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­­­How to Overcome Resistance to Change

photo: Robert Couse-Baker on flickr

photo: Robert Couse-Baker on flickr

Change is the one thing that never changes.

Don’t you find that annoying?

Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re one of those nifty people that actually embraces the fact that everything is always changing all the time.

It’s not that I never embrace change. If something sucks, I’m more than willing to let it go.

Or am I?!  

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photo: melissa phillippe

The other day, I was face-deep in foliage, attending to some much-needed yard maintenance.

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow I totally forgot/ignored/was too lazy to admit the bushes in our back patio needed trimming.

A few years ago, I bought a totally awesome hedge trimmer that, aside from getting me stopped by the cops, made a huge difference in my willingness to do yard work.

Until about six months ago, at which point our lives got super busy and I forgot/ignored/was too lazy to attend to the back patio.

And here’s the thing: When you don’t attend to plants, they grow. Like, a lot. Like, they get so big the hedge trimmer can’t cut them.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

I used to have a saw, but I lost it a while back. So all I had was these:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

They’re not nearly tough enough to cut the big old branches I was dealing with. Well, they are, but you have to do this twisty maneuver thing that’s really hard to do and makes you scrunch up your face in agony and it’s super hard on your arms that were never very strong to begin with.

Needless to say, I was having loads of fun.

At one point, Melissa stuck her head out the back door and asked me how it was going. I explained my predicament, to which she said:

“Just go buy a new saw.”

What? Stop what I was doing? Stop my totally exhausting technique that, while ineffective, did eventually enable me to cut the branches?

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

I was on a roll. I had momentum. I had put off doing this yard work for months and here I was, finally doing it. She wanted me to break that momentum?!

She wanted me to change?!

I ignored her thanked her for helpful advice and went back to what I was doing.

Only now I couldn’t help but admit how crazy it was. Why didn’t I just go buy a saw?

Because . . .  Well, I didn’t have a good reason. I just didn’t feel like it. I didn’t want to.

So I kept at my totally ineffective and exhausting awesome technique for a few more minutes.

Then I took a breath. And I admitted that, even though it felt really hard – like really hard – I needed to let go of what I was doing and listen to Melissa’s suggestion.

As I was driving to the hardware store, I felt slightly dizzy. Was it because I had been straining and sweating at my totally ineffective and exhausting awesome technique? Or was it because I was disoriented from making a change?

I’m not sure. 

All I know is I bought a nifty little hand saw. Which did a much better job of cutting the bushes.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

When it was all over, I thought about what it took to change.

Actually, nerd that I am, I broke down the components and numbered them.

Check it out:

My little yard work adventure reminded me that, in order to change, there are several different factors that can influence us to change.

1. Admitting that we want to change.

I didn’t want to change at first. I wanted to hold onto my unbearably ineffective and exhausting awesome technique for as long as I could. Until Melissa intervened. Which brings me to . . .

2. Listening to the wisdom of others.

Maybe it’s a friend. Or a book. Or a line spoken by a character in a movie. Sometimes we need an outside voice to help spark a willingness to change.

(Melissa will love that I cited her wisdom as the change agent. She loves being right. And she especially loves when I tell her she’s right. So, here you go, baby! You were right!)

3. Be aware of resistance.

In my case, once Melissa suggested the change, I noticed the voices in my head. The ones that told me I needed to keep up with my crazily ineffective and exhausting awesome technique. I didn’t make a change at first. I just listened. And . . .

4. Watch your world without the change.

As part of my observation, I watched the content of my experience. I was straining and stressing. The yard work was taking much longer than expected. And it would continue to take much longer than expected if I continued my freakishly ineffective and exhausting awesome technique.

Which leads us to the final – and arguably most important – component of change:

5. Just do it.

Yes, it’s been thoroughly commercialized by a shoe company, but Nike is onto something here. That’s why, years after the initial ad campaign, we are still uttering these 3 key words.

They make all the difference.

When change is needed, it comes to the place where words don’t help. Rationalizations don’t help. Even great advice doesn’t help.

What’s needed is action.

photo: Eric Chan on flickr

photo: Eric Chan on flickr

So here’s my question for you:

Where in your life are you resisting a needed change?

You know what it is. It’s the first thing that popped into your mind.

Are you willing to admit you want to change?

Are you willing to listen to the wisdom of others? (Including me. Just sayin’.)

Are you willing to be aware of your resistance?

Are you willing to watch what your world is like without the change?

And are you willing, in the end, to just do it?

If your answer to any and all of these questions is yes, congratulations! You’re on your way to a changed future!

If your answer to any or all of these questions is no, congratulations! It means it’s not time yet. And pushing yourself when you’re not ready isn’t necessary.

Though you will be ready, eventually.

You just have to ask for the willingness to be willing.

And then ask the Divine to help you do that.

So wherever you are on the yes/no spectrum – know that change is possible.

Whatever foliage in your life has gotten totally overgrown and out of control, you can cut it back.

You can listen to Melissa and get a metaphorical saw to fix things.

Because if there’s one thing we’ve all learned here, it’s this:

Melissa is always right.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

How do you handle resistance to change? Share your comments below!

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2 Responses to ­­­How to Overcome Resistance to Change

  1. River June 9, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    Hi Z,
    Yep resistance is futile! (Said in Borg voice) However, I seem to resist my good so often. I resist looking for a better job. I resist accepting that my partner is totally in love with me. I resist that God cares about me. But when I just surrender, man, my good just flows to me like…. wait for it… like a River! Just want to skip the resistance part and go straight for the surrender deally. Any suggestions, dear Z?
    Love,
    River
    PS When are you and Meli gonna be up this way again? I’m thinkin’ I need a Z/M infusion! Hugs for you both!
    PPS. New Mantra – Mel is always right. Mel is always right. Mel is always right!

    • Z Egloff June 10, 2015 at 10:53 am #

      Hi River,

      Great to hear from you! (Love the name, BTW. You already know my thoughts about changing it officially!)

      Love the thoughts about surrender. And love the connection to your name. How perfect is that?!

      As for suggestions about surrender, the best way for me to stay in that place is regular spiritual practice. That way, I have a preset time when I can remember Who/What is really in charge. In case I, you know, happen to forget. Which I do regularly.

      Also, in my prayer practice, I pray to the Divine using the term You. This doesn’t work for everyone. But it’s very devotional/Rumi-esque, and for me it’s a way to surrender and allow the Divine – which is me, even when I say You – to flow in my life.

      As for plans to come up North, we don’t have any right now. But I know that will change. In time! :)

      Happy Flowing!

      XOZ

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