Why changes are so difficult!

We often prefer to accept being unhappy instead of changing something in our lives. Again and again, people only want to change something when they really can’t help it and their backs are against the wall.

As an outsider, you often can’t understand why someone hasn’t changed something a long time ago. Even those affected may say that they know that they have to change something and also really want to change something, but can’t …

We humans are often very afraid of changes. We like routine and our brain uses less energy as a result. The part of the brain that prefers the familiar is also responsible for torpedoing great new ideas for a desired future. Doing something familiar, even if it makes you unhappy and dissatisfied, gives us a sense of security and is easier than dealing with change. The known seems better than the unknown, because I know it, because I know how to act, how to protect myself … and no one can really give me a guarantee that things will improve; it could even get worse! In the worst case we would not even have our hope for a better life anymore. Therefore, we continue according to the motto: “Better a bird in the hand than a pigeon on the roof!” People are more sensitive to losses than to gains. For example, it hurts us more to lose the bad job than to miss the opportunity for a good job. Moreover, the fear of change can also be understood as a protection against disappointment, failure, or being hurt.

Being afraid is actually not a bad thing, it is a vital part of our nature: fear protects us from danger, it is a warning signal to ensure our survival. Genes, personality type and our past experiences determine how we deal with fear. In general, however, if I let fear take control of my life and too much fear blocks my actions, I’m running with full speed and eyes open straight into disaster.

Fear creates a stress response in the body with the release of stress hormones. For example, the amygdala, a very primal part of our brain, commands the adrenal cortex to release the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. When the amygdala is highly stimulated, it can bypass our rational thinking and make us believe that everything is dangerous. We can react with exaggerated fear at the slightest little thing, and our thinking is distorted. We see everything through the filter of potential danger and narrow our focus to the things that can harm us. Fear becomes the lens through which we see the world.

Elevated levels of cortisol cause striking changes in bodily functions and have a fundamental impact on mood and emotions. It can cause feelings of panic and self-doubt. Desires for change and new goals suddenly go up in smoke and you remain stuck in your current reality.

Three tips on how to overcome the fear of change and courageously tackle new goals:

  1. ENVISAGE your new desired reality. Set clear and bright goals, preferably in the form of memorable images: “That’s what I want to achieve, that’s where I want to go!” It is important to repeat to yourself the goal you want to achieve, or the clear images of it, every day. In doing so, one must select situations that are as concrete as possible, so you can practice the new behaviors daily or even several times a day, and keep these goals and images in mind. This approach is tied to rehearsal and automation. Change is not achieved through a one-time expression of will, but only through sustained self-conditioning. In a separate blog post, I will go into more detail about how you can use visualization of your desired reality with the help of a self-painted picture.
  2. BELIEVE in your new desired reality. This will build courage and self-confidence and thus you will conquer the fear of the unknown. Transform your negative beliefs that prevent you from making your dreams come true into positive beliefs (e.g., “I can’t do that” becomes “I can!”). Sit comfortably, come to rest, close your eyes, and daydream. Daydreaming allows you access to ideas outside of your conscious mind. Picture your dream in your mind, feel it – and then…
  3. …ACT! As soon as you see your goal and believe in it, you will feel the urgent desire to take action immediately. Go from being a reactor to an initiator, be curious and proactive. Challenge yourself and leave your comfort zone! If the big step of change makes you uncomfortable, break it down into small steps and reward yourself for small progress. For example, if you’re writing a book, raise a cup of coffee in the air and say out loud, “I’m drinking this coffee on the occasion of finishing this chapter.” Repeated recognition reprograms your brain, it wants to get on with it – in this case, with writing.

“The purest form of insanity is to keep everything the same while hoping that something will change.”

Albert Einstein

It is soly up to you to shape your life in a positive way. Take action, act self-determined and courageous – then you will overcome fear, the biggest obstacle on the way to positive changes in your life.