Think about the quote, “Change is the only constant.”
It sounds like an oxymoron, right?
After all, if the change is the only constant… doesn’t that mean that nothing is consistent?
If you’re thinking this way, you’re on the right track.
Change is omnipresent—everything and everyone is always changing.
We can’t keep track of changes, which makes us nervous because it means we’re consistently operating within the unknown.
We’ll let you in on a secret (that you probably already know): Humans don’t like the unknown.
In addition to that, here are a few other reasons why we struggle with change
Let’s face it—when we change something up, we don’t know what to expect.
The outcome could either be better than our starting point or worse.
That’s a big risk!
Think about people who change their hairstyles all the time.
They’re taking a risk that they may not love their new ‘do, but on the flip side, there’s a good chance they’ll find the perfect look by testing out something different.
The risk element can be scary, but we shouldn’t view it as an obstacle—just something that we can work on.
We Lack Purpose
It’s one thing to make a change; it’s another to have a purposeful quest towards a life pivot.
If you set out to make a change, that’s exactly what you’ll do. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll maintain or enjoy it.
On the other hand, if you start with a “why,” your change will have purpose and strategy—which, in the long run, leads to adherence and commitment.
The Changes are Unrealistic
A classic example is New Year’s Resolutions.
The first week of January, the gyms are crowded, people are significantly more friendly, and everyone is on their A-game at work.
But after a few short weeks, everything is back to normal.
In this case (and many other cases), people have a hard time implementing changes because they’re setting up unrealistic expectations for themselves.
If you want your life changes to stick, keep them realistic, measurable, and purposeful.
Humans like stability.
In fact, we crave it.
The reason we struggle with change is that it’s a neurological imperative to be kept safe.
Our primal brain is wired to crave safety and security to help us survive.
When we start to step out of our comfort zone, we hear a little voice in our head telling us it’s too risky.
We can’t do it. What if we fail?
So, as you begin to make changes, even small ones, expect and accept that there will be self-doubt and fear come up.
It’s just your brain trying to keep you safe.
No matter how open to risk you are or how much you crave spontaneity, you—like everyone else—feel most comfortable with stability.
Before you start trying to prove that you’re not in favor of a stable life, let’s look at a few examples that show just how extreme this principle goes.
In other words, it encompasses everyone and every situation.
Example 1: Sandra is a freelance graphic designer. She loves what she does, and she grew up under the notion that passion was more important than pay. Things change when she begins to really struggle with money. She has to pick up a second job, rarely sees her family, and is always stressed out.
The change: Sandra would’ve never envisioned herself saying this before, but she decides she wants to pursue a more stable career path. She decides that she can always do graphic design in her spare time but that a steady paycheck sounds like the best option for her. She made a change that would have scared her just months ago, but after a series of life events, she decided it was best, and she pivoted her life for the better.
Example 2: Josh doesn’t like to exercise. It has never been a big part of his life, and he gets bored as soon as he hops on the treadmill. There’s a part of him that is nervous about exercising. It’s intimidating to work out around other people who are experienced and comfortable with working out. For him, stability means sitting at home and watching his favorite TV show with his wife.
The change: After a check-up with the doctor, Josh realizes he needs to adopt a more active lifestyle. This wasn’t in the cards for him a few months ago, but his doctor’s visit catalyzes a shift. He knows that he’ll feel a little unstable or uncomfortable at first, but he also knows that it’s best for him—and his mindset shifts accordingly.
Example 3: Artie works at a grocery store, and he loves his job. He’s friends with all his coworkers, he gets discounts on food, and he was just recently named employee of the month. For him, it’s stable, and it’s dependable. He has never thought about changing his job or moving to a new city because he knows there’s no guarantee that he would like it.
The change: One day, everything changes. He walks into work and decides he wants to do something else and experience a new environment. He doesn’t know where he will go or what he will do, but this change of mind is compelling enough to encourage him to do it quickly. Artie realizes that stability, although nice, is never a guarantee. He could lose his job tomorrow and would still be faced with uncertainties. He’s now ready to take on a new environment and a new challenge.
All these examples are pretty different from each other.
One of them may resonate with you… or maybe none of them do!
The vital thing to note with each of these examples is that life is never a guarantee.
Stability and certainty are nice-to-haves, but they are not a rite of passage.
As humans, we have to embrace that change will happen, and sometimes, we need to catalyze that change.
The next time you struggle with change, remind yourself that it is 100% normal.
Remember that it’s just your brain’s way of keeping you alive, so the species survives.
In order to continue progressing and evolving, we need to be able to not only embrace change but enact it.
Now that you know what change really is, how change pertains to you, and why we, as humans, struggle with it, it’s time to talk about the positives.
Why is transformation necessary?
What benefits does it have on your life?
How will it impact you in a positive way?
We’ll answer all those questions and more.
In my next blog, so stay tuned!