I’ve thought about why I find change hard. I’ve thought about the things others have said to me. Here is a good list of nine main reasons why change is slow and difficult.
One: We are creatures of habit. Routines make life simpler (not necessarily better, but certainly simpler).
Two: Entropy and lethargy are always at work. Entropy means the universe moves from a state of high energy to low energy. Lethargy is the condition of low energy. Change has to swim upstream against entropy. That is a rushing river and hard swimming.
Three: We are busy. Change takes time, energy, and focused attention. Those things are in short supply. Change takes too much work.
Four: We are stuck. We really do want to change and are ready to change, it is just that we don’t know how to change. We need help.
Five: Change is a little scary. Change means . . . well, change. It means embracing what is unfamiliar and unknown. What will the change process be like? It is hard to say. What will life be like on the other side of change? That’s hard to say as well.
Six: We are all embedded in situations and systems that work against us changing. It is not just a matter of mere individual will, you have to work against all the systems and structures and expectations and preferences of all the others around you. They are also quite comfortable with the old you. A new you might not fit into the system as it currently is. In counseling, this is known as family systems theory. The family system must change if individual change is to succeed.
Seven: We’re not up for it. Add in normal depression and anxiety and stress that most of us feel, and we don’t have the confidence in our personal resources to change.
Eight: Finally, throw in the failure to change in the past, and we tend toward being pessimistic that future change will work. “Why will it work this time?” you ask yourself.
Nine: Motivation. You don’t have enough of it. You want to, but you don’t want to. You’d like to change, but if you don’t change you can live with it!
Which of these reasons are at work to prevent you from making changes you know are good for you? Are there other reasons I didn’t mention that you would add to the list?
So, can we change? Can you change? Is there hope?
We’ll explore these questions tomorrow!