11 reasons why you keep avoiding change

Mental Health

by David Blackburn

Jan 14, 2017

With a New Year upon us and the holidays behind us, it is often an excellent time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. For many of us, the month of January signals a time to make resolutions or goals for the coming year. The New Year may trigger joy for having an opportunity to start over or it may suggest dread in repeating some of the same patterns as the year before.

Change, of course, is inevitable, though not entirely pain-free. For some, change is exciting, and for others, change is very troubling to face. But why do some people go out of their way to avoid change?

Here are the top eleven reasons why you could be avoiding change and not taking that step in a new direction. 

  1. Fear of the unknown. Not knowing what to expect in the future. 
  2. Getting out of the comfort zone. Being in new surroundings with new people, along with knowing how to respond and how to behave is seen as challenging.
  3. Stubbornness. The idea that ‘I don’t need to change’. Denying a problem exists. Blaming everyone else and thinking they need to change, not me.
  4. Not knowing how to change. Thinking ‘I must do it the opposite way.’ Perfectionism comes through, and the belief that if I can’t do it perfectly, I will not attempt it.
  5. Fear of failure/fear of success. If I make changes, what if I fail? That would be awful — I couldn’t stand to be myself. If I change and succeed then I will have to be more responsible. People will expect more from me — what if I can’t deliver?
  6. Not wanting to be the only one who changes. External focus. Fear of being alone, the only one experiencing new change.
  7. A real benefit for not changing. For example, if I have a temper, then I can use that temper to control situations; to keep people distant from me — to prevent intimacy and ward off rejection if they get too close. If I remain depressed, then people will not expect much from me; I can control situations out of depressed mode.
  8. Not willing to face the consequences. It may be too painful.
  9. Pessimism or skepticism about change. It won’t work, so why try it. I have done that before and I wasn’t successful.
  10. A sense of fatalism or paralysis of will. This is me and I will not be able to change. All hope is lost; I will be this way forever. As an individual thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7).
  11. Change will interfere. The idea that change will disrupt life-long belief system, future plans, family relationship patterns, social roles, self-concept, emotional equilibrium, or daily life patterns.

As life has taught us, change is inevitable. However, with change comes new opportunities for renewal and an enhanced vigor for life. 

This new year, make healthy resolutions that will lead to healthy changes.

About the Author

David Blackburn, PhD, specializes in Adult Mental Health, Cognitive Behavior Psychotherapy, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Baylor Scott & White Mental Health Clinic – Temple. The clinic provides an array of care for your family from individual therapy to couples, family or group therapy. Get to know Dr. Blackburn today.

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