head of school'S Blog
Change: A Discussion on the Inevitable
As we approach the new year, we begin to think about making New Year’s resolutions. We set goals for losing weight, kicking bad habits, living healthier, reading more, or a myriad of other things. All of these involve change on our part, but for most of us, change is hard. Very few of us follow through on our resolutions. Studies show less than 25% of individuals are still committed to their New Year’s resolutions one month later, and less than 8% actually accomplish their goals. These statistics show how hard it is to follow through even with the best of intentions, in part, because change is so difficult. So, for the next few months, I hope you will indulge me as I begin to discuss this topic in depth, starting with why it is so hard for us to deal with change.
“We are, all of us, creatures of habit, and when the seeming necessity for schooling ourselves in new ways ceases to exist, we fall naturally and easily into the manner and customs which long usage has implanted ineradicably within us.”
This quote from Edgar Rice Burroughs is one of the more famous quotes on the nature of humanity and our penchant for what is familiar. People do not like change even when it is necessary. Most of us drive the same route to work or school and then home again. When things change our normal routine, our mood tends to change as well, and usually not for the better. Following habits is our natural state, and changing habits is difficult.
Change is hard is because it requires effort and thought. Routines are easier because we just repeat past behaviors. When things change, we have to stop and analyze our next steps. This is more work, and as the old saying goes, we tend to follow the path of least resistance.
Change is also challenging because it involves looking forward. People often glamorize the past, blocking negative experiences and remembering only the positive, because it is so painful to be reminded of past failures. Thus, we tend to look at the past through rose-colored lenses and become resistant to change with all its unknowns. Another way to look at it is to say that we only like to look at positive past experiences. I call it the “camera moment." We only take pictures of good experiences so that we can remember them. Rarely does anyone take pictures of a bad experience. It isn’t in our nature to dwell on the bad times.
Lastly, change is difficult because people believe that changing things implies a weakness in their current methods. Changing the way we are currently doing things makes it seem that we must have been doing things incorrectly. While this is not always the case, it can toy with the emotions of those making the changes. Change to make things better is probably the most valid reason to change, but not the only reason. In my next post, we will discuss the reasons why we need to embrace change.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing... -Isaiah 43:18
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