“To gear up to make a change requires tremendous effort. After all, we are fighting against how our choices and experiences have wired our brains for so long.”
It’s uncomfortable to change – sometimes even painful – and it takes effort.
Part of this has to do with how our brain constantly uses familiar pathways to continue with the status quo. It has been thought by some that lack of discipline or lack of knowledge may have been a few of the reasons that people find it so difficult to make lasting changes in their lives. We now know, though, that this isn’t quite the case.
We tend to get comfortable in our behavioral patterns, whatever they are, and whatever experiences or decisions caused us to adopt them. As humans, we tend to do everything we can to avoid discomfort. To initiate change, we are often compelled by unavoidable circumstances that demand it (i.e. you got laid off and have to find a new job) or by painful circumstances (i.e. we are more miserable in our current job than any discomfort we might experience in finding another one).
We are motivated either by pain or by reward and both of these have to be significant enough to compel us to put forth the effort into changing.
To gear up to make a change requires tremendous effort.
After all, we are fighting against how our choices and experiences have wired our brains for so long. It feels unnatural and even scary at first, and there often is no guaranteed outcome of reward. Change is contrary to everything that makes our body and mind feel settled. When we finally do decide to make a change, often after long periods of time spent thinking and evaluating and battling our emotions, we find ourselves easily discouraged if change doesn’t happen as fast or with as much permanence as we had hoped.
When change is planned and self-initiated, we have time to prepare, plan ahead, and then either proceed or hold off. When change is unexpected, there is often a layer of shock, followed by the reality that sinks in later. In both situations, though, our brain tends to respond in similar ways.