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Getting Change Done: How to Deal with Resisting Change

Getting Change Done: How to Deal with Resisting Change


    What do getting out of a bad job, leaving a bad marriage, and abandoning a really bad friendship all have in common?

    That’s right: they all require the thing we dread to do as human beings: Change.

    A change in perspective. A change in mindset. A change in thinking.

    We resist change, and we fear change, and we detest change, because no matter how bad the status quo may get, the fear of the unknown is enough to keep us at bay even if that unknown is the best thing that could happen to us.

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    We prefer the familiarity of the discomfort and pain to the uncertainty of a better life.

    This resistance to change kept me at bay for far too long at a miserable job and I have a feeling that if you are reading this too, it may be keeping you stuck too.

    So now that we can admit to our resistance to change, what on earth do we do about it?

    Well, you first have to better understand it before you do anything about it. Why do we resist change?

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    For one, we like normalcy and routine. A lot! It’s uncanny how well routine and human beings go together! We believe routine does us good. We therefore protect routine by avoiding change. We believe all change is a big bad scary monster waiting to jump out at us!

    I have a little secret for you, my dear: Not all change is created equal.

    Remind yourself that not all change is created equal, so what if you had a horrible experience with change last time, it is completely independent of your experience with a different change next time. The results of each change will depend on where you are in your life, and how you go about choosing to change. They depend on your reasons behind wanting this change, and also your reasons for resisting it. They depend on whether this is a change that impacts a small part of your lifestyle or a change on the grand scale of aligning with your life purpose.

    Analyze the change. Understand the change. Embrace and envision the change.

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    It is an amazing self-discovery process as you learn more how to break down your own resistance against change.

    Here are some examples of the different types of change you can experience:

    • Bad change: Going from doing well to doing poorly, financially-speaking.
    • Good change: Going from a sedentary lifestyle to waking up your body by adding in an exercise and healthy eating program.
    • Really bad change: Going from safe smart driving to fast and obnoxious driving just to be “hip” and “cool” among friends.
    • Really good change: Going from feeling sorry and trapped in your job to believing that you are unique and can offer plenty to the world, with all your strengths and talents, thank you very much!

    So you see, not all change is created equal, and some change can be oh so good for you. So be open to change! Stop being so terrified of change!

    In fact, stop being so scared and terrified all the time!

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    What if you had a momentary paradigm shift and chose to believe, just for kicks, the exact opposite of the norm: that your routine and boring job is actually killing you, little by little, and that only a drastic change in the direction of your values and your beliefs can save you?

    What if you thought this way for one day? Would you be more willing to give the right change a try then?

    Remember, not all change is created equal, and the right change can do wonders for your soul and your bottom line. Just think about it.

    (Photo credit: Changing Tree via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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