Are the pros of Change harder to face than the cons of not changing?
When I was four years old, my parents got new furniture and I didn’t like it. They said I just didn’t like change. They were right. I like things the way they are, regardless of the possibility that something could be improved. If it’s new it’s unfamiliar and therefore it’s bad, or at least less good than what I already know. I’m not alone in feeling this – that’s why there is an entire field called Change Management. Typically, Change Management refers to “the management of change and development within a business or similar organization.” But I find we need to manage our own individual changes with constant attention, or we risk standing still.
Stages of Change
One of my favorite approaches is Prochaska's Stages of Change*. The first two stages are where we spend most of our time: pre-contemplation and contemplation. In pre-contemplation, we may be in denial we even have a problem that requires change. We are not considering changing our behavior. Once we are aware we need to do something, we’re in the contemplation stage. We may stay here a very long time, as we feel like the cons of changing are greater than the pros, or we may not have the clarity or confidence to take any steps.
Ask for Help
It's okay to ask for help. Sometimes we can’t see the way out of our mental mess. That’s what professionals are for (life coaches, therapists, other practitioners). Friends and family can help to an extent, but it only goes so far, especially if that person is coping with their own issues. We think we can figure it out on our own, or we are embarrassed to ask for help. However, the act of asking is empowering because it is action, and when we’re stuck it’s so difficult to take any action. So the next time you are trying to be strong when facing a transition, ask yourself if you could use a hand. And then ask for it!
*in 1983, researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente identified and developed their Stages of Change as one of three components in their Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change.
"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
– Andy Warhol