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Why are we afraid of change?

I have been chatting to a lot of people recently about one topic: change.

I am assuming this topic is showing up more and more because people are doing a lot of assessing and reassessing within their lives.

Around this time of year it’s common to begin thinking about where you’re headed for the remainder the year or what you want and need to set out to achieve in the next.

Fall is a time where change is prominent. You can look everywhere right now and see someone in transition. 

People are shifting from summer vacations back to their work routines. People are walking through the doors of a new school. I’ve chatted to people prepping for moves across the country. I’m working with clients who are creating new fitness goals. I’m also working with clients who are beginning to take their first steps towards their fitness goals.  I’ve heard discussions about people looking to expand their business, break into new markets or experiencing a shift in management. Heck, you can look outside to the leaves beginning to change color.  

Everyone has gone through a form of change before, so why do we struggle so much with it?

We struggle with change because we can’t control it. Change carries a sense of uncertainty.

“Uncertainty is an essential part of change. There is a natural process of dis-integration and re-integration that change provokes. Uncertainty should be seen as a natural state. It constitutes the starting point from which people can reorganize their self-structure and find a new view of life.” - Krista Scott Dixon

Change creates discomfort. I’m not aware of anyone who actually enjoys to live in discomfort. (Side note: we often overlook the fact that this discomfort is only temporary). When experiencing change there are moments of struggle and resistance. When I start a new workout plan, diet plan, recipe or even a route to work, I like to remind myself: if it’s easy, it probably isn’t change.

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.

Change is inevitable. We will all age, experience loss and gain. Whether the change is positive or negative, there will be moments of struggle. You have the option to resist the inevitable or to learn something new. This occurs whether you’re taking on a new job or signing up for a new exercise class.

I remember signing up for a new fitness class at a studio I have never been before. It was hard, unfamiliar and at times, uncomfortable. Afterward, I met some great new friends and learned some new exercises and workout structures.

I currently describe 2016 as one of the best but most challenging years to date. Coincidence? Probably not. This year I’ve changed by embracing vulnerability - putting myself out more in my blogs, interviews and social media postings. Even in my personal life, having the hard conversations with loved ones. I’ve purchased a home with my boyfriend and moved to another side of the city. A shift from renting to owning is definitely a change. Most recently, I’ve decided to resign from my personal training position after 5 years at a downtown studio.

A difficult decision because I was dealing with a lot of uncertainty. I had a stable schedule, wonderful clients and got to spend a lot of time with some nice people. But I needed to listen to my gut. How did this happen? By changing something.

Change isn’t an easy process, and with a lot of self-reflection, at this moment in my life, I am ready to dive into uncertainty. It’s a time to reorganize my goals and to step aside from the fear of the displeasing someone or waiting till perfection strikes.

So, if you’ve been putting something off for too long, I challenge you to embrace the change. Stop waiting for the perfect moment to begin that new exercise program, join that gym, have that difficult conversation, ask that person on a date. The perfect moment will never actually arrive. Waiting for the perfect time actually keeps us from moving forward, at all.

Friends, let’s set some new goals. Create an action plan, and go forth.

Cheers to discomfort and uncertainty.

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