The Strategist

Three steps to change your life

07/02/2021 - 04:59

To change, it is not enough just to want to change. Everyone who has tried at least once knows this. You need to understand how change happens, and more importantly, what prevents us from changing and why we secretly want to leave things as they are.

astrid westvang via flickr
astrid westvang via flickr
To change, you have to want to change. And to do that, we need to understand why we resist change.

Here are three ways to delve into the complex nature of resistance.

1. Stop being ashamed. Unlike guilt - the bad feeling that you've done something immoral or wrong - shame suggests that there's something wrong with you. It is an insidious and dangerous feeling. Shame is often thought of as a fearful driving force, a psychic threat that motivates you to move forward. In fact, it destroys motivation. You hear, "You are broken. Give up!"

Shame instils in us a sense of our own inferiority. Let's say you are in a group of people who want to quit smoking. Feeling similarity dulls shame and increases motivation. When we realise that others are facing similar problems, we say to ourselves, "I can do it!" If you are about to change a way of life, remember that the thought that you are not alone will motivate you and keep you from suffocating in shame.

2. The concept of 'and-and'. When we try to change something in our lives, we always feel resistance. Always. It cannot be avoided. Hence the important conclusion: if resistance is inevitable, see it as part of the process of change. Thus, change and maintaining the status quo are not "either/or", but "and-and", two parts of the same whole.

An example from real life: an artist cannot depict light without using shadows, and will not paint shadows without light. The Italians call it chiaroscuro, which literally means "light and shadow" and combines two opposing concepts.

Art is always "and... and". It's the same with change: without imagining the nature of reality, you don't realise its essence. Stability and change have to be seen as parts of the same whole, and then it will be easier to achieve change and consolidate it.

3. Dealing with the fear of change. If you recognize resistance as part of human nature, you will no longer see it as something abnormal. Awareness means giving up the belief that we need change and that it has to happen immediately. It is important to get rid of the idea that without it you are defective. Analysing change involves all factors, including the desire to leave things as they are. You don't recognise change by tipping the scales in its favour, seeing it as the only true choice. Resistance, a force that, unfortunate as it may be, prevents desirable positive change, is not the enemy.

based on “How We Change (And Ten Reasons Why We Don't)” by Ross Ellenhorn