Let’s face it: change is not easy.
If you’ve struggled to make a change in your life—in your career, health, relationship, or habits—then you know how hard it can be to make lasting change. Successful change has less to do with willpower and more to do with our subconscious limiting beliefs.
Life in our early years leaves us conditioned with subconscious beliefs that we carry with us into adulthood. That means that unless we have a strong desire to change what we are not happy with, we will function with that same belief system that we developed as young children.
A scared, insecure, unloved child becomes a scared, insecure adult who believes they are not worthy of love.
A child who experienced lots of criticism or was often second-guessed will become an adult with a deep-seated fear of failure.
A child who grew up in a home where they were largely ignored and left to their own devices will feel unimportant as an adult.
The list goes on and on.
The point here is that to change your adult experience, you will have work to do on the limiting beliefs that you carry with you as an adult that are preventing you from having your best life experience.
Why is Change So Difficult?
All too often, people get to the point where they have had enough and declare to themselves that they can no longer tolerate the lacking, the disorganization, the lack of optimal health, the all too many pounds that they have gained, the poor choice of partners, etc.
They want change and they want it as fast as possible.
Many will undertake a plan of action, whatever that may be. Some people join a gym, others go to a nutritionist, a psychotherapist, a life coach, a psychiatrist, they read books on self-improvement or self-help, go to seminars, surround themselves with people they want to emulate, etc.
And all of that is good.
Yet, in spite of good intentions, the majority will fail and default back into habitual behaviors and thoughts.
What is it about change that is so damn hard to commit to and stick to? Why is it that even though people may be unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsatisfied, they still cannot push through the discomfort of change and steer their ship where they want it to go?
Change is HARD
There’s no doubt about it…change is challenging. The thoughts you want to empower to run your life are simply not habits yet. Habits are easy. They require little to no thought. They are automatic. Easy is easier than hard. Your bad habits are easy to stick with. Why struggle when you can just throw in the towel and resort back to the very habits and lifestyle you are not happy with? Who wants to work that hard anyway?
Change Requires Action
Change requires thought, consciousness, and commitment. Yet, if all you needed to do was create the template for change and everything then happened on its own, almost everyone would be successful at implementing change. Unfortunately, the plan has to be implemented against resistance. That would be the resistance to change in your own mind and/or the resistance to you changing by people in your life. Sadly, many of the people in your life will not be supportive of your path to change because it either makes them have to confront what isn’t right in their lives or they simply do not agree with the path you have chosen (whether philosophically or from a place of personal opinion).
Change Could Mean Failure
Finally, what is lurking in the minds of many who undertake the notion of change is, “What if I just can’t do it and I fail? I’ll feel even worse than I do now.” It is quite sad that there are so many millions of people who live with a subconscious fear of failure. For many, to try and then ultimately fail is more shaming than living the unhappy, unfulfilling life they find themselves stuck in. Clearly, if you don’t try, you can’t fail.
Release Your Expectations for Lasting Change
If someone really wants to change their lives, how do they overcome the pain and hardship of implementing change, their own self-resistance, the criticism and lack of support from others, and the internal fear of failure? These are all very real issues that almost everyone going through any kind of transformational work will face. What could possibly make it more likely to succeed in the face of these common reasons why people fail? My opinion, based on my own transformation and that of clients that I coach, is that the only way to push through all of this is to release the results you are looking for.
I know this sounds inherently wrong since it is the ultimate results that serve as the motivation to change.
Unfortunately, we tend to look for “results” too soon in the process. If we haven’t met our own unrealistic measure of success, that frustration serves as our reason to stop trying, leaving us with feelings of failure and frustration.
But what if we completely release the results and stop “looking” for the changes to show up?
What if we decide to see the process as the purpose?
That means once we have created our plan, we start to do the things we have committed to but not for the ultimate results, but just for the fact that we now know we are “doing the right thing.” If you wake up every day and do the right thing(s), the results you are hoping for will begin to reveal themselves at the right time. Reprogramming your subconscious mind is a slow process. It requires consistency over time. There is no time limit to change. For some, change may come quicker than others, but it is never an overnight success. Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
If we approach change with a well-thought-out plan but release the results we so desperately wish to achieve, what do we gain?
First of all, we eliminate the thought that change is hard. Since we are now just doing the right thing and not striving for results, the frustration level dramatically drops. Now our commitment is to do the right thing, not to work hard for results that seem too slow to come.
Second, the resistance to change now takes a back seat to the commitment to do the right thing. When we know we are doing the right thing, other’s opinions are less likely to dissuade us and our own resistance to “change” is diminished by the fact that doing the right thing feels good.
Finally, if you release your expectations and stop looking for results, the fear of failure is defused. Doing the right thing does not demand results. It does not have expectations. It is just the right thing in the moment we are in and that feels good. If we aren’t evaluating our thoughts and actions for results, we are free to be in the moment without the drama of failure.
And here is what is so amazing about this approach. Letting go of expectation and results invites them in. That’s right. It is easier to commit to doing the right thing than it is to “try” to change who you have been up until this point. But doing the right thing delivers the very same results you have let go of. Now, that’s a plan you can trust!
Dr. Robert Kornfeld is a life coach and holistic podiatrist based in NYC and Long Island. He is a Certified Life Coach and Founder of Change Your Story Coaching. Dr. Kornfeld assists people on their journey to make their dream life happen. Sign up for his email list and get all of his timely and informative articles in your inbox. Are you ready to change your story? Change your life? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.