Change is Hard … Or is It?

Have you ever tried to change something about your life—whether big or small—and ultimately gave up and said, “I can’t do this – change is hard!” We all have. This, of course, begs the question, “Why is change so difficult?”

The fact is that even though we think change is hard, it really isn’t. It just feels difficult because it is different from what we are accustomed to doing.

We are all creatures of habit. And when we do something out of our comfort zone, it feels funny, awkward, hard, and sometimes even overwhelming. Here’s a simple example you can do right now that illustrates how doing something even slightly different can cause discomfort.

First, fold your arms across your chest. Feels normal, right? You can probably stand or sit in that position for hours. Now, fold your arms in the opposite manner. Does it feel funny? Can you even do it on the first try? Are you uncomfortable? Chances are you feel awkward in this new position simply because you are not accustomed to it.

We all do things because it “feels right,” regardless of how unsatisfactory or unsuccessful it is. Anything new—even a positive new thing—will feel a little funny or awkward at first. You need to practice it a minimum of seven times before the brain makes new neural connections so it “feels right.”

Here’s a challenge that will prove how quickly you can adapt to change if you push through the initial awkward period. Fold your arms in the manner in which you are not accustomed seven times in the next 24 hours. You will see how much more comfortable it then feels.

Tip: The next time you think to yourself that change is hard, remember that it’s only a temporary feeling. When we realize that anything new (and that includes change) feels awkward or funny at first, it becomes less difficult.