Why is All Change Such a Pain?
Why is change so difficult and how can you make smarter better faster change in your life?
I write about this today because change is still not easy for me and I struggle with it so. But I am so much better at it now and since progress is everything in life, I talk about what has worked well and give you 10 proven ways to make change easier for you.
Just for good measure, I repeat: Change is a pain! A giant ugly bear that none of us like to face, but we CAN make it easier!
Anyone who says otherwise is a good liar or a superhuman. I am interested in them today. I am interested in you and me and our natural abilities – or inability – to deal effectively with change. Any change and all change, as small as switching from caffeine to decaf for one day or as challenging as going on a complaint-free challenge for a month – is hard.
Because change pushes you outside of your zone of familiarity, a place we love to dwell, toward a place of unknown and uncertainty and while that may sound sexy and cool to our ego, our brain does not care – it wants the comfort and the familiar.
We resist change, we hate it, we put it off indefinitely. We may talk a big game over a drink or at the height of our excitement, but when it’s showtime, we still would rather sit down and preferably not even move. We would rather watch someone else do it and feel sorry for ourselves – because that’s easier. But what makes change so difficult?
This is why you stay in a miserable job because switching to a better, more promising and higher paying job is, well, uncomfortable. Better sure in every sense of the word for you, your health and your finances but your brain only cares about keeping you in the comfort zone. So you stay until the pain of being where you are becomes too great to bear. (By the way, I mean “you” in a generic sense here but if you are doing this, do stop and get out fast!)
My personal battle with change right now – mostly for your amusement while also to prove a point:
I am on a mission to get lighter.
Yes, of course I mean lose weight but I can’t stand the phrase so get lighter it is. Why? Well that’s obvious, isn’t it? I am working on picking up my body with my hands to do all sorts of crazy stuff in my Ashtanga yoga practice.
Math suggests that the less I have to pick up, the quicker that radical goal comes into sight. I decided to trust my husband’s currently effective method and use MyFitnessPal (love the app!) to track every calorie that goes into my mouth. This has been a colossal challenge and I hate it on many levels.
First observation: I cannot believe just how much I used to eat!!!!
Second observation: I cannot believe just how hard it is to eat a little less than what you want. Your body’s needs and your mind’s desires for food are not the same thing so your wants are tricking you into believing you need more, whereas we know for a fact most of us are overfed and could use some moderation in this department.
The real shocker: I am not new to weight-loss. I am fit, health-conscious, and determined. I write health books that helps thousands of people with juicing and smoothies. And I’ve done extensive detox and cleanses with juice fasts. But counting calories has pushed a button so deep, so sensitive, and so personal. I am fighting a change that has touched on my emotional, psychological and physical nerves.
The Facts: The truth is that it has been so good for me. Portion control is the most proven method to losing weight and combined with basic knowledge of what’s good, you can easily make the right choices on how to use up your allotted calories.
10 Ways to Make Change Easier in Your Life
Here are 10 practical proven ways to make change easier, and what to do when you are in the throes of change to help you take that next step, and the next one and all the ones that follow:
1. Express the change in a brand new way:
The words you use both in talking to yourself or to others are extremely powerful. They reinforce a good or a bad thread of thoughts that then influences your reality. So watch what you say to yourself. For instance, don’t say “I am trying to say lose weight, it’s so hard!” Say I am getting healthier and taking better care of my body, and I can totally do this!
2. Ask the right question:
You know the question-asking mode you go in when you are desperate: “How did I get myself into this change?”, “What was I thinking?”, “How can I get through this?” Instead, ask a different question that forces you to come up with a different answer: “What good can come of this change?”, “How will my life be better with this change?” Ask what’s working. Answer those questions then.
3. Break it down to tiny steps:
You don’t swallow your meal in one giant bite, do you? No matter how well you prepare, you will choke if you do. So do the same with change. Break it down. Take small tiny steps. You won’t get promoted overnight. You will however get recognized more every week, and build momentum toward your promotion if you follow my 21 lessons or any other effective way to advance at your job.
4. Use the power of social pressure:
If you want to be healthy, you need to understand how healthy people eat, exercise and live. You can only be one of them if your behavior becomes one of theirs. Use the power of social pressure in a good way for once. This is not high school anymore, thank god, this is real life and you have choices, but since social pressure works so well, exploit it to support your change.
5. Get your support system together:
Without my husband, this whole “getting lighter” mission would be badly compromised. He is my support system for this change and you need yours for your change. Don’t be a superhero. It’s perfectly fine and a show of courage to ask for help when you need it.
6. Normalize your reaction:
At first, you may freak out about your resistance to change. Sorry, you’re not unique there. Not at all alone and in fact, perfectly normal. Since this is not a talent show, this is good news. Normalize it then. Your emotional reaction is normal so stick to it and carry on with the change. You are going through the process just as expected.
7. Talk to someone who’s done it:
Focusing on the positive can be helpful but what’s really helpful is connecting with another human being who has gone through the exact change as you. When I talk to my ex-colleagues at corporate, and they express their frustrations to me, I know they know I was there with them and I broke out of it, and it affirms that they can do the same: break out of a bad job and start anew. So talk to that someone.
8. Eliminate influence in the opposite direction:
Enough getting the bad kinda influence. Whether it comes from your friends or the stuff you read or watch, be vigilant about identifying it and dropping it fast. You need all the help to make changes. Don’t encourage magnets that pull you in the opposite direction.
9. Adjust your expectations:
Don’t expect to pull miracles. This does not mean you are shooting low or are not ambitious enough. This means you prefer steady progress forward. You prefer to get to your goals rather than burn out along the way. You are smart. So make your expectations match. I’m not trying to lose 2 pounds a week, I have lower but firmer expectations.
10. Glorify all progress, large and small:
I don’t care how small your progress, whatever it is that moved the scale an inch or centimeter in the right direction counts. So celebrate it. Glorify it. Make a big deal out of it. We undervalue the importance of small steady progress. So next time you are measuring yourself and judging how far or not so far you have come, please do yourself a favor: make a big deal out of every ounce of progress. It does wonders to propel you forward.
Here’s to ways to make change easier in your life, because the only certainty is that there will be change. Might as well be well-prepared for it so you can play a bigger role in your own life movie.
PS: Don’t forget to grab your FREE confidence lessons below – I went through great lengths putting it together for you – and tell me in the comments how you deal with change in your life!