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Published on February 5, 2019

How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change to Live a Better Life

How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change to Live a Better Life

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 along the way. This can cause your transformation to feel draining and impossible to accomplish.

If you have felt this way and you are ready to change your life for the better, you are going to need to overcome your resistance to change.

Why Do People Resist Change?

Most people want to change their life, but are discouraged by the fears and self-doubt their false beliefs create. Even though you understand the benefits of changing your life, there is still the small fact that you are trying something new.

The toughest part about “new” experiences are the uncertainty surrounding your results. New experiences can transform your life in the most astounding of ways. However, there is also the possibility your new experiences can cause the quality of your life to drastically deteriorate.

As a result, your mind is left with a difficult decision. It can encourage your transformation and accept the fact that things may not go as planned. Or your mind can obstruct your effort to change your life and do everything in its power to maintain status quo.

If you have experienced resistance when attempting to change your life, you already know your mind prefers status quo over change. In your mind’s defense, it just wants to make sure you are safe. That is your minds number one objective every single day.

Your mind does not believe your goals are worth the possibility of you suffering a severe injury. Even if your current habits may be destructive, your mind considers those “safe” risks. They are deemed “safe” because you are still alive.

This helps explain why many people struggle with eating healthy. They understand the risks of unhealthy eating, but they are facing so much resistance every time they try to change their diet. For many, they do not successfully change their diet until they have a heart attack or diagnosed with cancer.

You can probably guess why. It is because their mind truly understands that continuing with the “same ole” is actually a life-threatening choice.

The Benefits of Changing Your Life

To help lower your mind’s initial resistance to change, you are 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.

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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. Explore what would happen if you were unable to provide for your family and why you cannot allow that to happen.

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.

This article will help you understand more about the importance of change:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change

1. Adopt a Growth Mindset

Another reason you may find yourself resisting change is because you do not believe you will get the desired result. You may have noticed, there are plenty of people who no longer believe they change their life for the better.

They dread every Monday they have to go to work, and pray that every tomorrow is Saturday. They feel powerless to change their life and believe things will always be the way they are.

If you want to overcome your resistance to change, you must believe change is possible. No one like 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.

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.[2]

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By empowering yourself with a growth mindset, you will no-longer be restrained by your self-doubt and fear of failure. Your fears and self-doubt cause you to procrastinate on changing your life. Think about it, who wants to waste their time doing something they know is going to fail?

2. Understand That Failure Is Not Guaranteed

The mindset hack is to 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 truth is their life is not perfect either. They are simply not sharing their struggles.

The second thing you will realize is failure is a part of success. Think of success and failure as two-halves of the same coin. 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 what we call “failure”, the successful speak of as their “moment of clarity”. If you want to overcome your 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.

3. Build Your Confidence in Yourself

We already touched on the uncertainty surrounding changing your life for the better. Now, you are going to discover the antidote to any apprehension surrounding uncertainty. If you want ensure you are not paralyzed by uncertainty, you need to build certainty (simple, right?).

Your natural question is, “how do I build certainty”? The truth is 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 if you are 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.

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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 to buy your first home. You could also be worried that you will end up paying too much for the home. In this situation, there are several resources you can utilize to pinpoint the value of almost any home in any neighborhood.

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.

4. Keep a Success Journal

In addition to improving your perception of the process, you want to improve your perception of yourself.

In order to overcome your resistance to change, you are going to need to trust and believe in yourself.

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, and I do mean all of your successes. Your successes do not need to be about any particular aspect of your life. You are simply going to fill the pages with all of your triumphs.

Your successes could be you 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 will be times that you apply for a job that was already assigned to someone. The company simply posted the position because they are required to do so by law. It had little to do with you being qualified or not, they just already had their person.

The same holds true for asking that special someone on a date. Who cares if they said yes or no? You should be proud of yourself for simply asking. Asking someone on a date is what you can control, and if you keep asking the people you like, you will get a yes.

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Now there is 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 out of journal. You will quickly regain the proper perspective and realize you have what it takes to achieve your goals.

5. Appeal to Your Emotional Side

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

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. This causes your mind to be on the lookout for danger. That is why your local news will start with twenty minutes of their most dangerous stories. It is hard for your mind to allow you to turn the channel as you begin to worry about your safety.

To help shift your focus, it will be beneficial for you to include things you are grateful for you 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 do not 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 daily basis and you will quickly realize you have already accomplished so much in your life.

Final Thoughts

Overcoming your 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 status quo.

More Resources About Making Changes

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.

How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out How Keeping a Dream Journal Can Change Your Mindset How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Stop Feeling Stagnant at Work How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change to Live a Better Life How to Conquer Your Fear of Change and Transform Your Life

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

If you get stuck feeling unmotivated, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief to learn there are simple, yet high impact, changes that will steer you back on track.

Here are 15 tips that will not only restore your motivation for success but raise it so you can pursue your personal definition of a successful and happier life.

1. Practice Looking at the Glass Being Half Full When Life Is Challenging

This is not as easy to do if you feel like you’re unsuccessfully playing dodgeball in most areas of your life. Practice short bursts of radical acceptance[1] paired with looking for fine threads of your day you are grateful for that bring you happiness.

It will feel strange at first but with time your brain’s neuro-circuitry gets fitting in focusing on what motivates and inspires you.

Start practicing this exercise at times during the day when you feel okay, so then when rough times hit, your ability to rebound will be more automatic. However, you need to practice.

Before you know it, your battles will become like a walk in the park!

2. Review the Happiness Level of Your Everyday Social Network

Jim Rohn’s famous saying:

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

It is not gospel. But in examining whether or not your relationships support, encourage, inspire, educate and nurture you, you actually need to look beyond those five people.

Social science professors James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis explain how we need to look at our third degree of separation to identify those who influence our happiness in our social relationships.[2]

People are generally happier because their first-level friends are also central to a happy network of people. To increase your motivation and happiness, don’t just look at your friends. Look at your friends’ friends!

3. Clean up Your Relationships — Work and Personal

Do you ever ask yourself what aspects of your relationships are healthy for you and bring you happiness? Do you also consider what you contribute to those and whether doing also brings you happiness?

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It’s time to not only reflect on what you gain from relationships but what contributions you can make to help them further flourish.

Caution! Over-helping is not the answer here. Sometimes you need to cull the time you spend with certain people. However, it’s about being more accountable and choosing to improve how you want to show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally.

Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task. Cleaning up and stepping up will continually motivate you. You’ll heighten that positive vibration of your everyday existence.

4. Develop a Personal Development Plan for Your Own Definition of Success and Happiness

Goal-setting isn’t just for helping us attain better cars, houses or greater income. When you change goal focus to become the person required to obtain those things, your goals expand beyond tangible limits. Having a personal development plan is essential.

Draw a circle and divide it up into pie segments (like having spokes on a wheel) that represent the following areas of your life:

  • Finances and money
  • Intimate relationships
  • Friends and social relationships
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Spirituality and religion
  • Hobbies, leisure and fun activities
  • Vocation, career and work

The center point of your circle represents zero. Zero means you are least satisfied. The outer circumference of your circle is ten. Ten means you are the most satisfied and content.

For each area, plot on the spoke your current rating of satisfaction. Then, review each area again and denote on the spoke what level of satisfaction you desire.

See where the differences between your current and desired satisfaction levels are smallest. These may be the easiest areas to start brainstorming the changes you want to experience. Some areas won’t be as important to you to make changes. Others will be. Working with an impartial coach can greatly help to flesh out clarity.

Regularly doing this exercise (e.g. every quarter) will reignite your motivation and keep you on the path to reach greater success and happiness.

5. Invest in Personal Development

Your personal development plan will give you strong clues as to what programs, books, podcasts, networking groups and social activities to tap into. But be wary of the bright, shiny object syndrome and well-meaning friends and family projecting their countless recommendations on to you!

Be gracious and thankful for their advice and guidance (even though it can often be uninvited!), choose wisely and make your own decisions.

Focus on the challenges you face now. Are you experiencing problems with your significant other? Are your children suffering from bullying at school and you’re unsure how to help them?

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Perhaps you are experiencing a plateau in work satisfaction or your business is experiencing a slump. Whatever problems are present for you now, explore activities and education that will help you solve those.

6. Invest in Experiences, Not Material Things

Splashing your cash on physical possessions to reward yourself won’t just send you bankrupt. When you constantly rely on external things to motivate you, you’re in real danger of never being satisfied.

Instead, ignite your motivation internally by investing in experiences which allow you to feel those feelings you believe you will have when you’re successful.

If becoming a public speaker is a dream you have, invest in Toastmasters or a public speaking program. If whisking you and your partner away for a luxury weekend at a second’s notice fits your definition of success, save over time to do this.

Don’t just set your sights on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Practice feeling success at each step in your journey.

7. Create or Join a Mastermind Group

Napoleon Hill created the concept in his book Think and Grow Rich first published in 1937, yet today, being an entrepreneur is still often a terribly lonely existence. Joining a mastermind group, your motivation is fueled by the collective genius of others also wanting to collaborate, solve problems, cross-promote, network and learn new things.

Not only is keeping motivated easier in itself, your thinking also grows exponentially.

Choose your group wisely and collectively, your contributions will escalate you all to refreshing new heights.

8. Work with a Coach

We have personal training coaches, health and wellbeing coaches and career coaches yet we rarely engage a coach to help us with two of the most significant factors influencing our success and happiness: money and our psychological well-being. Our approach is often remedial and it’s not until we’re in dire straits that we call in the emergency services.

Money may not buy us happiness but financial freedom is having freedom of choice and freedom of choice means wider opportunities for greater happiness. Risks and growth always pose threat to our mental and emotional stability.

By learning proactive skills that strengthen your resilience in your personal and working life, you can lift your motivation to tackle challenges with greater courage. You have a backup plan and safety nets to catch you when you fall.

Whether it’s a money mindset coach, a performance coach, a business coach or a relationship coach…open up the conversation. Get to know yourself better, make plans to clear the hurdles and get ready to sprint!

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9. Focus Your Conversations on Your Ideas and Goals

When you increase emphasis and focus upon certain things, feelings and thoughts, you are telling your brain these things are important. The feelings and thoughts will become more easily amplified and neural pathways which access similar feelings and thoughts become activated.

Given this, be strategic. Deliberately reframe the conversations you have to discuss ideas, plans and progress to take you toward where you want to go.

Stimulate and train your brain to increase its stretch. Direct it to dwell on positive experiences and results you have had, and deliberately share in conversations these feelings and results are what you want more of.

Not only are you training yourself to feel happier for greater parts of your day, you are communicating your true desires and wishes for a more successful and happier life to the wider community.

Share with them more of what you desire to experience and achieve. You create a greater likelihood of receiving favorable surprises in answer to your requests.

10. Have Goals to Become a Better Friend, Partner or Work Associate

Examine your relationships by asking yourself what aspects are healthy for you and bring you happiness. Also, consider what you contribute to that relationship and whether doing so brings you happiness.

Think about not just what you gain from the relationship but also what you can do to help make that relationship flourish more. Can you improve how you show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally? Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task.

Do you need to organize a get together instead of waiting for your friend to organize the rendezvous yet again? You might put the garbage out without being asked by your partner from now on. Stepping up and stepping into healthier and happier relationships will only heighten the positive vibration of your everyday existence.

11. Learn How to Lead Better by Encouraging Others to Become Better Leaders

If you’re a leader, it can be really hard to resist the urge to take the steering wheel when you can see others are about to drive off a cliff. However, stepping out of the limelight to let others have their fifteen minutes of fame is the sign of a true leader.

Supporting and coaching others to develop confidence and stay in the driver’s seat on their journey is truly soul-enriching. Stay beside them when they drive into the fog and be persistent with your encouragement to keep them focused and on track.

You have greater purposefulness to others when you empower them to work through their own trials and tribulations and help them build greater resilience in the process. Your self-esteem and internal happiness will deepen on a richer level and stay with you for far, far longer.

12. Embrace Negative Feedback and Criticism

We don’t actually learn best when people agree and applaud us. We learn best when we make mistakes and experience the intense emotions connected with the failure or rejection.

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Invite yourself to look for the lesson in every perceived misfortune. There is always a golden nugget for growth; we just have to increase our practice of looking for it.

Lick your wounds only for so long and move quickly to look for the lesson. When you can do so, you can charge your internal motivation from within and still experience happiness even in the darkest of times.

13. Exercise a Sense of Adventure Every Day

When you set small goals to do things slightly differently each day, you can entirely re-shape the level of happiness you experience. Here’s a list to play with:

  • Try a different coffee brew to start your day
  • Dress in work attire even if you are working from home today
  • Walk a different route from your final subway stop to the office
  • Smile at a stranger as you make eye contact passing them in the street
  • Pay a compliment to one of your work colleagues when you notice they are feeling stressed
  • Go out walking during your break if you usually eat lunch at your desk or inside

Spice up small changes in the brief moments of your daily living. Small shifts lift not only your motivation but shed light and happy vibes to those around you.

14. Orchestrate Your Destiny Using Daily Imagery

Take advantage of the fact your brain does not know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined when it comes to imagery. Instruct your day-dreaming activity to envisage what happiness and success look like, feel like, smell like, taste like and sound like.

When you daily rehearse your mini movies of your success and happiness goals, your brain’s reticular activating system will begin filtering in information to help you reach these.

Before too long, your plans, actions and decisions will increasingly honor these. Keep your eyes on the prize and you are more likely to reach success sooner than you might think.

15. Become an Expert Researcher of Your Own Challenges

Whilst we have all the resources within us, we don’t necessarily have all the answers. However, when knowing more, we feel (and are) in more control.

Look further afield and gain from the knowledge, experience and insights of the qualified experts in those areas. However, be aware of ulterior agendas being pushed upon you.

Sifting through the information relevant to you and following your gut instinct will only spark your motivation. The considered decisions you make in the moment will always be the right ones.

More Articles to Boost Your Motivation

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Marsha Linehan: Radical Acceptance
[2] James H Fowler, associate professor, Nicholas A Christakis, professor: Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study

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