Why People Suck at Change, and What You Can Do About It

Welcome to Jason Cutter from Coaching to Abundance! In today’s guest post, he’s sharing his steps to tackle procrastination and analysis paralysis so you, too, can tackle your change head on.


In a previous life, I managed sales and telemarketing teams, and if you have ever managed a sales or outbound department, you know to never promise anything. I did make one guarantee, though, to each person hired: change is a constant!

I told them that if they were not comfortable with change and just wanted consistency every day for the rest of their working days, they were in the wrong place.

The one caveat I gave them was that if something did change it wasn’t just “because.” We would not just pick something to change because management got together and said, “Hey, it’s Tuesday. Let’s change some stuff because we are bored!”

Any change that occurred was the result of being a small company that was constantly adapting, learning, and growing.

Our goal was always results, which was a target that changed and “doing what we have always done” would definitely have been a bad strategy.

I share this management philosophy because it also applies to our lives, although not everyone would agree with this statement.

Many strive for stability in their life—a stable job, a stable family, a stable home to live in long term, a stable retirement.

For example, some of the people on the team were totally okay with changes that were made, especially when there was a reason and strategy provided. But there was always several people who would be unhappy no matter what changes, big or small, were discussed.

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While there is fundamentally nothing wrong with wanting life to be stable (especially versus being in survival mode), if you are reading this then most likely you have something burning inside you – a dream, a goal, or a vision for your life. Even if you haven’t identified it completely, you know that stability is not the solution, and that you won’t get it by being ‘stable’ and ‘comfortable’. You know there is more to life than ‘living for the weekend.’

Pushing past stability, however, will require leaving your comfort zone. Change will need to occur. There is no way for it not to. By definition, stability equals an absence of change.

This fact causes a lot of resistance within people when things in their life might change. In fact, a particular management discipline actually focuses on helping employees embrace changes that need to be made. It’s called “change management,” with particular strategies to use in helping enact change.

For us solopreneurs/entrepreneurs/writers/bloggers/speakers/goal setters we should want change and actually look for it because that means we are moving forward (hopefully) on a path to living our BIG WHY. Change is actually a good thing as long as it’s a positive change only, and that’s where the BIG WHY applies—to keep us headed in the right direction.

If change is such a great thing (for example, Apple coming out with a new and improved iphone), why do people fight against it? Our brain wants to keep us “safe,” so it does everything it can to avoid change. Stability is safe, but change is dangerous. When our brain is running on autopilot, this resistance in our life appears in the form of procrastination, and procrastination is bad!

Procrastination and Analysis Paralysis can keep us from living our purpose. How do you deal with implementing positive change in your life and avoiding procrastination?

Here are some basic (but not necessarily easy) steps:

STEP #1: Know Your WHY

The first key when putting change into place is to know why it’s important. If at all possible, you want to tie the change directly to steps needed for achieving your goal, the one that is an important part of your journey to living your purpose.

For me, my WHY is a combination of creating freedom for my family and impacting a million people to take action on their goals.

What is your why? If you are not 100% clear on this, download this free BIG WHY Worksheet

STEP #2: Know Your Procrastination Symptom(s)

Once you have identified how and why the change is part of your BIG WHY, the key is to identify how you will or might procrastinate when you really should be putting that change into effect instead. I call these your procrastination symptoms.

For example, assume you need to get up early to exercise as part of your larger health goal. I am sure you already know how you can avoid doing that. You might stay up too late or snooze when the alarm goes off and run out of time before your day really begins.

You might “forget” (basically procrastinating) to get your workout clothes ready the night before, which prevents you from going in the morning. You must identify the ways you procrastinate when dealing with change and then write them down.

STEP #3: Know Your Procrastination Cause(s)

The next step is to identify why you procrastinate. Usually, it results from a specific set of fears and/or doubts, e.g., fear of failure, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of looking bad, doubt that you are actually smart/good/strong enough.

You need to know whatever limiting fear/doubt is going on at a deeper level that makes you resist change because when you find yourself procrastinating (as per the symptoms list you just made) you can then tie it to the underlying mind-set that is causing your lack of action.

It is also necessary to know this fear/doubt list because whenyou compare this self-limiting, made-up belief (“made-up” because there is really nothing to fear or doubt; you are a perfect, wonderful person who can accomplish anything!) to your BIG WHY, it should pale in comparison. Your purpose must be bigger than what causes your procrastination.

STEP #4: Know That Change Takes Time

Finally, be mindful that you have been resisting change by procrastinating for probably a large part (or all) of your life. Change will take time. Building the mental habit of embracing change and taking action is like creating any other new habit.

It will take focus and weeks to turn it from something you have to think about into a successful, subconscious routine. So be prepared for times when you will revert back to your old, fearful procrastinating ways.

Change is hard, even if you know it’s a good thing. Be sure to cut yourself some slack if you find yourself scrolling through Facebook when you should be taking action that would make an important change in your life. Just keep your Procrastination Symptoms and fear/doubt list handy so that you can shift back to productivity as soon as you can. The key to going from sucking at change and procrastinating your day away to taking action is focusing on your BIG WHY. Then you will see that change + action is necessary to move towards your purpose in life.

If you need clarity on Steps #2 or #3, download the free Procrastination Worksheet I created.


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Jason Cutter: I write and teach people how to overcome their fears and doubts in order to achieve their goals. If you are interested in more ways to create a take action mindset and lifestyle, join my newsletter and get started today – http://coachingtoabundance.com/email/

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