Change can be scary: 5 Key things to remember when making a change

Have you ever told anyone that you are going to change your hairstyle or hair color and they give you all sorts of reasons not to? Or perhaps a new computer system is rolled out at your work and everyone seems to have something negative to say about it before they have even tried it? In all honesty, people seem to want change, want new ideas and new things, but they really do not like it at first.

When I finally made the switch years ago from my blackberry to my iPhone, I hated it. Not having the buttons to push really through me off. It took me twice as long to write an email or text message and don’t even get me started on all of the typing errors. Fortunately, I had a great support team to encourage me to not give up, to tell me that I would get used to it, and who showed me all sorts of tips and tricks. If I had the buttons now, I am quite certain I would dislike them; but at the beginning, I really missed the buttons.

Whether you are making a small personal change, a change in your business, or a big systematic change in how things are done, you should remember that people want to maintain homeostasis in their daily life, environment, work, world, etc. People will often see change as a threat and will try to do everything they can to avoid the change, even if it is not going to effect them. It is important to recognize this and prepare for it.

5 Key things to remember when making a change:

  1. People like consistency:  Even though they may want change, they may ask for change, or ask for an easier way of doing things; they typically will not like it at first.
  1. You need a Plan: When making a change, big or small, personal or global you need a plan to implement the change. Outline all of the steps you need to take to implement your change successfully. Be sure your plan answers all of the questions starting with why, and then moving on to who, what, where, when, and how.
  1. Enlist supporters: There will be negative feedback and pushback. People may not even know they are doing it, but they will be doing it. Having a strong support network will help you continue to move forward.
  1. Start slowly as change takes time: Yes sometimes we all want to change overnight, but that typically does not happen. If you like it, it feels right, or you are confident it will work; keep going, slowly but surely change will happen.
  1. Lead by example and be a willing participant in the change process: So you have a weight loss plan and you messed up that does not mean you quit, it just means a change in the plan. Perhaps you have a great system to implement at work someone expands upon that idea and makes it even better; you need to be willing to change as well.

Sarah E Stewart, MSW, CPC: Life Coach and Author

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