IMPACT: Why Is Change Difficult? | Great Health Guide
IMPACT: Why Is Change Difficult?

IMPACT: Why Is Change Difficult?

‘Why Is Change Difficult?’ by Kelly Fryer published in Great Health Guide (Oct 2016). Change is fast becoming the one constant in our lives, yet we can find it difficult to embrace, adapt and deal with. Why do we find change so hard, whatever it is & whatever the pace? How do we learn to embrace change? Kelly has some great advice to help you with change.
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IMPACT: Why Is Change Difficult?

written by Kelly Fryer

Change is fast becoming the one constant in our lives, yet we can find it difficult to embrace, adapt and deal with. Sometimes we initiate the change and sometimes it is forced upon us; sometimes the change is slow and sometimes it moves at one hundred miles an hour.

Why do we find change so hard, whatever it is & whatever the pace?

Well firstly there is a bit of science behind it. The saying that ‘we are creatures of habit’ is in fact very true. As we move through life we develop beliefs, thoughts and patterns in the primitive part of our brain and when faced with a ‘fearful’ situation we move from the intellectual part of our brain to the primitive part of our brain. This causes us to revert back to behavior that has helped us before and reuse the patterns we have stored. On average it takes us eleven times to create a new pattern and learn a new behavior. 11 times!

In addition, we create emotions to certain things be it anger, happiness, frustration, excitement and these emotions trigger another part of our brain that link the pattern in our brains more strongly.

When we are excited by change, the new car, the new house or the new job, our emotions tell us that everything is going to be OK and we find the change much easier to manage.

When we fear the change or feel sad about it, the chemical triggers from these emotions tell us that we in are danger. We want to hold onto the patterns and behaviors that have always helped us; it’s our fight or flight response that keep us safe, but often it is wrong.

On top of this, we are resisting the change because we are happy with the way things are. Then our childlike behaviors kick in and our internal five-year-old dominates. We know what we need to do in order to keep our job, or our relationship intact. Despite our best efforts to change, sometimes we just can’t muster up the energy to change and then we beat ourselves up even more.

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To accept and deal comfortably with change, we need to manage our emotions and I know, this can be easier said than done. But, we are each capable of managing and changing our emotions, our beliefs and our actions. How did you feel when you got out of bed this morning? Did you think it was going to be a good day or a bad day? 

You wake up saying, it’s going to be a bad day, then shower and head downstairs for breakfast. You spill your coffee, need to change only to find the top you just took out of the wardrobe also has a stain on it (darn coffee!). You run downstairs as you are now going to be late and the dog still needs walking. You leave the house, without the required poo bags, the dog doesn’t want to do his business and is making you even later. You finally get home, can’t find your keys, run around frantically and then remember you put them in your back pocket when you took the dog out. You finally get in the car, the traffic is a nightmare, you arrive late for the 9:00am meeting. Everyone is staring at you and you know, it’s because they have noticed yet another stain on your top.

Now let’s look at the same morning; this time you woke up feeling positive and said that it was going to be a good day. You shower and dress, head downstairs, drink your coffee as you read your magazine (GHG of course!), grab the lead and the poo bags and take the dog for a walk as you notice the birds singing. You get home, grab your bag and your keys, jump in the car and your favourite song comes on the radio. The roads are clear and you arrive in time to say hi to your team and grab a coffee before your 9:00am meeting.

The only difference between these situations is your attitude and your mood. If you practice daily, having a positive attitude and a happy mood, when you find yourself faced with change, you will be able to cope, embrace the change and manage it more effectively.

Give it a go and see if you can create a smooth and comfortable change.

Top Tips for embracing change:

  • Pay attention to your emotions and your trigger points

  • Remember that change is constant

  • Know and accept that change can be tough, but it can also be great

Author of this article:
Kelly Fryer, Founder at Chrysalis Consulting is currently undertaking a PhD in Organisational Change and the Courage of Leaders. Kelly has a strong background in HR; having worked in the industry for 18 years she is a qualified and accredited Executive Coach and lives in the UK.  Kelly can be contacted at Chrysalis consulting

Switch: How To Change Things, When Change Is Hard

by Chip Heath, Dan Heath


Paperback.   Published 2011.
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