How to Overcome Resistance to Change

16 February, 2021
Coping with change can be difficult, especially if it happens suddenly. So, it's important to learn how to overcome resistance to change.

When life presents you with new scenarios, you may ask yourself how to overcome resistance to change. Fortunately, there are certain keys to achieving it. A pre-Socratic philosopher named Heraclitus once said: “No one bathes twice in the same river.” What was he trying to tell us with that enigmatic phrase?

The meaning of the phrase we just mentioned is that life is constantly changing. Nothing ever stays the same and we have to face that. It’s impossible to escape change in our lives. 

However, not all of us have the tools at hand to overcome resistance to change. Normally, we notice this resistance when a change threatens our regular routine.

How to overcome resistance to change

In this article, we want to share with you some keys so that you can make use of your own resources and face changes in your life in positive ways. However, you have to keep in mind there are different kinds of changes we might face. For example, we expect some to come, whereas others occur drastically and unexpectedly. 

Some changes, especially when they bring uncertainty, can also scare us. Other changes could bring joy or pain. In any case, the only thing we’re sure of is that the current way we’re living is bound to change often. Also, we won’t be able to predict when a lot of the changes will occur.

Read more: Your Brain Changes with Motherhood

A woman worrying.

Why is it difficult for us to accept change?

Some publications point out that there’s a type of fear that’s normal and that allows people to be cautious. However, there’s another type of fear that can be paralyzing and that can act as a type of brake that may stop our personal growth.

However, certain research emphasizes that fear of change is related to our belief system. This could be a positive thing since, by changing our thoughts, we can also overcome that fear. 

When changes occur in any areas of our life, they introduce us to a new scenario where there are no certainties and over which we have no control. Because of that, we tend to panic.

For example, a good number of studies have concluded that, when changes occur in the workplace, they tend to cause anxiety. This is especially true because people feel attached to what they know and the unknown can terrify them. 

However, it’s important to know that we can damage our emotional well-being by not managing our emotions and thoughts properly. For that reason, we’ve decided to share a series of suggestions with you so that you can apply them to your life and they can help you overcome resistance to change.

Keep reading: Mood Changes during Adolescence: The Causes and How to Deal with Them

Tips for dealing with resistance to change

  • Realize you can’t stop change. This is the first fact that you have to accept. Forget trying to stop change from happening because you’ll never win that battle; things change in life and we can’t stop that.
  • Think of the benefits. You may have more to gain and less to lose. However, it’s possible you haven’t realized that because you haven’t looked at the situation objectively.
  • Look to the future. Whatever you’re going through right now, positive or not, is also going to change. Your current situation is also temporary and it’ll soon be different.
A relaxed woman.

  • Keep learning. Changes bring learning opportunities and it’s time for you to internalize this: “No matter how difficult the circumstances are, there’s always something new to learn.”
  • Identify your fears. And compare them to reality. The changes you’re facing are likely not as scary as you’re imagining.
  • Seek support. If you feel like you need company, look for support from friends and family.
  • Take a walk. Try clearing your mind. With a calm mind, you’ll be able to think things through more clearly and make better decisions.
  • Look at your belief system. It’s possible that you have a very rigid way of looking at the world and you just need to modify some of your thoughts and be more flexible.
  • Don’t be afraid to break routine. When we leave routines behind, we also learn new things. We can look at things from another perspective, which will help us evolve as people.

Follow these guidelines so that you can feel better and worry less. Look at how other people around you have had to face change, how they managed their situations to overcome resistance to change, and how they’ve adapted to their new reality.

  • Béjar, H. (1991). La sociología de Norbert Elias: Las cadenas del miedo. Reis. https://doi.org/10.2307/40199494
  • Canals, C. (2016). Automatización : el miedo del trabajador. Informe Mensual – La Caixa.
  • Lopez Bravo, M. D. (2012). Repaso a nuestros miedos. Crítica.
  • Yankovic, B. (2011). Emociones, sentimientos, afecto. El desarrollo emocional. Psicología, Conocimiento y Sociedad.