Get Out of Your Own Way If You Want To Change

No one likes to change

Change is Frightening

So many people suffer from what I call the resistance syndrome.  I’m not just talking about resistance  to dieting, although that is a large percentage of the syndrome.  The resistance syndrome happens when we become excited about the prospect of change and what it can mean in our lives.  It can be all about weight loss.  Or it can be about finding a new job or even a new home.  It’s all stems from the idea of making something different happen in our lives–something that will make our lives better in some way.

Maybe it is having the energy to accomplish more throughout the day and not be exhausted by the time we finally turn out the lights.  Perhaps we want  more personal time.  Or find ways to express our creative side.

We chart a path and bravely set out on our self-defined course.  All goes according to plan, until life gets in the way.  Suddenly this change isn’t as easy as we thought it would be.   I think we have all been there when even with the best of intentions, those potato chips are just begging to be eaten some afternoon.   After a few discouraging attempts we re-evaluate the plan, decide it  isn’t the right time, and put the idea in the back of our mind, waiting for a more auspicious moment to begin again.

And we do try again.  And again.  But the progress is never what we expect,  and finally we just  put the idea away for good.

So many people fail to reach their goals because as a species, we are resistant to change.  No matter how much we may want what is at the end of that path, there is a part of us that is always trying to divert our attention away from the prize.  After all, if we accomplish what we  set out to do our lives will be different.  In a sense, they will be foreign to us and our minds are just not sure that is such a good thing.  Much better to stay in familiar territory.

I have even had clients tell me they are afraid that they are afraid to pursue their goal in case they reach the finish line and find it wasn’t all they expected it to be.

It is amazing how easily we become distracted when we are frightened.  There are always dogs to be fed, laundry to be done, weekly reports to be analyzed, crosswords to be worked.  We can easily bury ourselves in important deadlines, even making them up if we can’t find enough.  It is all a matter of resistance to change.  We can find just about anything that needs our  immediate attention more than our desire to move forward.

resistance to change prevents winning

Get out of your own way if you want to change

The simple truth of the matter is if you want to make a change–truly make a change–you have to stop listening to yourself.  At least to the part of yourself that is resisting and trying to sabotage your intentions.  After all,  there are enough people out there who would like to see you fail simply because it keeps them safe.   You don’t need to become part of that crowd.

Positive change  almost always only happens when we get out of our own way.  When we stop listing all the reasons something won’t work, and instead list the reasons that it will and why it should.  When we stop believing the part of our brain that says it is impossible and instead listen to the part that honestly believes nothing is out of our reach.  Because often we decide something is impossible when we find it is just a bit more difficult than we thought it would be.  Difficult isn’t impossible–it just takes more work.   Alright, maybe a lot more work, but it is possible.

Becoming mindful of resistant or distracting behaviors–those things that pull energy away from your goal–is a great way to kickstart your progress on the path to creating positive change in your life.


About Chris Griffin

Chris Griffin is a executive coach with a passion for wellness through mindfulness. He helps executives and senior management enhance their performance and their lives by pinpointing and changing self-defeating behaviors.

3 Responses to Get Out of Your Own Way If You Want To Change

  1. Sue Vincent November 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Nicely put, Chris. Fear allows the imagination to run riot and the monsters under the bed can be just as bizarre for adults seeking change as they are for children in the dark… and seem just as real.

    • Chris Griffin November 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

      Thanks, Sue. I agree that our adult fears are just as disturbing as the monsters under the bed. Of course, like most of those monsters, once the light is on they seem to be harder to find…Enjoy your Sunday!

      • Sue Vincent November 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

        Trouble is, they seem to get even bigger as we get older… and disguise themselves as something less monstrous looking… so they get a little harder to spot.

        But yes.. a light switched on and they dissipate :-)

        You too, Chris.