Why do We Hate Change?

Rome wasn’t built in a day. But my ‘new life’ was when I broke up with my boyfriend, quit my job and made the decision to move home all on the same day. Yeah yeah yeah, I’m mentioning my break upagain. But at least you know I’m current.

It wasn’t so much a conscious decision for everything to happen all on the same day, ‘don’t make too many big changes at once’ and all that, but it do be like that sometimes.

The ironic thing is, I absolutely hate change. I’m terrible with it. Along with like 78% of the population (at a guesstimate). For one, I got my first ever MacBook last year and I still haven’t learned how to use it properly. I’m also very awful with every diet or trend I take part in… It never lasts longer than a few days, but that’s because I like things the way they are. It’s the same reason I’ve known many of my close friends for 10+ years. Why reinvent the wheel when I’ve got the best set already, y’know?

But sometimes change needs to happen. Sometimes you need to make new friends; get a new job; or try a new type of shampoo that doesn’t give you a dry scalp. There’s a lot of change that will happen every day, because without change we’d all be very very bored. And have itchy scalps. So why do we hate change so bloody much?

We’re Creatures of Habit

We are beings that go through much of life using habits deeply engrained in our heads: making a cup of tea; mindlessly walking to the kitchen and opening the fridge; driving along thinking about life and suddenly discovering you’ve arrived at work… We are quite literally ‘creatures of habit’. These habits are great for a spot of multi-tasking, but can be quite irritating when you want to give one up, like smoking, for example. The habit is so deep rooted that it can be very difficult to break free.

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” – Samuel Johnson

And habits can appear in many areas of life. This is why some people will go back to awful relationships again and again, because your brain has picked up that habit of going for shitty people. Not what you want really.

Feelings of Uncertainty

Uncertainty of the future is another reason we may not want to make changes in life: why would I give up my stable career as an accountant to become an artist? Taking that leap is very fucking scary, because who knows what’s behind each door.

But the thing is, anything in life is a gamble: you could lose your ‘stable’ job tomorrow, whereas that art career you daydream about could make you millions.

Not Wanting to Admit You’re Wrong

The feeling that you’re always in the right is a very common one; only a handful of us actually are always right. But that feeling, and then not wanting to admit we’re wrong, can be a reason for not changing when maybe it is necessary.

This professional development blog takes this further, and hits the nail on the head:

“Psychologically speaking, [people] genuinely believe what they’ve been doing, and how they’ve been doing it is the best possible way to do it… And the longer they’ve been doing it this way, the better, more efficient, more economical, etc., it is (or so they believe)”.

So we don’t like change because we don’t want to admit that we’ve been doing things wrong this whole time? Yeah sounds about right. That’s why people will stay in jobs they absolutely hate, or working on big expensive loft conversions that turn out to be a terrible idea. The projects never come up cheaper than expected (we’ve all seen Grand Designs) which can lead to fuelling unnecessary time and money into something. It’s less scary than admitting they were wrong the whole time.

Having to Put Some Effort in

“Order from some place else” Carries tells Miranda in Sex and the City, when she finds herself having an issue with her usual takeaway. “But this place is my favourite,” Miranda tells Carrie, “I like their cold noodles… And it’s easier than figuring out where else to go.”

Keeping things the way they are always feels like the easiest option, because it requires no effort. It can be a real inconvenience putting that effort in; whether that be discovering your life’s great passion, or finding a new hairdresser. Both can be equally as annoying.

It doesn’t matter what the issue is, it’s far easier to bob along keeping things as they are than make a change. It requires far more effort to figure out what’s actually best for you. I think it’s a hugely overlooked, yet relevant point in the discussion of humans disliking change. And something an ex-lazy person like myself really notices.

The reason I no longer consider myself a lazy person, is that as soon as I started putting some effort into life, I realise the impact it has on… Well, life… And now here I am making a million changed to everything.

Can We Learn to Love Change?

We need to tell ourselves why the change is good. Take that leap of faith, stop giving a shit what others think of you and get off your damn arse and make that bloody change! Do you feel motivated yet?

We can all change really, and it isn’t so bad. And we all know that deep down, because we are constantly making little changes every day… Even just trying a new brand of sausages.

In fact, over the past few months, more or less everyone on the planet has had to alter the way they do life due to the pandemic. We’ve shifted the way we socialise; the way we exercise; even the way we do our weekly shops. If we can change every part of our life to fit around a global pandemic, we can certainly change areas of life to make for a happier existence.

I sit here, a month on from my break up and I’m making friends at a new job; planning the layout of my new house and writing this post on my lovely MacBook… It’s clear that change is pretty good for us sometimes. And that we can totally learn to love it.

Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Why do We Hate Change?

  1. I hate change too, for many of the same reasons you’ve mentioned above. Although it’s difficult, we have to remember that change only lasts for a little while before it becomes the new normal.

    Like

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