Why is it difficult to adapt to change?
Change is often tough, isn’t it? Especially when the change is negative. Like from riches-to-rags. You may assume that only negative change is it impossible to surpass. Still, rags-to-riches changes can be tough too. Any change needs adjustment. Adjustments require effort. Hence, sometimes change is a daunting task. It’s not strange to see somebody in a new status still doing things that he did before he got into the new place though those things are now considered unnecessary. When you do something for so long, it becomes part and parcel of you. Changing that established habit becomes a dire challenge, but it is not impossible.
In certain situations, there is no other alternative apart from choosing to change. Like in the unfortunate event that you lose a loved one, fall ill, or other unavoidable circumstances. Or in the fortunate event that you experience a major improvement or success in your life say marriage, birth or a job promotion. In all these situations, failing to adapt to change can harm you mentally.
Human beings are driven by change, so refusing to change brings duress. But changing is not as easy as saying “I’ve changed” or “I will change.” Even being told to change is not enough to make you adapt to change. It is an inside job- a decision made by an individual. It takes a lot of hard work to change. A major change needs a complete shift in your mentality. This involves changing your behavior, attitudes, beliefs, habits, perception, thoughts and inclinations.
What can help you to adapt and adopt changes in your life?
Change is a process, and like other processes, it occurs in stages. Recognizing these stages is beneficial to anyone who is facing the challenge to change.
Stages of Change
- Recognize the need for change. When situations crop up that require changes to occur, it’s your recognition of the need for change that will motivate you to do so. For instance, when you marry no one needs to tell you to stop acting single, you need to recognize that before you take that step.
- Think about changing. After your awareness about the need for change, you start to contemplate the idea of changing. This is a tough stage because you recognize the challenge of adapting to change. It requires strong reasoning so that you weigh which changes are necessary and which cannot. At this stage, you decide specific changes that you need to make and what changes in your life you need to adapt to. Changing could become a life or death matter. Often people commit suicide because they were unable to change their thought patterns.
- Plan for change. When you are done contemplating about changes, plan how to embrace the change. How will you do it? What should you discard and what should you keep? What can help you to embrace the required changes?
- Put your plan into action. You can recognize the need for change, think about it and plan for change, but if you don’t practice what you have planned the effort will be useless. So, follow the plan for change as required. Let’s say you are sent to work in another town and you need to move because of the distance. You recognize that you need to move because traveling the distance will be costly and tiresome. Then you think about how changing will be beneficial, the challenges of looking for a house, and living in a new environment. Next, you plan how to look for a house and how to move before actually packing your stuff and moving.
- Continue with the new actions. The last stage of changing is embracing the change itself. It is often tough in the beginning but with time you get used to it as long as you don’t sit and wallow in sadness by comparing your previous state and current state. You can make small adjustments until you are able to achieve the desired change. The best way to adapt to change is to live in the present moment. After you adapt to change the ultimate step is to adopt the change into your daily life. Embrace it and maintain the activities which the new situation requires of you.
Are you struggling to find out why you set achievable goals and yet you can’t seem to reach them? Are you in the pursuit of happiness and peace of mind?
Pause. Think about the behavior, attitudes, beliefs, habits, perception, thoughts and inclinations that you need to change in order to achieve your goals. Do not let your own ability to adapt to change block you from pursuing your goals or moving on from tough situations.
Learn from the butterfly
Before it reaches optimum maturity, the butterfly goes through a lot of changes, and it adapts accordingly since it is necessary for its survival. It stops leading the life of a crawling creature and begins to live the life of a flying creature. During the transformation, it takes time, even needing to close itself up and isolate itself in preparation for change as an individual. We can learn from the butterfly. Sometimes life necessitates change. And we need to accept it as much as it proves difficult. In the long run, you become a happy butterfly.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.
Check out the quote about change below. It has been quoted and narrated by many people but it has not lost its value as yet. It’s often used by addiction centers as a motivation for change to individuals who have realized that they need to break their bad habits. If it makes sense for you, consider it a reminder.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.