Why Is Change So Hard?

Why Is Change So Hard?

I recently wrote a blog post entitled Eating Healthy On a Budget where I talked about how I am carefully selecting what I buy at the grocery store and how I am cooking at home to save money.

I had a bunch of great comments, but one that really stood out to me was a friend who commented that I must have a lot of discipline to follow this plan.

The funny thing is that my friend is a personal finance blogger and he makes plans with his finances all the time. Why not make plans when it comes to what you put in your mouth every day as well?

I would say that this is one of the major reasons why change is so hard for people. They are not following a solid comprehensive plan for their life. They are doing what comes naturally to them, which may or may not be beneficial.

However, there are a number of things that you can do to make positive change come a little easier:

  1. Survey Your Life – Look at what is currently working for you and what isn’t. Write everything down and separate them into two lists. Now what do you notice? Is one list longer then the other? Do you see any patterns within the list (i.e. you are good with money, but horrible at maintaining your health?) You won’t be able to build a great house until you survey the land. Same goes with your life.
  2. Make a Blueprint – This is where you take what you discovered in your survey and decide what you will work on. What areas of your life need improvement? What action steps will you take? What kind of positive change would you like to accomplish in your life? Discover what it takes to make that happen and put it into the blueprint.
  3. Gather Your Materials – What things are going to help you improve? You can also ask yourself what things are hindering you from improving. Is buying a commuter bike sound like a good option? That way you can save money and get exercise at the same time on your way to work? Your blueprint will determine what materials you need to succeed.
  4. Hire Your Contractors – Who can you enlist to help you? Will your friends, family, and co-workers do? Or do you need to hire the professionals? That all depends on what you are building, but your chances of success go way up if you have help of some kind.
  5. Get To Building – Nothing is going to happen if you do all the previous steps and stop here. Now that you have a blueprint, the materials, and help you need, there is nothing to it but to do it. The momentum you have gathered this far should help you to get moving on making the change you want to occur happen.

As my friend mentioned, maybe this takes more discipline then I think it does. But I do believe you all have the discipline to get started. Then you build that discipline one little step at a time. One minute, one hour, one day, one week, one month, one year at a time. By starting with a survey of your life, then putting together a plan, and the resources needed to accomplish that plan, you can begin to achieve the positive change that you thought wasn’t possible in this life.

Photo by Kevin Tiqui

Jeremy Day

Jeremy Day writes about personal development, personal finance, and improving your health @ InsightWriter.com Come say hi when you get a chance!

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17 Comments

  1. Everything begins and ends as a state of mind. Thanks for sharing such encouraging energy.

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  2. @ Peter – Thank you for having me on the change blog! It has been a pleasure.

    @ Liara – I do believe the mind is more powerful then we give it credit for. It shouldn’t be underestimated. And you are welcome! ;-)

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  3. One question we must always ask when we want to change is, ‘Do we really need to change?’ Knowing why we really need to change makes change easy. Not knowing why we really need to change makes change difficult. Change could be the easiest thing to do on earth.

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  4. Jeremy,

    What an astute analogy you made about
    building a house and surveying the
    land compared to building and planning
    your life…one of the best I’ve heard
    in a while.

    Anyway, thanks for this blueprint for
    making change easier and pragmatic.

    Stay growing,

    Kevin Tyler Smith
    Promethean Life

    Reply
  5. Jeremy,

    I’m glad you mentioned the point of hiring your contractors. A lot of people go about making large changes on their own and start seeing procrastination, lack of motivation, and other little devils show up to stop them.

    I can’t emphasize the importance of building teams to support you on working toward your goals.

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  6. Folks don’t mind changing, they just don’t like being changed!

    If our reasons are compelling enough, even the most stubborn among us will change.

    Reasons come first, answers come second.

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    • Contrarian, you are absolutely correct. Our reasons must be compelling and changing someone else is next to impossible.

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  7. A positive change in one’s life s possible with a little practice. For example in my case , there are many changed which I wanna bring about . They appear impossible at first but with a little self-discipline and practice they tend to become easy and things work out my way. Besides this we all know that Change is the Law o Nature , then why not initiate a positive change?If it has to happen it will happen naturally with a little effort from our end.

    This test aims at discovering how well you know yourself.
    http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/selfawareness/selfawareness_instructions.asp

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  8. Great tips, Jeremy – I think they add up to finding ways to make change easier, so that it becomes simpler to do the new behaviour rather than stick with your old ways.

    I don’t think pure self-discipline gets any of us very far. Certainly, when I’ve made health changes, it’s had to come from an internal desire and determination rather than that feeling of “Oh, I guess I *should* do this…”

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  9. Jeremy, I love this post!

    I’m working on improving my eating habits right now and I realized that your process can be used at the macro level (what’s working and not working in your life?) or at the micro level (what’s working and not working in the way I eat?)

    Your post also made me realize that, much like your friend, we all have areas where we are very disciplined – I update my blog on Tuesday mornings and have never missed a post. The question becomes how can I use that discipline to improve my eating habits?

    And last, I love the way you write – clear, succinct and on point. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas.

    Melinda

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  10. I think change is so tough Jeremy because it conjures up losing something or a negative connatation. We often see change as forced upon us when, in reality, life is one big change everyday and every season. When we recognise it as a natural process we can embrace it and even activate it in our favour. A change is as good as a rest after all!!

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  11. Great post Jeremy.

    Usually we are motivated by desire for reward or fear of punishment. There is always the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) factor. If your current situation is so unpleasant it will give you the kick in the pants you need to change.

    A lot of people are comfortable enough where they don’t feel the need for change. This is where the danger lies. The danger of untapped potential and a life of mediocrity.

    Randy

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  12. nice read! I definitely think that change is depending on the person, if you wanted to change you should be ready to take the risk and lose something or some habits especially.

    I like your post! very interesting! keep it up.

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  13. @ Olusegun – Very good point and insight. Why change if we don’t need to. There has to be a need, not just a want.

    @ Kevin – Thanks for the comment! I learned a long time ago that the best way to teach people about anything is through analogy and stories. Seems to be what works best at least!

    @ Bryce – You have a great point. Lone rangers may do well for awhile, but they never seem to go the distance…

    @ Contrarian – Great statement! Change has to make sense to the person changing before it will happen…

    @ Kim – Great insight and thanks for the link. Like I said at the end of the article. Step by Step you can make vast positive changes in your life if only you are headed in the right direction and keep moving. Thats why I wrote posts like these…

    http://www.insightwriter.com/2008/11/06/11-steps-finances/

    @ Ali – Always a pleasure, and again congrats on the marriage, gotta get used to the new last name…. ;-) People do have a lot of “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s”, don’t they?

    @ Melinda – Thank you very much for the compliment! It is much appreciated! And I agree wholeheartedly with you. Discipline in one area should spill over into other areas. While in most cases I think it does it seems like we all have our vices we like to stick to. And at that point I have to remind myself that… “Hey, we are only human”

    @ John – Yes, change comes in the mind first, reality second. Why does change have to be about losing something? Why can’t it be about gaining something greater?

    @ Randy – I agree with you Randy, but I’ve tried to get away from that thought process over the years. It’s not so much about rewards or punishments. And its not so much about comfort levels, although one can easily see it that way. Its about who am I and what do I want to do with my life?

    If you can focus on those two questions, you can forgot about all the rest of that stuff…

    Thanks all for commenting… Would love to continue the discussion if any of my comments generate more thoughts on the subject!

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    Reply
  14. Well said, sir. The true brilliants and greats of generations time and time again are people who continually survey their life, establishing what and what is not effective, and then executing the necessary steps to improve.

    However! I do believe that there is a limit to change. Automating the above steps too much shakens who you are fundamentally. There are those who don’t mind that they shift and transform all for the sake of getting better and better, but these people are never in a cooled state of mind, never one person, until it’s hard to say who that person is. I’ll even say that surveying yourself over and over everyday making new changes can make you more like a robot than a human!

    So make changes, become better than yesterday, but enjoy the results of your changes before you move onto new ones.

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  15. Since before my daughter was born back in 06 I have always lived naturally and ate at home (I guess as an herbalist I could be considered to some extreem- we hunt, have a chicken coop, make remedies at home ect) , but I still find other things daily that I could modify and change. Since I have two toddlers I have had to make a lot of recent changes. We have cut expenses everywhere including going down to 1 family car and canceling all ‘unnecessary’ expenses.
    I think the main thing that helps me when I try to get back to a healthy balance is small changes. It may only be one thing per day, but slowly over time it makes a huge difference.
    One example is we walk every day into town using a double stroller, this is how I get my exercise and my kids enjoy interacting with the locals and getting the fresh air (it is 1 hour round trip). This one small change allowed me to not have to get a gym membership (saving us $100.00 plus per month) I get my exercise, the walking is good for my mind and soul, plus still get to spend time with my kids without having to pay to leave them in the gym daycare (where they easily pick up ever virus that comes through town). Some days during my walk I have even taken to listening to MP3’s on personal development, really making the most of our time!
    This may seem like a small change, but this one change not only saved me money, I learn something new daily, and it enabled me to loose the 20 lbs that I gained during my pregnancy.
    I have found just changing one small thing helps in every aspect of life, from creativity, to business, to your personal life.
    For example- take 5 minutes today to tell someone how grateful you are to have them and how much you love them, see what happens!
    Nice blog:)

    Reply
  16. I think this comes down to planning, and making sure that when you plan your life you pay attention to all areas of your life, which is harder than you would think…

    It does take a lot of discipline, but knowing you have a good plan and solid resources to back you up should help a lot…

    Reply

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