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Home How To Overcome Resistance To Change in Yourself (and Others) | by Cindy Shaw

How To Overcome Resistance To Change in Yourself (and Others) | by Cindy Shaw

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Our brains find it easier for us to keep doing things the same way. Here’s what to do when you need to get your brain on board with change.

One arrow points in a different direction to the many arrows around it.
Image credit: welcomeinside.

We move through micro-resistance episodes all the time

You probably recognize this type of tension (resistance) on many occasions when you were faced with change. You have likely developed a method to push through this resistance in order to adapt to change as needed. Often the change benefit is obvious, and you use that to push through it.

There are some practical ways out of this predicament.

1. Recognize that it is completely normal to experience resistance

It is in fact your biology working well to protect you.

2. Gather the right information to help you understand why you need to do this in the first place

To understand the benefits and give you something to positively focus on in the moments of discomfort. (Hint: “because they said it would be better” is not enough!)

3. You need to act

There are two effective ways to get yourself to take action.

4. Recognition of the small successes is key

That’s what creates the chemistry to keep going (creating a dopamine hit that overrides the stress chemical norepinephrine, that stops you from doing it).

“Mood follows action.” — Rich Roll

The process you would follow as a leader/influencer would be adjusted to:

  1. Help them move through their resistance. Provide good information on why the change is needed and what the benefits will be so they can convince themselves and stay with the process. Better yet, involve them in the process.
  2. Recognize when individuals are not moving past their resistance. Check in to see if you can help them to move through the process. Respect that they might have external influences at play. (There will be times when you will encounter active resistors who get entrenched and try to sabotage change efforts. It is critical to have a plan on how you will deal with this and do so in a timely manner.)
  3. Create opportunities for small wins. Actively acknowledge positive change behavior as you see it in your team and celebrate the wins with your team along the way.

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