“People are very open-minded about new things … as long as they’re exactly like the old ones”

Change is inevitable. These days, many people find themselves experiencing significant change in their lives; whether it’s worrying about a job, retirement, or whatever the future holds.

Change, whether good or bad, usually brings some level of discomfort. There is often fear in change because it always involves some unknowns or something different replacing the familiar.

Given that change is here to stay, why do some people seem to dig in their heels and resist it at all costs?

Here are 5 reasons, which highlight why some people have a tough time changing their mindset and behaviour:

1. Fear of failure

During periods of change, we may feel the need to cling to the past – because it was a more secure, predictable time. If what we did in the past worked well for us, we may resist changing our behaviour out of fear that we will not achieve as much in the future.

2. Fear the new won’t be better

If things have been going well, we may resist change because we fear that the change will not result in improvement – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. 

3. Fear of the unknown

We may resist change simply because it is something unfamiliar. If we don’t know much about the specifics of a change, we can often imagine a worst case scenario.

We let fear of the unknown become our rationale for not giving the change a chance. Even though we may admit that a problem exists, we worry that the proposed change might actually make things worse!

4. Fear of personal impact

Viewing change from a personal standpoint, we may respond by asking how the change will benefit us – “What’s in it for me? Will I need to work harder? Will this affect my job security? Will I be forced to work with new people? Will I need to learn new skills?

5. Creatures of habit

Doing things in the same routine, predictable way is comfortable to us. When change comes along, we find our comfort zones are stretched as we are asked to move away from the familiar and into the unknown.