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Strategies to Combat Resistance to Change

By Catherine Anesi, LCSW, RM



Why is it that just when you feel you are getting on track with some change you would like to make in your life, life starts to throw you some curve balls? Its as if the universe is testing you to see if you are really serious! This is resistance.

According to the dictionary Resistance is the opposition to an attempt to bring

repressed thoughts or feelings into consciousness. When we want to make any positive change in our lives our sense of self is challenged and difficult feelings and negative thoughts may emerge. Fear and anxiety will arise as well as negative thoughts such as “I’m not good enough”, or “Who am I to think I can change”, and many many more unique to your life experiences. The purpose of resistance is to protect the current definition of self!


When one's definition of self is challenged the self or ego will fight tooth and nail to hang on to its current definition. The ego also wants to protect itself from any uncomfortable feelings that may come up when it is challenged. It may even seem that life begins to make it hard by putting obstacles in your way. You may begin to notice behaviors in yourself that seem to sabotage the change process.


Here are some examples:

  • Avoiding -“I just don’t have time to give myself 15 minutes a day to journal or meditate, or move, etc..

  • Over doing-eating, sleeping, drinking, drugging, working-any way to squash those feelings.

  • Procrastination

  • Isolation-hiding from others.

  • Gossiping-focusing on others rather than focusing on yourself.

You may have your own unique behaviors as well. The idea is to be “on to yourself”. Don’t allow the resistance, when it shows up, to derail you.


Here are some strategies that may help:

  • Don’t give up! As soon as you can, get back on the proverbial horse.

  • Breathe. Stay calm. Notice if you go into victim mode by feeling sorry for yourself. Make a conscious effort to change those thoughts.

  • Get out in nature. Being in the quiet stillness of nature has a way of calming the nerves.

  • Move your body. Moving can help the process move along.

  • Speak with a trusted friend or professional about what is coming up

  • Journal on your feelings. It's better to get those feelings out of your body and onto paper.

Change is not easy, but the rewards gained by positive change are enormous. You deserve to live an amazing life filled with love, peace, and happiness.


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