It is super hard to change your life.

Wanna know why?

Because most people are comfortable with the status quo and are afraid that their lives will change fundamentally.

You are one of these people and would like to learn how to deal with change better? Then you are in the right place!

On the one hand you can learn to accept changes, but on the other hand you should also start to actively initiate changes.Take your life into your own hands and consciously adapt to new situations!

never easy sally field

Learn to change your life

I do not like change.

No, actually I hate change.

And I think you feel the same way, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But what can you do about the unwillingness to change yourself or your life?

In this article we want to give you all the information you need to allow change and overcome your fear of it.

Why changing is so hard

Changing? No thanks!

Most of us probably think so. But why is that?

The thought that something or someone in our lives could change triggers fear in us. God forbid that we should change ourselves or our behavior!

As so often, our fears are completely irrational. But they are not without reason. To change your life, you should start dealing with the reasons behind your fear:

Reason #1: It’s all your brain’s fault

There must be some grumbler in this story. In this case, it sits between your ears.

Your brain likes to run on autopilot by nature. Why shouldn’t it? Once it has stored information, it just has to replay it over and over again. Whether it’s the commute to work or the way we tie our shoes.

As soon as something changes in the usual course of events, our brain is put on alert. Suddenly it gets to do something again. Every step has to be weighed up anew. Is this new situation perhaps even dangerous?

It is the uncertainty that triggers fear in us. Our brain whines and releases stress hormones. The fact that the situation can often not be changed does not matter to our brain at all.

Reason #2: You feel like you’re going to lose something

People who are beginning a new phase of life often have the feeling of losing everything they have achieved or experienced so far. They mourn their experiences and have a “it was all for nothing” feeling.

This feeling has nothing to do with logic. We only hold on to the things we once appreciated, even if this is not the case anymore, like in a failed relationship.

Reason #3: You are afraid of the unknown

Everything new or different scares the hell out of you.

To prevent change in your life…

– live a mediocre life with a partner who does not love you, but to whom you have become accustomed
– have a job that brings you no joy but pays your bills
– never try anything new, because it could in any way interfere with your everyday life.

At the end of the day you will only make yourself unhappy and you know it. The good news is that you can overcome your fear of change.

Typical examples of changes in life

Fear of changing your career: Fear of quitting, fear of being fired. Fear of looking for a new job.

Fear of changes in relationships: Fear of losing your friends, fear that your partner no longer loves you, fear of ending toxic relationships / friendships.

Fear of personal change: fear of trying new things, fear of losing yourself, fear of pursuing your goals

Fear of physical changes: Fear of aging, fear of self-actualization, fear of what others might think of you.

You recognize yourself in these examples? Then put an end to your fear!

Change your life by seeing changes as chances

fear of change

If you hold on to what needs to be changed, you lose everything.

– Norbert Blüm

Life is change. Everything you see exists only because it has adapted over millions of years.

Your feeling of powerlessness is one reason why you are so afraid of change and simply don’t want to let it happen.

So: Get back your control! Do not hide from change, embrace it. Run towards it! Allow the change to happen – but on your terms.

You will learn how to do this in the next section.

How to succeed in changing your life

take a leap
Take the plunge into unknown waters!

Have the courage to change! If you can’t prevent your life from changing, then at least design it according to your own rules!

In the first step you have to become aware of how your life should look like after the change. Take your time and dare to express your dreams.

Don’t think about what could go wrong and how feasible your dreams and wishes might be. Just reach for the stars.

You will be surprised about what is possible when you put your doubts aside!

Go through the 5 phases of change

With every change, you will go through a total of 5 phases, each with its own challenges.

This process is rarely linear and most people tend to move back and forth between these phases until the change is complete. 

Think about which of the following phases you are currently experiencing and read our tips on how to move from your current phase of change to the next.

pillars of change infographic

Awareness phase

You may know the saying: “Raising awareness is the first step forward”? You would not believe how much truth there is behind it!

In the first phase you are already aware that a change is necessary. Deep inside you may also have the desire for it, but you do not yet have the will to actually tackle the change.

Often we get into this phase by pressure coming from an outsider. For example, when your colleague notices that you come to work every day smelling of alcohol, your best friend sees how unhappy you are in your relationship or the doctor points out your unhealthy weight.

The more important the person who points out our shortcomings is to us, the stronger the urge for change can become. 

How to get to the next phase of change

The more often you fail to bring about change in this phase, the more difficult it becomes. For a successful transition to the next phase it is important that you do not just perceive the pressure from outside. 

Instead, you need to search within yourself for convincing reasons why you want to make the change. It is important that you start to inform and strengthen your inner motivation in this phase. 

You may forget for a moment what others expect from you and only look for reasons that convince YOU.

Consideration phase

As soon as you have found some convincing arguments, the discussion with your weaker self is opened!

At this stage you know that you have a problem and that a change is worth it but something is holding you back. You always find reasons why the change can also have negative sides or why the effort is too high.

As long as you have these reservations, you will go round in circles during this phase and feel unsure whether you can manage the change.

How to overcome the consideration phase

Time to activate the analytical part of your brain.

Make a list of all positive and negative sides of the change. Move the discussion onto a piece of paper that you divide into four sections.

In the first section you will see the benefits of leaving everything as it is. In the second section you fill in all the disadvantages if you don’t change anything. The third section again contains advantages that you expect after the change. The fourth and last section contains the disadvantages of the change.

change advantages

This method helps you to organize your thoughts and recognize a trend.

If the negative sides still outweigh the positive ones, return to the first phase and research possibilities to eliminate the Cons.

Preparation phase

In this phase you have finally decided on the change and are now taking the first steps to prepare for it. For example, you can buy a book, get equipment or look for self-help groups.

The challenge in this phase is to get away from planning. It feels good to have concrete thoughts about implementation and to read guidebooks that promise the desired change.

For many people, the thought process alone is so satisfying that they cannot make the leap to actual change. They tell their entire family about their plans and feel so good by the encouragement that they forget to actually change anything.

How you actually start the change process

Formulate your goals as clearly as possible.  

Examples: “I will change” – Promising, but too general and completely unsuitable as a goal.
“I will go for a walk every day.” – Better, because this formulation contains a temporal aspect.
“I will chew nicotine gum every time I have the desire to smoke.” – This formulation is very good because it incorporates a substitute action and refers to a concrete challenging situation.

Write down your goals!

Make a contract with yourself and hang it up in your apartment in a clearly visible place. Work out this contract carefully and think about how you want to deal with setbacks and challenges.

Many difficulties only arise once you have started your change. So plan to add to your contract again and again and see these adjustments as progress and not as setbacks.

Only when you have worked out this contract should you tell your friends and family about your plans and ask for specific support.

If you absolutely cannot manage to break away from the preparation phase, you should consider professional help.

Change phase

Congratulations! You are now in the phase where the actual change takes place and you are putting your plans into action.

You usually get a lot of encouragement from your friends and family during this phase, but not everyone in your life will agree with the change.

This is the phase that demands the most commitment from you and puts your disciplin to the test.

The danger of failure is particularly high.

How to get through the change phase

Your weaker self can get on your nerves and spoil your plans. With these tips you can fight it effectively:

Remember the reasons why you started the change and notice small progress as you go through the process.
Set yourself intermediate goals and reward yourself when you reach them.
Do not see small setbacks as defeat. It is quite normal that you make mistakes or are inconsistent on the path to permanent change. As long as you manage to find your way back.
Find someone to kick your ass if you break your contract with yourself for more than two days in a row.
Modify your contract if you find certain rules so difficult that you keep breaking them.

Period of reflection

Time to put on the party hat, because you actually did it!

Anyone can allow change, but you have successfully taken your life into your own hands!

The change is fully established and you can hardly imagine your life without it.
The intervals between setbacks are getting longer and longer and getting back on track is becoming easier and easier for you.

It usually takes at least two months until you make it into this phase.

Recognize the dangers of the reflection phase

Although everything is going well so far, you should not sit back!

The danger of a relapse is still present, even if small. It is important in this phase to recognize the triggers of your relapses and to look for solutions. Also think about what helped you in the past to get back on the right track.

A good self-reflection allows you to recognize mistakes and avoid them in the future. Always remain constructive and try to find solutions instead of punishing yourself for your “failures”.

When is the right time for changing your life?

In short: Now!

No matter how old you are or how hard you find it to change your life, there is no better time than this moment.

If you’ve read this article all the way to this point and you know inside that it’s time to take the next step.

You are still not sure whether you should take action and change your life? Then here are a few signs that you are in a self-made cage!

Sign #1: You feel stuck in everyday life

Quick: Tell me one thing you experienced last week!

You can’t think of anything?

That could be because there is nothing exciting happening in your life anymore.

Between eating, sleeping and working there is no time for you and activities that you enjoy.

– Let a few old hobbies come to life.
– Sign up for a course and learn something new.
– Meet some new people who have similar interests to yours.

Do whatever you can to get away from the daily grind, but please don’t leave your life as it is.

You must try new things to reinvent yourself

– Gary Allan

Sign #2: You dream of change

Do you play mind games like “What if?”, read job offers or look enviously at people who have achieved what you want to achieve?

A clear sign that you are longing for change.

With this guide you have everything you need to make your dreams come true.

Dare to take the first step!

You must pray for miracles, but work for change

– Thomas von Aquin

Sign #3: You have difficulty getting out of bed

Hard to believe, but it is not normal that you need 5 alarm clocks in the morning to get out of bed.

It is also not normal to stay awake too long in the evening, because you’re dreading the dawn.

These are all signs that you are highly unhappy with your life and need a radical change. If you continue like this, you even risk depression.

So let’s go and start setting goals!

Change is not necessary in life – it is life

– Alvin Toffler

Conclusion: Changing Your Life Completely

We hope that we have been able to motivate you with our guide not only to let change happen, but to actively shape your life.

Even small changes can have a big impact on your life. For example, start by waking up every morning with a smile!

A reading recommendation on the subject of allowing change: “Why is Change so hard”– Psychology Today