Change occurs for a variety of reasons. But one thing is certain: change DOES happen whether we like it or not. Furthermore, change, for whatever reason, is unavoidably difficult.
This is due to the fact that humans are hardwired to resist change. Our brain perceives change as a threat. Because of this, it activates our system’s fight or flight response.
Apart from this reason though, there are other factors that make us perceive that change is difficult.
What causes change?
But first, what are the factors that cause changes in our life?
Passing of time
The first factor is the passing of time. Time marches on and so do we. As a result, change occurs simply because of the passing of time.
For this factor, we know it will happen and that it is natural. Growing up, leaving our parents’ homes, starting our own families, and so on are examples of these changes.
With this change, we are somewhat prepared, and although there are some difficulties involved, we are more open to these changes.
Unforeseen circumstances or events
The second cause of changes is unforeseen circumstances or events that are out of our control. Examples of these changes include job loss, illness, economic decline, and so on. Death, while natural, is another example of this factor.
And the third factor that causes change comes from ourselves. Admittedly, we are hardwired to resist change, especially from those coming from outside. But, humans are also predisposed towards development.
Subsequently, we make an effort to change and improve through sheer willpower.
Why change is difficult
So with the foregoing causes of change, it would seem that we should be more or less adept to change somehow, right? Because the factors of change are more or less natural and are within ourselves. It should only be those unforeseen or uncontrollable factors that should make changes difficult.
Wrong. Once again, due to the fact that we are hardwired to view change as a threat. Any change we experience, whether planned or unplanned will come with its own difficulties because of various reasons.
And the top 10 reasons, in no particular order, are the following:
We are afraid of the unknown
Just like most kids are afraid of the dark, most people are afraid of changes as well. Because it involves venturing into the unknown. And so, of course, our sensible selves, and our survival instincts would kick to high gear.
It is difficult to prepare for something that involves the unknown.
Change takes considerable time and effort
Changing something will take considerable effort. You will need to put up with the discomfort, uncertainty, and hard work on a daily basis. Until such time that you have developed and grown into the person, you want to become. Built the life you wanted to achieve or climbed the top of the career ladder.
And therein lies the struggle. Because some people will not see that the effort required for change is worth it. And most people would like the changes they made to take effect immediately.
Because you want to see results immediately, you fail to see that it takes time for something to take root. Change is not a switch that you can just flip on. You have to work at it slowly and steadily. And the results will appear over time.
But, impatience makes change a little more difficult to strive for.
Self-control and routine are tiring
Going through the work, the routine and the daily tasks for the change you want to implement is exhausting. It will require a great amount of self-control and discipline. And these too, are tiring.
Having to fight off temptations to go back to the old ways can drain you. And it is so much easier to just give in. As such, change is hard to carry out.
We worry about what other people think
This is something that has kept a lot of people constrained. Worrying about what other people think—whether it’s our family, friends, neighbors, or even a stranger on the internet.
So no matter how much you want to change something about yourself, your situation, or your life in general, you will have a hard time if you keep considering other people’s opinions.
Afraid of failure
Of course, who wants to be labeled as a failure? Nobody. But then there’s failure, and then there’s not even trying.
As such, fear of failure is yet another reason for making change difficult. Fear of failure prevents you from taking that first small step toward change.
Lack of purpose
You don’t think that there is something amiss or something really needs changing. So you go about your life as you always have.
On the other hand, you may know you need to change something but are not willing to do the work it entails.
This is due to a lack of direction in your life. The one thing that will motivate you to change or act. Making a change or wanting to change is difficult without purpose.
Lack of motivation
Motivation is essential because it is one of the factors that will encourage you to act, improve, and change. So, if you truly want to change something, make sure you are motivated enough to do so.
Because lack of motivation will almost certainly make your change journey really tough.
Going it alone
As the saying goes, no man is an island. You’d want to connect with other people, especially if you’re making a change.
This is for encouragement, motivation, or assistance in achieving your goal in the midst of a change. Remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather of foresight.
You will only make your journey more difficult if you insist on going it alone.
Fear of embarrassment
Just like the fear of failure, people also have a hard time implementing changes because of fear of embarrassment.
This is especially true if the change you want is in a completely different field. Nobody wants to become the butt of jokes and be the dumbest person in the room.
So this fear keeps them from taking that leap and doing something new.
How to make change easier
After having listed plenty of reasons that change is indeed difficult, what next? Well, the next thing to do is to take steps to make change a little easier.
If there are numerous reasons why change is difficult, there are also numerous methods for making change easier. Continue reading for some ways to make change less difficult.
Have a clear purpose
Define clearly your purpose as to why you want to change something. What exactly do you want to achieve? Having a clear purpose will help you to set your goals.
Know that it’s okay to fail
Failure is hard to accept. But know that it’s okay to fail. Because there is learning in failure.
In addition, know that there is no limit to getting back up again. You can always try, start over, and begin anew. Know that the possibilities for you are endless. So do not allow failure to hinder you from changing and doing something for yourself.
Learn from the Japanese method of improvement called Kaizen. Which means becoming 1 percent better each day. It is a small percentage, but the compound effect of improvement in a year is remarkable.
So if you want to change something and have an easier time doing it, start small. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can start by reducing your carb intake by 1 percentage each day. Continue reducing your carbs until such time that you can have a meal sans the carbs.
Start your changes from the smallest increment that is easy for you to do. Less friction means a higher chance for you to succeed in the change you undertake.
Design your environment
Designing your environment to suit the changes you want to implement is more practical than relying on willpower. In addition, it is also a better way of fighting temptation.
For example, if you want to eat healthy, you will design your kitchen so that whole foods are on display and junk foods are tucked away in the back of the pantry.
Another example is to put your alarm clock in a different room if you want to get up early. When the alarm goes off, you’ll have to get up and go to the other room to turn it off.
Connect with others
It is always easier to make changes when you have someone who shares your motivation. So, tell your friends and family about the changes you want to make. They might join you in your endeavors. If not, at the very least, you will have their support and assistance in achieving your objectives.
It is an undeniable fact that change is difficult. Understandably, the factors that cause change will have an impact on how we deal with it.
However, this does not imply that one factor of change is easier than another. Furthermore, there are numerous reasons why change is difficult.
Yet, despite these difficulties, there are some things we can do to make the transition and change a lot less challenging.