplish or learn in any life experience.

    For instance, when faced with a responsibility, you could consider all the ways of looking at it (from a place of victimhood, blame, forgiveness, service to others, win-win, or fun) and decide which perspective would serve the highest good of all, yourself included.

    When we can approach any life situation from the standpoint of having choices, doesn’t that feel better than feeling forced into a decision or action?

    Conclusion

    Knowing that you can make conscious choices at any time in your life hopefully helps you to feel freer and more energized for any life responsibility you choose to accept. These seven tips on how to accept responsibility will set you up for a good start.

    More Tips on How To Be a Responsible Person

    Featured photo credit: Marcos Paulo Prado via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next