Why We Fear Change

I had the opportunity to attend Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy event in Santa Clara, CA last weekend. Wow, it left me inspired and ready to make some changes!  I spent last Sunday afternoon de-compressing and reviewing all my notes.  One topic that Brendon covered which intrigued me was why we fear change. He outlined three main points which I discuss below. I thought to myself how often this comes up when I talk to people about doing a 14 or 21 day cleanse. Or just making changes in their diet.

Why do we fear change?

Loss: We are scared that we are going to lose something.  We choose not to participate in a cleanse program because we are afraid of losing the foods that we feel connected to and that give us emotional comfort like cookies or chips. I can totally relate to that one. Yikes, have to give up my dark chocolate for 21 days?! We are afraid of losing our friends who might not understand why we are making a change, afraid that we will not feel comfortable attending social activities that involve alcohol or foods loaded with sugar, dairy, and gluten. Or that we will miss out on those activities all together.

How many times have I used the excuse that the timing for a cleanse is not right for me because I have a social dinner or birthday celebration coming up, a weekend away, and the list goes on!  Can you relate? I have to remind myself that the the timing is never going to be perfect; there is always going to be something on my calendar!  Or, on a deeper psychological level, we are afraid of losing that chronic pain, low energy state, lack of focus and clarity, or extra weight that has been giving us an excuse not to move forward with our lives; to stay exactly where we are.

Process: We are afraid of the process, which we equate to hardship.  When I talk to people who are interested in doing a cleanse, this fear of process is big. We are afraid of committing to a cleanse or overall dietary changes because we think that it will be too hard, inconvenient, we won’t have the time to make the changes, go shopping, and learn new ways of eating.

Fear the Outcome.  What if we make all these changes and we don’t achieve our health goals?  We fail and don’t lose the weight, we don’t feel more energy, we don’t feel better?  We put all that time and effort into a cleanse and we don’t get the results we wanted. 

What if we replace LOSS with GAIN? 

What can we gain from doing a cleanse or changing our overall dietary habits?  This is feedback I hear all the time from participants that complete my cleanse program. They gain an appreciation and a taste for new foods that they have never tried before (and remember, the brain likes new!) and they meet new friends that are on the same journey  to feel better, have more energy, and take their lives back in their own hands. They discover new grocery stores, farmers markets, delivery services and restaurants that offer delicious and nourishing foods. They find new activities that don’t involve food that are fun! And they find that they can enjoy social activities without alcohol, sugar, dairy, and gluten!

What if we replace the process (which we normally equate with HARDSHIP) with FUN and JOY?  Can we find joy in the process of doing a cleanse?  Absolutely!  Trying new foods and recipes, writing about our cleanse experience and sharing our experience with others, checking out new places, and engaging in fun activities to replace going out to eat and drinking alcohol can all be fun if we approach the experience from a joyful attitude! Will we have enough time to do the cleanse? As Brendon said last weekend, when you remove old things, new and good things arrive to fill up that space! 

If you are committed to making a change to reach your ideal body composition, increase your energy, feel mentally on your game, then you will achieve your goals, even if not within your initial timeline.  Your hard work will never go to waste.  The process is part of the learning experience that allows you to grow. Instead of fearing the outcome, we can EMBRACE the outcome, knowing that we have learned so much along the way. When you make dietary changes to improve your health, you will always be rewarded, even if you cannot see or feel the benefits right away.

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