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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

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Last Updated on October 23, 2019

How to Change a Negative Attitude That Is Destroying You

How to Change a Negative Attitude That Is Destroying You

A negative attitude carries with it a lack of awareness. You’re not necessarily aware of a negative attitude permeating your outlook on life, and because of this lack of awareness, your attitude affects your interactions with other people and your interactions with yourself.

What if you were to become aware? What if, suddenly, you were able to step outside of the thought pattern that creates your attitude, choose a new pattern, and thus, a new attitude?

Think about your thoughts. Many sources of advice aren’t going to tell you this crucial point:

Changing your attitude is not about stifling or eliminating negative thoughts. It’s about changing your thought patterns through action.

Negative thoughts will arise, but when you brood on them it’s like feeding and rewarding them so that they will come back again and form a pattern.

When you alter repetitive thought patterns, you alter your attitude — it’s a physical process, and with it comes the ability to change the world in which you live. You’ll achieve things you didn’t think were possible before.

To undertake this change, understand what to do with negative or unhelpful thoughts when they arise. This understanding will help you take action towards changing your attitude.

Read on for some quick and easy suggestions on how to change a negative attitude.

1. Harness the Incredible Power of Redirection

Oftentimes, we think in a black-and-white, limiting way. It’s called binary thinking. Even thinking of thoughts as only negative or positive is a binary way of thinking.

You develop a negative attitude because you are convinced this binary way of thinking is an accurate reflection of reality. When this way of thinking doesn’t achieve good results, you assign blame. Blame doesn’t help solve the problem of binary thinking — it perpetuates it.

Binary thinking causes you to have tunnel vision when you’re working on your goals. You feel one approach is the right one — but research shows that redirection improves creativity.[1] Redirection requires you to think differently by changing tasks.

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Take a step back from what you’re doing. Is there a different approach you can take? Who can you reach out to for help? What haven’t you tried? Redirect your actions and you’ll find yourself thinking more creatively and positively when it comes to solving the original problem.

2. Amp up Your Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is exactly what it sounds like: these are uplifting statements you make to yourself. Then, you act on them.

The thing about positive self-talk is it’s self-fulfilling. In other words, by concentrating on your strengths and making positive statements about yourself, you become what you tell yourself you are and your attitude changes.

Psychologist Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker identifies key statements that mentally healthy people make:[2]

  • “I am lovable”
  • “I am capable”
  • “Most other people are lovable and capable, too”
  • “Success comes from doing”
  • “Challenges are opportunities”
  • “It’s only human to make mistakes”
  • “I have what it takes to cope with change — and to make changes happen”

Tell yourself these things every day. Note statement number 4, “Success comes from doing.” You want to change your negative attitude. To successfully change your attitude, do things that help you feel good about yourself and others. Volunteer work and community sports leagues are great options.

Action creates change. Make positive statements to yourself, take action based on these statements, and your outlook on life will change.

3. Be a Change Agent, Not a Victim

An agent is someone who is actively engaged in making something happen. A victim is someone who suffers from circumstances beyond their control.

Victimization is valid and real, but if there’s no active pursuit of a solution, you remain a victim — you remain passive, and your attitude is one of bitterness, helplessness, or cynicism.

You’re an agent who can change your own attitude. Ultimately, your own actions are the only things you control.

You may not be able to control the rise of negative thoughts due to a tragedy that was beyond your control, but you can control how you respond to those thoughts.

Consider the following methods of coping with tragedies:[3]

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  • Talk with a counselor or someone who can give you an outside perspective.
  • Turn off the news, stop wallowing, and get active. Activities such as exercise, art, and games will help you process your feelings better by giving you a break from concentrating on repetitive negative thoughts.
  • Offer your support to others who have had a similar experience. If, for example, you’re recovering from addiction, find a peer support group.
  • Redirect painful emotions by finding an activity, such as volunteer work, writing, music, or sports, that is emotionally fulfilling and allows you to release pent-up emotions.

Sometimes tragedy is self-inflicted, meaning you have a bad experience that’s not necessarily a tragedy, but you treat it as such. You get down on yourself, turn to drugs and alcohol, and brood over your negative thoughts and feelings.

Be sure to recognize if this is happening, and become an agent of recovery instead of victimization.

4. Dream Huge — but Set Realistic Expectations

This is the truth about your dream: it’s real. What you really want out of life — call it your dream or fantasy or ambition — is a real idea you can and should hold onto no matter what happens.

To set realistic expectations, break your dream down into steps that are achievable in the short-term.

If you believe you’re entitled — you expect everything to fall into place — you will not realize your dream. Even if you’re lucky and successful, it won’t feel like success because entitlement is a bottomless pit.

A negative attitude stems from expectations that don’t line up with reality. Again, your actions are the only thing you control. Science shows you’re not even necessarily in control of your thoughts.[4]

But you are in control of the thoughts you choose to dwell on. Concentrate on your plans. You can expect to follow through when you concentrate on and check off the steps to completing a task. Concentrate on the tasks you need to complete in order to make your dream a reality.

5. Transform Negative Thoughts into Ultimate Questions

Asking questions opens your mind to new ideas. It helps you begin to build confidence. Positive self-talk can be tough, because your mind is like a broken record. You tell yourself you’re lovable, but for every time you say that, the thought that no one loves you pops up 10 times.

Forbes’ Melody Wilding makes a great recommendation:[5]

“When you catch your inner critic flinging accusations, think: how can I turn this statement into a question?”

Here are some examples:

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  • Instead of, “Something must be wrong with me,” say, “What are the steps to success?”
  • Instead of, “I hate going to the grocery store,” say, “How can I save time at the grocery store?”
  • Instead of, “These people are annoying,” say, “How can I talk to these people so that this meeting is enjoyable?”
  • Instead of, “I was a complete idiot last night,” say, “What can I do differently in the future?”

This way, you’re opening possibilities for new, constructive thoughts. You’re also paying attention to your thoughts and doing something with them.

6. Laugh!

“It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.” – Wayne Dyer

In almost all cases, you’ll develop a negative attitude if you choose to be angry and depressed instead of choosing to laugh. But how can you choose to laugh when something seems downright terrible?

This is where the imagination and mental exercise kick in. Choose to look at a disappointing or disheartening circumstance in a different way. What is it that’s ironic, absurd, or outrageous about the circumstance?

Is there an opposite circumstance you can imagine, one that’s so fantastically great it brings tears of laughter to your eyes just thinking about it? Are there any details that are just flat-out strange?

If you’re depressed, choose comedy — choose something that can bring a smile to your face. Train yourself to seek good opportunities for humour, and you’re training yourself to have a positive attitude.

7. Embrace Your Emotions and Release Them Confidently

The moment you experience an emotion, there’s a reason for it; and therefore it’s valid.

Here’s the challenge: you must control what you do with that emotion.

You could hold the emotion in and let it fester, but that leads to things like depression, pent-up rage, and low self-esteem.

You could release your emotion the moment you feel it without thinking, but that leads to relationship issues with other people. Or, you could release the emotion confidently in a way that asserts your self and your boundaries.

  • Practice observing your emotions when you feel them on a daily basis. Note what the emotion is and be there with it.
  • When you experience a strong emotion such as anger, take time to note your anger, take deep breaths, and calm down.
  • Figure out what or who caused your anger, and why.
  • Assert yourself. Don’t be mean about it, be confident. Say something like, “I would prefer for you to treat everyone as equals in the group, I can’t speak for everyone in the group, but it’s very important to me.”
  • Set your boundaries by repeating “I” statements, such as, “I don’t want you to yell at me, I feel uncomfortable. If there’s a problem, I would prefer to talk about it calmly.”

If you embrace your emotions by processing them — by asking who, what, why, and how — and then you deal with them by expressing yourself confidently, your attitude will remain one of confidence, calmness, and positivity.

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8. Create, Move, Believe, Contemplate Great Things

Once you know you are in control of how you react to thoughts and emotions, and in turn your actions create a pattern that reinforces itself, a huge world of greatness is there for you.

Greatness is there because at all times you can choose it. You can choose to listen to your deepest emotions, which are a thing of beauty because of their intense purity, and you can translate them into new things. New songs, poems, sayings, artworks, running routes, exercise routines, meals, friendships, jobs — it’s all there for you.

Each negative thought is a positive response waiting to happen. Feel how your positive responses and your positive attitude are so enjoyable you wouldn’t trade them for anything else. Believe that you are amazing and your actions will have amazing results — even if you are not around to see the results bloom and flower.

Contemplate great things because they’re the greatest things to contemplate. What if your decision to appreciate other people’s little quirks someday becomes love? What if your decision to write in your diary everyday someday becomes a memoir? You’re capable of all these things, and life can be great.

9. Leave with the Four Agreements — but Agree to Come Back Again and Again

A man named Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a book called The Four Agreements. With these agreements, Ruiz distills pearls of ancient Toltec wisdom. To transform your attitude, agree to do the following:

  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Do your best

That’s it. Think about how these agreements inform your actions.

If you are doing your best, you are in the moment.

If you are impeccable with your word, you say things that reflect on the world you want to create.

If you don’t take anything personally, you don’t get offended by other people’s words and actions, so you don’t lash out at them.

If you don’t make assumptions, you have realistic expectations.

Furthermore, check out these other tips on how to change your attitude. Return to advice that helps you again and again. With an attitude that says, “I’m always learning,” you’ll do just that, and your life will keep improving.

Featured photo credit: Carolina Heza via unsplash.com

Reference

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