2023-03-22 Why Is Change (Both Work And Personal) So Hard?

It’s kind of ironic, then, that change can be so hard for organizations — but it’s not at all surprising, because change in organizations needs to come from changes in people, and that’s challenging.

Psychology Today wrote an article about why change is so hard back in 2009 and it’s still near the top of Google results for the topic. They break it down into four essential areas:

  • You carry both good and bad elements of your childhood into your adulthood. The “bad” elements are commonly called “baggage” or something similar. This can make it confusing to be an adult, because oftentimes you’re still operating according to principles of your childhood.
  • Habits. Habits are everything — they’re pretty much far and away the majority of your thoughts and actions. Leaders often don’t realize that a sizable chunk of their job is managing the negative emotions associated with these habits, and most people don’t realize in their day-to-day life how hard changing habits can be. There are strategies for changing habits, but completely reversing something your brain inherently believes isn’t easy.
  • Fears. Predominantly this is about a fear of incompetence or failure, which often prevents us from pursuing new ideas or opportunities (thus, it prevents us from a form of change).
  • We create our own environments. You structure your world in a way to give you comfort and ease, for the most part — no one is really out there designing a life for themselves that’s purposely hard. (Oftentimes life becomes hard, yes, but that’s not necessarily always a direct result of what we’re doing.)
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