Understanding the challenge of change
There are several reasons why we resist the discomfort of change. Even when we desperately want the outcome we set out to achieve, without the right plan or mindset it’s easy to let it slip through our hands. So, what are some of the key challenges of adapting to change and how can we tackle them effectively.
The comfort of our regular routine
Most of us are creatures of habit and the routines that we establish for ourselves provide a sense of comfort and security. Even if the outcome of the routine is not positive, we tend to find solace in something that is familiar. Change requires us to break out of these comfortable patterns and enter new territory.
If you’re having trouble breaking out of this cycle, revisit your goal to remind yourself why you started this journey in the first place and get remotivated. You may also like to break down the actions you are taking into even smaller steps, so the change feels more gradual. Start with one small, achievable action and once you’re able to achieve it comfortably, then start to build on it.
A lack of specific goals
Quite often when we want to improve our lives, we don’t get past making a broad, undefined goal such as ‘I’d like to get fit’. While that’s a great start, to make change easier to achieve it helps to have measurable ‘mini-goals’ that help lead into the bigger change.
For example, a specific goal around fitness might be to jog around the block without stopping by the end of the month.
Taking on too much
If you want to change too much at once, it’s easy to burnout. For sustainable change to happen, we rely on our resources of attention, self-control, and motivation. If we reach too high, we place unrealistic demands on these resources and they can’t keep up in the long run.
For instance, if your goal is to build a successful side business in 3 months, the amount of work that’s required to achieve this would be significant. You are working extra hours, getting less sleep, and not seeing your loved ones as often. This could take a toll on your performance at work, your relationships, and your general energy levels – causing significant stress and potential burnout.
It’s all about balance. Set out incremental steps towards your goals over a longer timeline to avoid overloading yourself and sacrificing other important commitments. You might start with the goal of making a detailed business plan in the first month, then getting a website made in the next. The following month your goal might be to have secured your first client, and so on. Remember to reward yourself for hitting each goal along the way.
Fear of failure
It sounds strange, but it’s a well-established fact that the very idea of coming up short can make us avoid putting in true effort. Having the confidence to challenge ourselves and try something new can be daunting. If you aren’t sure whether you can achieve it, or have failed in the past at something similar it can hold you back from going all in.
If this is something you are feeling, remember that the only failure is never trying at all. There is no shame in stumbling or falling short of our goals if we keep trying. Even when things don’t go exactly to plan, there is always a learning we can take from the experience.
Don’t be hard on yourself, try practicing positive self-talk to help build the right mindset for success.
Lack of persistence
When the going gets tough, many people start to lose interest, get distracted or give up prematurely. Understand that any significant change will be challenging, with good and bad days. True change occurs over time and can involve a step backward before making gains. This is all part of the process and it’s important to stick with it before retreating. With patience and consistency, you will continue moving in the right direction.
For example, many people who set out to eat healthier will abandon their goal if they ‘give in’ and eat something unhealthy. Yet they have made nutritious choices throughout the week beforehand, which is great progress! If you splurge on something here and there that doesn’t take away from your overall efforts. Just aim to get back to your goals the next day and keep building on your progress.
Making significant change is hard but all efforts you make bring you a step closer to the goal. If you’re setting out to make a change this year, remember to be kind to yourself along the way and just take it step by step.
If you need someone to talk to, MensLine Australia professional counsellors are here to provide information and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Call us on 1300 78 99 78 or access online counselling.