When people experience changes in their life, they can be either predictable or unpredictable changes. Yet, both can be emotionally hard to deal with, especially if they are significant life changes. They can force you to transition from your accustomed daily routine to a new one, which can make you anxious.
Sudden changes can make you distraught and highly stressed. Inevitably, you may even struggle to adapt to the change when your situation doesn’t measure up to your expectations of how your life should be.
Major Life Changes Can Make People Struggle
Major life changes can be challenging and disruptive. A chapter in your life may close and another one open. You may experience a raft of emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, and uncertainty, in making difficult adjustments that you feel are unfamiliar or out of your control.
Some changes may be chosen or imposed, sudden or gradual, expected or unexpected, welcome or unwelcome. Examples are developing a serious illness, death of a loved one, marriage, divorce, or separation, financial growth or loss, job loss, retirement, or aging.
Reasons Why We Struggle with Change
There are various reasons why people struggle to adapt to changes in their life, whether these are personal or work-related. Here are just a few:
It’s In Our Nature
We are wired to see change as a potential sign of danger. The advanced-thinking part of our brain makes long-term plans and takes time to act on changes. The subconscious part reacts by providing immediate resistance to change.
If you tell it to do something new, it will see the change as a threat, and you may feel self-doubt, panic, or fear. It’s how our brain works biologically. Keep this in mind the next time you need to break through the resistance and prevent yourself from being stuck in a situation you want to change.
We also want things in our life to flow smoothly. We want things to be constant and reliable. It makes us feel safe. However, if faced with change, we can feel at a loss and threatened by the unfamiliar or unknown. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable and may take a long time to get used to. So, the struggle is real.
Past Traumatic Experiences
Your brain can use your previous unpleasant experiences with change to make you biased against present and future change. Your mind may have acquired a negative or wrong mindset that all changes will have undesirable or harmful consequences.
It can trigger anxiety, fear, and avoidance reactions when there are sudden and unexpected changes. Fear about loss can be deeply rooted, so change creates more pressure rather than thinking it is an opportunity for gain.
Your Beliefs and Fears
Adopting an innovative way of working or living can be challenging if you have inherent beliefs about how to do things. Getting past these powerful beliefs can make life changes even more challenging.
A change also involves some degree of risk. Even if you plan to change for the better, it may accompany some discomfort and drawbacks. You might remain in a situation where you are miserable because you cannot overcome the fear of failure, mostly because you have possibly failed before. Therefore, you cannot accept that change could also bring you personal growth and success.
No Concrete Action Plan or Support
Pursuing a goal to change is unlikely to materialize successfully or improve your future if you don’t have an action plan. Initiating changes without knowing what you want and why you want to change will make you struggle in finishing what you are doing. Without a definite goal and plan, you will not be motivated enough to want to push through when hard times and obstacles come your way.
You may also need support and guidance during inevitable changes. Some people struggle needlessly because they are not aware they need help, or they are ashamed to ask for help, or the assistance they first sought is ineffective.
In the case of a personal change, you may find it hard to continue if you lack social support from your family and friends. We are social beings that need empathy from others. So if you need it, get it!
Lack of Trust or Confidence
Progress at work takes a toll if those leading the change or pushing for it are unpopular, or have leadership issues with their peers. If there are also corrective consequences attached to the changes, people will lack trust and confidence in their ability and reliability. Fearing that they might be blamed or lose face if a project fails, it will be difficult to motivate them to take risks and get involved in making changes.
When you are confronted with the need to change, look at it being for the better. Life gets better by implementing necessary changes. Don’t expect to achieve a successful change if you don’t embrace it. Work on changing your mindset positively towards a more hopeful future!