Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Deal with Resistance to Change

We need to understand how to deal with resistance to change. Why? Because many times we do not change, even though we may deep down wish to. We do not achieve those things we wish to achieve because we refuse to let go of our old ways. It's easier to stay where we are than to take those first few steps which will set us on a new course. And so we stay stuck.

Most times it is completely a problem of attitude or thinking, of refusing to take ownership of a new way. Yes, we may need to learn something new or have someone help us to develop a strategy so we know how to move forward but those things can be done. To use those as excuses is really not the point. The fact of the matter is, a change of attitude and thinking is of paramount importance.

Most times “I can't do it” is really not accurate. It is “I refuse to do it”. And until you deal with that attitude of refusal and develop a  “whatever it takes, I will do it” attitude, nothing will change ... in your life, your company or your organization.We are creatures of the comfortable. Even that which is painful can become comfortable, even though it hurts.

If you are challenged in this area, consider these steps.

  1. Get assistance. Use a coach. Someone who understands what it is you are trying to achieve and can assist as you begin to initiate this new path.

  2. Develop a strategy. Be very clear about what is holding you back and what can move you forward and develop a strategy to address both.

  3. Start. Don't make any excuses that you 'have to have this' or 'this has to be done first' or whatever. If you can't start absolutely, completely, start some portion of it.

  4. Be held accountable. Give your coach permission to hold you accountable. Have others around you hold you accountable.

  5. Provide consequences for going back and rewards for going forward so it becomes more painful to go back on your word and more pleasant to follow through.

  6. Persevere until you break through. Go until the new path becomes the accepted and habitual path.

  7. Always address resistance thinking. Be very aware of when you are resisting and think about the process that caused you to think that way. Capture the thoughts and discard those which hold you back. Replace them with new thinking that moves your forward.

  8. Think of yourself as an implementer, completer, a winner versus a loser or a failure. Change your thinking about yourself and repeat it frequently to counteract all the old negative messages that are probably playing and running through your mind over and over again.

If you want to win the battle of how to deal with resistance to change within yourself, start with these few steps.

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