Why is Change so Hard?

Why is Change so Hard?

We have all set ourselves goals throughout our lives with the best intentions of meeting them only to find that a couple of weeks in, sometimes days, that we abandon them. The reasons are vast and varied as to why we do this and only as we reflect on our own reasons can we understand what made us abandon the plan.

I have made many a New Year’s resolution only to find that by the end of February my good intentions have been forgotten! I have joined a few different gyms in my lifetime always telling myself this time will be different! Only to find 2 – 3 months in I have made lots of reasons for myself not to attend! Even when it comes to losing weight, I have tried many diets and slimming groups, only to give up part way to my intended target!

I know that I am not alone in this as I have witnessed many of my family, friends and colleagues go through exactly the same cycle. They start off with lots of motivation only to find a few months down the line they have petered off to a dwindling hope of reaching their most eagerly anticipated target they had only a few months before. On the other hand I also know a few people that seem to set themselves a target and can pursue it with ‘dogged’ determination and cast iron will power until they reach their goals. This makes me curious to understand what makes the difference.
Usually when we begin with great energy and determination, only to lose it very quickly is because we are experiencing stuck behaviours. Stuck behaviours are driven by a number of different things like:

• Habits (good and bad)
• Preferences
• Influences
• What is important to us
• Experiences from the past
• Our beliefs

Behavioural patterns are very powerful. These are the things we do without thinking about them and that are second nature to us. So if we have strong patterns that are positive in our life, then it is also possible to change negative patterns to positive ones! If only it was that easy! Most of the time releasing stuck behaviours means coming out of our comfort zone into the unknown and there is always a period of tolerance we have to overcome. This period of tolerance can be uncomfortable or sometimes even painful before our body and mind accept it as the ‘norm!’ You will be able to relate to this if you have ever done any of the following:

• Stop smoking
• Lose weight
• Change career/get a new job
• Drink less alcohol
• Join a gym to get fit!
• Moved house
• Started a family

The list is endless but these are probably the most popular life changing experiences and most of us have experienced at least one of them, if not several! If you think back to when any of these changes occurred, you will probably remember an initial period where you felt uncomfortable until you accepted your new circumstances and built a new routine until it became familiar.

Vroom’s Theory (Expectancy Model)

    1. Do we have what it takes in terms of resources and skills?
    2. Is it what we really want?
    3. Do we expect the outcome to be positive?

Vroom’s Equation: M = I x E x V (Motivation = Instrumentality x Expectancy x Valance)

Motivation: The energy/drive/force generated and used by an individual to pursue a course of action
Instrumentality: The skills/knowledge/experience to make it happen
Expectancy: The desired outcome they think they will get will be achieved
Valance: How attractive the outcome is

If this all sounds a bit too scientific then it may be easier to relate to the next analogy I came across recently when I read the book “Switch (How to change things when change is hard)” written by Chip & Dan Heath

They had a very simple example of why change is hard that had 3 components to it:

  1. Our emotional state
  2. Our logical/planning rationale
  3. The Path

Only when all 3 components are aligned and in harmony with each other will change happen. Their analogy was to think of you emotions as a large elephant. Think of your logical/planning rationale as the Rider of the elephant and the Path is the route you wish to take to reach your goal (the change you wish to make).

Our emotions are a very powerful driver and can change very quickly from moment to moment which makes the Rider’s job of keeping them on track, going in the right direction very difficult. If the Elephant and the Rider are going in different directions then it becomes hard to stay on the same path, if not impossible!

Therefore, understanding our emotional states and being able to control them to provide us with a more resourceful state is the key to enabling us to achieve our desired outcomes, whatever they may be to each and every one of us!

So if you or someone you know could benefit from some extra help in this area, for a FREE consultation, please contact me either by emailing me: lisa@viaductlifecoaching.co.uk or through the contact page on the website http://viaductlifecoaching.co.uk/contact/

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