How to Fight the Resistance to Change

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Making changes is difficult. Many people are very change-resistant while others go with the flow. Every human is different this is true. Some struggle with just one thing in their life-changing while other’s lives look like absolute chaos and they seem to thrive in it.

Change is the only constant we have in our life, well except for death and taxes. We change from a baby to a toddler, to a tween, to a teenager, to an adult, to an old man. Even the time we die changes. Use to be that the average age of death was in the forties and now we are early 80’s. Our Houses use to be caves. Now the smallest house on your block is huge compared to the grass huts our ancestors use to build. 20 years ago we were spending 6 hours downloading a song. Now we listen to it on the fly. Cars don’t look like Henry Ford’s Model A. Cars don’t even run on the same fuels as they did. Everything in our life is changing, Yet as a whole, we resist change. Why?

Why is change so difficult?

There are so many reasons why we resist change but many of them can be boiled down to a few similarities. We pretty much have one of these reasons. How do you tell you are resisting change? That is actually easy.

Pay attention to how you react. Listen to the words you are saying and thinking. If your first words out of your mouth are Oh Hell no! Do you know why? What are you feeling when you are witnessing change? That will tell a lot about if you are resisting change.

An example of a group resistant to change is in the Trucking industry. More specifically, the automation of the trucking industry. One of the biggest disrupters coming to the world is the Self-driving truck. These will probably be coming out in another 10 years but the Trucking Unions like the Teamsters want to hold this change back. 

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Why? That is because it will put so many truck drivers out of work. This is for obvious reasons they get a huge chunk of their money from the truck drivers they represent. If those drivers aren’t needed anymore then guess who isn’t getting any money? Yep, those union bosses. This group is resisting changes. It would help lower the cost of goods yet you can be guaranteed that there will be many significant hurdles to get these robots onto the highways. 

The teamsters are looking at this change through many of the following lenses. The Fear of the unknown. They can’t see the future so they are guessing. They will lose power. Many of the truck drivers they represent are going to be very uncomfortable as they either shift to the change or they resist the change. The Teamsters are looking to the past as to how they have always done it and that isn’t going to serve them either. 

Finally, they don’t see what’s in it for them. They lose their role in society and they could be teachers and coaches that help these truck drives adjust to that change but they don’t see it benefiting them.

What’s in it for them?

The number one radio station people tune in to is WIIFM or What’s In It For Me. If there isn’t an incentive for a person to change their view on a shift in their life. Would you be more willing to lose weight if you were told you would receive $10,000? Many people would, especially if they only had to ditch something like 10 pounds. 

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Would you train for a marathon? Most people wouldn’t why because they don’t see a reason in it. While every person who does run a marathon has their very own why and it serves them.

Would you hire a coach for $2,500 if you knew it could bring you $250,000? Many people would yet many people don’t. Why? They don’t see that money as an investment they see it as a cost so they don’t really see how it would benefit them. They tell themselves reasons why coaching won’t work. Yet every single successful person has a coach in their lives. 

The Unknown

Another reason people don’t like change is that they don’t know what is going to happen. They could be homeless or lose what little money they have. What is behind door number 2? It could be a new car or a moldy bagel. You won’t know until that door is open. 

That unknown is what has caused many a death in history. There were worse fought because people wanted change. Wars were fought because people didn’t want change. The fear that is in you is that fear of the unknown. The less you know about the change the scarier and more violent your reaction becomes. 

They Don’t Trust themselves

People are not trusting at all. Especially when it comes to themselves. Men will trust anybody else but when it comes to doing something themselves they will often falter. Why? Because they don’t trust themselves. 

Because we lack the trust needed in ourselves we don’t see that we are actually up for the challenge at hand. Yeah, any change is a challenge. There is work and times that we are uncomfortable. 

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Doing those uncomfortable things also allows us to build up the needed skills for the future. Yet again we don’t see that as a win. So we run from it. Are you going to fail when attempting to change something? Very possible but you grow from that

Loss of Power

How many times have you gone to Walmart only to find that they have moved everything. Pisses you off, doesn’t it? Well, it does me. Why does that irritate us? Because we had the power of knowing where everything was and we could just run to the different aisle and grab what we needed and leave. We had the power to control how long we spent in the store. 

When Walmart makes that type of change suddenly we have to wander around the store and look for where they have hidden the Velveta cheese for your queso dip. The change took your power and that is irksome.

It is scary

With the unknown, we have fear. That fear is the great destroyer of hopes and dreams. Since there is no guarantee if what you are doing is going to work. We are not sure of ourselves or skills or anything around us. That can be a scary place to be.

Yet if you focus on what you are afraid of you will see that it isn’t as bad as you thought.

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The Feeling of Overwhelm

When you are off-balanced because of an unexpected change you are often lead to a huge feeling of overwhelm. This is more of a case of being uncomfortable than out of fear, but either way people normally don’t seek out these experiences. So to face something that is unpleasant isn’t a fun act. 

So many people actually avoid these and they avoid the sensation of overwhelm by simply not doing that task. They will procrastinate and put the task off till the pain of not doing it is more painful than taking the time to actually get the task over with. 

It is Uncomfortable

Like the overwhelm change is uncomfortable. No matter what it is that you are doing. There is the discomfort of first doing something you have never done. 

There is the fear of being uncomfortable. We want life to be easy. The task of getting out of the cave and bringing food back can be perceived as dangerous. To do the work of improving yourself is messy. There is the fear and discomfort of looking like a fool in front of those people who we admire. 

So with discomfort we avoid the steps needed to accept that we are changing. We don’t want to improve ourselves because what if it doesn’t work?

Looking to the past

So many people proceed through life by looking in the rear view mirror. This little sliver of mirror is all they use to make life altering decisions. With that being the case no wonder people avoid change. They have never done that before.

The thought of trying something new conjures all the emotions of fear and discomfort because again we are looking to the past. We aren’t looking at what is possible at all, we are looking at what we haven’t done. Yeah we may find something that is similar but that doesn’t serve us because there is still the unknown. This forms the avoidance of discomfort and the fear of failure or humiliation. 

Over commitment

Another reason we avoid doing the tasks we need to do. Is the fact that we may have over commited to something we don’t want to do, or it may be more commitment than we absolutely want to do. 

That is always something that is possible but rarely ever the real case. Is there a chance we over commit? Sure but then again this is where we need to assess why you agreed with doing this project in the first place. 

Often we get ourselves into trouble because we don’t want to disappoint or upset someone. This is the very reason why I say nice guys are liars. They commit to stuff they will not do. They will come up with every reason in the world to not do the task they signed up for because they have over committed their time. 

How to get past the fear of change

Getting past the procrastination and the I don’t wanna’s can be a challenge. There are times that it is best to just power through it. Accept that you over committed and that you are now having to sleep in the bed you made. 

While other times you have to be a bit strategic to get yourself into a place where you can accept change and get the needed tasks done. 

It is OK to not Know

When change is happening, maybe your business model is having to shift you will need to be ok with not knowing. Yeah we want to try to control all that we can. Sadly that isn’t the case and when we try to control every little aspect we cause ourselves more suffering. 

There are only two things that you can actually control. Those are your thoughts and actions. You can’t control the markets or elements of society. So you will have to address those problems as they come up. The point is you don’t know exactly what is coming around the corner. You may have a politician who doesn’t want people to compete with his good buddy’s business and so he fashions a bill that would limit what you can do. What then? You don’t know be ok with that. Cross that bridge when you get there. Sitting in a corner being too afraid to act is the worst thing you can do. 

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You can look at it as an adventure

Men love adventure. We actually need adventure in our lives to keep us young at heart. So, why not look at new and unexpected things as an adventure. 

As many things in life there is no certainty we may die walking to our bathroom. 

Everything can be an adventure if you choose it to be. Adventures are at times hard and challenging and in the end we have an amazing story to share with others. How you look at the events in your life is dependent on you. You have to choose to see something new as a drag on your life or they could be the rapids that lead to the lost city of gold.

Visualize what you want out of this change

When faced with change sadly we often see nothing but the work. We don’t ever give much thought to what we want this thought to be other than it not be in our lives. Many times change is gonna happen at the worst possible time. Yet when is there a good time for a divorce or that you are out of money? 

When you are faced with impending change it is good to sit down and decide how you want to try to navigate this new adventure. What do you want for yourself? What do you want to learn? What will all that look like?

Get granular with this visualization. Describe it to yourself and others. How will you feel? What will it look like? How will you look? How will others look at you for making it through that difficult time? Get all the senses involved. So think of how that success will look, smell, taste, and feel? See it clearly in your head. It may not be exact but if you envision it you will be closer to achieving the end goal. This is much like being in a boat. You can just drift and you may arrive at some place nice but more than likely you won’t. 

Embrace the discomfort

As you read earlier changes and the effort of navigating through those changes that are happening to you, offer you the opportunity of experiencing a good deal of discomfort. 

Discomfort is good, this is where you grow. This is where you develop the skills needed to navigate through life. Remember how it was when you first moved out on your own. You didn’t have enough money to eat more than ramen noodles let alone afford the pleasure of cable. Yet once you started actually buckling down and you could afford cable you had the immense sense of accomplishment. 

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Discomfort is all around you. You often avoid it and then wonder why you are not as happy as you would like to be. That is because that discomfort is part of your adventure and without that experience you don’t have the pleasure that comes with it. 

Seek Guidance

There are people who have gone down that road before you. These are the wise men in your hero’s journey. Your Obi wan Kenobi, so to speak, or Gandalf if you are a hobbit fan.  Having someone around who can help you talk out the different possibilities can help you first accept the change that is happening in your life and also help you to devise a plan of execution so you are able to achieve success. 

Having this type of help can be invaluable. You can find a close friend you can be open to. A mentor can help too. You want someone you can trust but also willing to call you out on your excuses as to why you aren’t taking the actions you said you were going to take. 

Trust in yourself

Going on any adventure is scare because of all the examples we mention earlier. Yet to get through any of these barriers, hang ups, or pitfalls there is one person you really have to trust above all else and that person is you. 

Many times the reason we fail is because of a lack of integrity. Now when you hear that we often think of what others see in us, but that broken integrity applies to ourselves too. 

If you don’t think you can do something you are going to prove yourself right 90% of the time. That other 10% is when we blow our own minds at what can really be done. 

If you have faith in what you are able to do and you have proven it time and time again you most likely will approach the task with some confidence that you will succeed. If you keep it up your wife and family members will also have more faith in your endeavors too. 

So if you have struggled and quit on many occasions then start small and work your way up. Don’t give up till you have achieved what it is you are after. You may have to take small steps but that is how you eat an elephant one bite at a time. 


This is next thing is one of the most important formulas tolive your whole life by. That is events+response=outcome. How are you responding to any event in your life? Are you completely soaking out or are you accessing the situation before acting? Many of us instantly turn to the victim mindset. “Oh how can this be happening to me?”, or”Why does this happen every time?” Or are you saying, “well that’s interesting.” Or,  “Let’s find out if this works” 

Do you see a difference? The differences are one you are retaining your power and agency and the other you are giving your power away to often inanimate objects. 

Your outcome to an event depends a great deal on how you respond to that situation. If you go into a scarcity mindset or a victim’s way of thinking you are not going to get much done. If you want to succeed you have to own your dirt and take full credit for how it turns out. This is the only way you will grow. Playing small gives you small results. 

Find a coach

One way you can accelerate your journey is to hire a coach. They have a vested interest in seeing you succeed. There ar coaches for every possible scenario you can think of, from starting a business to leveling up that business to selling that business. 

Coaches are used by every successful person. They may have a whole group of coaches they are a part of or they may have a 1 on 1 coach. Either way coaches help you see the whole picture. They don’t coddle you nor do they let you feel sorry for yourself. They help you see what’s already I. Your mind and give you the needed mindset shift to get the job done. Coaches won’t let you dilly dally. If you want one on one coaching you can sign up to have a free consultation 

Join a Men’s Group

When you have a band of brothers these men can help point out problems you may have not thought of. You can often find guidance in your church, a mentor or a coach.But a men’s group has something special about it. Often it is the culture and the fact that you are around other masculine men that compel you to want to succeed. 

photograph of men having conversation seating on chair
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Jim Rhon famously said you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. That means of you spend your time with people who just talk about being great with out doing anything about it. You will likely do the very same. Yet, if you are surrounded by men who are driven and invested in seeing you succeed a d then help you celebrate your wins then you will succeed whether you want to or not. 

 You can also find a lot of guidance though different men’s groups like the Brotherhood of Men and if you are looking for a group please sign up. 

Should you accept every change?

There are times that the answer is actually no. There are times that change happens from people with their own agenda. If you don’t agree with the change and it is something that you believe you can hold back by all means you can resist it. 

Yet know when that resistance becomes suffering. Don’t resist just because that is what you have always done. That resistance needs to serve you if it is causing suffering then it might be a good idea to examine your why and see if something is out of alignment. You could be resisting simply because you are afraid of the change itself. 

Change is scary and it is always happening. Use your resources to help you understand why you are resisting. We create so much unneeded suffering because we are afraid, unsure of the future, thinking we can control something that is beyond our ability to control. Talk to your mentors and bands of brother and see what they think that is one of the reason we have them is to be able to make the best choices possible. 

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

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