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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.

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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

    Reference

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    Undre Griggs

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

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    Published on February 19, 2021

    8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

    8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

    Whether it’s planning a public speech or a kid’s birthday party, our intentions lean toward success no matter the endeavor. And whatever success we are hoping to attain, there will likely be obstacles that we must face. When these obstacles surface, we can either shy away and miss our chance or meet these challenges informed and ready.

    Although obstacles can seem like the outside world is plotting against us, in reality, these external challenges are merely triggering hurdles that already exist within. They might be memories or beliefs we have about ourselves that act like mud and slow us down. We can be trapped by our own self-sabotage.

    What could happen if you knew about and prepared for these obstacles beforehand?

    If you knew what you were up against, perhaps you could come equipped with just the right tools to get through anything that threatens your chance at success. Perhaps you could take an obstacle that felt like a mountain and turn it instantly into a mere molehill!

    Here are 8 of the greatest obstacles you must overcome on your way to success:

    1. Perfection

    One of the most common obstacles we face is the need for perfection. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, shared that her mother always used to say, “done is better than good.” Anyone prone to perfectionism is going to find it difficult to remain on the road to success if everything has to be “just so” all the time.

    Perfection is the killer of creativity, vitality, and accidental discoveries! There are so many instances of people fortuitously discovering things that we use every day.[1] If they had been so concerned with perfection, they may never have enjoyed the success of their “mistakes!” Plus, learning from our mistakes is how we develop and grow throughout our lives. Therefore, “perfect” will never provide a straight shot to success.

    How can you stop going for perfection? Just as it may have taken years of practice to “perfect” a skill you have acquired, it takes practice to undo perfectionism.

    Try the following:

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    • Try new things and let go of your expectations.
    • Don’t do everything on your “To-Do” list. See what happens when you leave it for tomorrow.
    • Learn how to prioritize (no, everything isn’t equally important all the time).
    • If you’re feeling particularly rebellious, send an email with a typo in it!

    Have fun with this and learn how to laugh at yourself. Welcome to the wonderful world of being human.

    2. Fear

    Fear is triggered when we have a thought or perception that we are not safe and secure. This is quite a useful tool when there is a real threat to our safety. However, when the threat is imaginary, fear can actually prevent us from doing the work we need to do to achieve our goals.

    As with perfectionism, the best way to deal with fear is to become more mindful.

    Here are some steps you can try in working through fear:

    1. Sit with the emotion of fear and notice where you feel it in your body. Notice the thoughts that accompany the feeling.
    2. Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen and write down your answers.
    3. Visualize yourself experiencing your worst fears. How did you feel imagining your worst fears coming true?
    4. Ask yourself when you have felt this way before. How did you cope with it that time? What strengths could you use in your previous visualization?
    5. Imagine yourself using your strength with the imagined worst fear. How does it feel to know that no matter what happens, you have the tools and resources to handle it?

    In this exercise, we’re trying to be okay with the emotion of fear. Fear is actually trying to help by keeping you “safe.” It calls upon memories of when you were threatened in your life. But when we spend all of our energy trying to prevent the feeling of fear, we make it stronger. We also deny ourselves the memories of all the times we have faced our fears and triumphed.

    Allowing the fear to be present and calling upon memories of making it through challenging times helps to convince our minds that, as President Franklin Roosevelt said, the “only thing to fear is fear itself.”

    3. Lack of Clarity

    Imagine that you are going on a trip and you need to pack. Your suitcase is out, but you don’t know any details of the trip. You haven’t decided where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, or what you’ll be doing. How easy will it be to pack for this trip?

    If we’re trying to run our careers or lives without clarity, it can be nearly impossible to figure out what we need to be doing to get to our destination of success. So, how do we get clarity?

    Author and speaker, Simon Sinek, had some excellent advice for businesses on how to get clarity, and it applies beautifully to just about any area of life. According to Sinek, when clarifying your “message,” you should start with your WHY.[2] In other words, why are you doing what you do? Once you are clear on your “why,” it will be much easier to figure out your “how” and your “what.”

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    Let’s go back to the packing analogy. Perhaps your why for vacationing is to get some much-needed rest as you have been stressed out lately. That tells you that a quiet vacation might be better than one with lots of museums and crowded attractions. Your “why” tells you that you don’t want to be very active, but you do want to take care of your body, mind, and spirit, perhaps by spending a few days at a nearby spa. Less travel means less stress. Looking at the spa, you see they have a 3-day retreat. Now, you know how to pack.

    See how easily those details fell into place once you got clear on your “why”? Imagine what success you could achieve once your “why” is uncovered!

    4. Making Comparisons

    It’s natural for us to compare ourselves to other people. That’s how we know whether we’re doing things correctly or not and how we can continue improving. When we get into a habit of making comparisons all the time and feeling bad about not being able to “keep up with the Jones’,” this can pull our energy down. And when our energy is down, so is our motivation to keep working toward our goals.

    As with perfection, it’s important to be mindful about how much importance you’re placing on “keeping up” with what you think everyone around you is doing.

    Want to stop sizing yourself up to others? Try the following:

    • Notice the feelings that come up for you when you compare yourself to someone else.
    • Ask yourself, “what information am I really getting from this comparison, and what’s helpful about it?”
    • Keep the helpful bits from that line of questioning and let go of the rest.

    Remember that when you compare yourself to another person, oftentimes you are seeing the potential that already resides within you.[3]

    5. Untamed Inner Monologue

    How do you talk to yourself? Do you tend to say uplifting and encouraging things to yourself? Or is your self-speak often negative? An untamed inner monologue can serve as a great obstacle to many people.

    Many people grow up with the idea that the inner monologue is what drives us to become better people. We get “tough” on ourselves to prevent laziness or sloppiness. If unchecked, the monologuing can quickly become negative and purely critical. Despite our intentions for self-improvement, this constant habit of pointing out what’s “wrong” with what we do and who we are can become a huge energy drain.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, overcoming negative self-talk is good for our health.[4] Some of the benefits of maintaining a compassionate inner voice include lower levels of depression, better immune function, and improved coping skills in stressful times.

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    Activities to develop awareness about your inner monologue and make it more compassionate include:

    • Keeping a thought diary (there are so many great apps for this!).
    • Reframing negative self-statements neutrally or compassionately.
    • Asking yourself what a trusted friend might say to you.
    • Thinking about what you might say to a friend if they were in your shoes.
    • Considering EFT Tapping or saying affirmations.
    • Allowing yourself to follow the inner critic down the worst-case-scenario path (this version might have you laughing at how ridiculous your inner critic’s imagination truly is).

    6. Unclear Boundaries

    So far, we’ve covered several ways that internal boundaries are necessary on the road to success. These include monitoring your fear, limiting your need for perfectionism, lacking clarity about what you want, making unhealthy comparisons to others, or having a mean-spirited inner monologue.

    How about those boundaries we need to clarify with other people in our lives? To be clear, boundaries are not about saying “no” to everything and cutting yourself off from everybody. Healthy external boundaries are about being communicating to others about what you want, how you want to be treated, and what your plans are.

    If we have unclear boundaries with others, success will result only by accident, if at all.

    People pleasers and empaths especially know how challenging it can be to set boundaries with others. The desire for harmony can be so strong for some people that they convince themselves that it is easier to let others make the decisions rather than risk creating conflict.

    The problem here is that no matter how hard we try to avoid conflict with others, we will create conflict within ourselves that results in roadblocks to success. If you have trouble setting clear boundaries with others and you want to be successful, start building your muscles around this skill slowly.

    Here are a few steps:

    1. Identify little things that you like and want.
    2. Tell people about what you like and want in your life.
    3. Notice what happens in your body when you say this out loud.
    4. Identify things you don’t like or want.
    5. Notice what happens in your body when you think about these things. (Your body is really smart when it comes to telling you what you don’t want!)
    6. Tell trusted people what you don’t like or want.
    7. Notice how it feels in your body to say this out loud.
    8. Practice saying “no” to something really small that you don’t want and work your way up to bigger things.

    Without boundaries, it’s like being water and trying to hold a shape without being in a container. You get to create your own container and watch your success take form.

    7. Unreasonable Expectations

    It’s important to dream big. It’s how we allow inspiration and big ideas to come to the surface of our awareness. But if our dreams are not grounded in the reality of our current resources, we might be headed for some disappointment or even worse, the loss of our dreams!

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    Setting reasonable expectations is the bread and butter of success. If you haven’t been introduced to setting SMART goals at this point in your life, it would be a good idea to try it out.

    It might not always be possible to know whether or not something is reasonable, especially if you’re trying out a brand-new-to-you project. If the expectation is for a new project to work without any bumps or glitches, this is likely to be unreasonable. The consequences of this experience could be losing your drive to succeed.

    If the expectations for a new project include the idea of bumps and glitches that hold seeds of learning and growth, then even the perceived “mistakes” will turn out to be a success. This has the positive benefit of fueling your motivation to keep working toward even more success.

    Be mindful of where you set the bar—neither too high nor too low.

    8. Unreasonable Definition of Success

    What is your definition of success? Asked in another way, from what perspective are you seeking success?

    It’s easy to think that success means achieving the goal(s) you set for yourself. But there are so many ways to look at success. You might be missing out on some opportunities to really feel like you are shining in your life.

    An unreasonable definition of success might be one that only allows for one specific outcome. If that outcome is not reached, then success is not the result. But if we allow for multiple definitions of success, we might find that success is much easier to come by than we previously thought!

    To expand your definition of success, ask yourself the following:

    • What would need to happen to make me feel successful?
    • What else could happen to make me feel successful?

    Keep brainstorming all the outcomes you could experience to create a feeling of success.

    Final Thoughts

    Being successful requires overcoming a lot of obstacles, and many people will fail at some point. The key is to tackle these obstacles one step at a time. In the words of Joyce Brothers, “Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

    More Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles

    Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

    Reference

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