Why change sucks

Ever read a post, a book, an article about why change is good, why it’s challenging, or how to dramatically engage your blah blah to be synchronized with your new mission of blah blah…? Yeah, we’ve all been there. My question is, how many times have you actually read something or heard someone flat out claim:

Change sucks because something is going to clobber you once you start and it’s up to you, and you alone to deal with it.

Well, if you haven’t before, you have now. Change, generally, is a good thing. Change for the sake of change? Bad thing. Small changes = good. Big changes = who the hell knows. The idea is good, doing it is hard, and if something screws up along the way, then it’s bad.

Change is a force, and if we remember anything from high school physics class it’s Newton’s 3rd law of motion (simplified):

“To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

This does explain why change is often de-railed once the process of change has begun. Take for example someone who wants to take control of their financial situation. They go out, buy some books, learn, and start reducing costs, saving, investing – yet what happens shortly there after? A sudden massive expense arrives out of the blue and all the hard work is suddenly dashed in a short period of time. Yes, they were further ahead, they have learned skills that can be duplicated again, and things can be gotten back on track – but it’s up to them. Life suddenly threw a curve-ball at them and future success or failure on their part will be up to them. Another example is when someone decides to take control of their un-healthy lifestyle and do something about it. So what do they do? They start to get up early and excercise, they begin to drink more water, and they start to track their food intake and make better choices. This works for a bit of time until either they suffer an injury or become ill (flu, cold, etc) which disrupts the schedule and takes them out of the game for a period of time. Take the smoker who finally decides to quit once and for all, yet during the same week something highly stressful happens and they’re right back to smoking again.

We can all look around and see this pattern happen for people over and over and over again. But why? Why is there always an equal and opposite reaction – especially when the change is significant? Does it always happen? No idea – but it does happen enough to notice it… Some would say that these are tests to see if you are truly committed to the change that you desire (god, universe, whatever), but why? What possible purpose does it serve? Why not a big challenge at the end of change so that which has changed can directly apply to, and effectively mange the challenge?

It has been said that you’re only supposed to change one thing at a time, for example, stop smoking, but don’t stop smoking, stop drinking, start running marathons, and start eating carrots all at once. Stop one thing for 21 days and develop the habit so that you can move onto the next thing requiring change and that which you have changed is now a habit. Kinda makes sense, however, the clobbering potential still applies regardless of whether or not it’s one change or 10. Changing 10 things at once is to say the least, challenging, however, it is entirely possible. Changing just one thing is also possible, yet depending on what it is can easily equal 10 things.

The point here is regardless of what, why, or how many things you decide to change, beware of the clobbering that is in your future. Yes, if you’re committed to the change(s) then it merely becomes an annoyance or a delay, yet if you happen to have insight as to why it happens (and it will) – do share. 😉

And yes, I’m currently battling a cold after a whole week of working out in the mornings and dramatically improving my intake… Clobbered.

5 thoughts on “Why change sucks

  1. I think a different physical law is at work, and it happens because you’re fighting entropy (for the purposes of this comment, the way things are and want to keep being) and it can take an unknown quantity of sustained force to get things moving in a new direction, and then keep them in motion. Therefore change isn’t something that happens once, but that happens continuously. Perhaps this is why, for example, alcoholics are never said to be recovered, but always recovering, even if it’s been a decade since the last sip.


  2. I contend there is a different rule. Change is measured in pain.

    From the Tarot, a parallel concept arises from the #13 Major Arcana card, often called “Death”. The tarot usage is that Death is change, a clearing away of the old life to make room for the new.

    Involuntary change – lose the job, flood, fire, criminal attack, IRS audit – these happen and we don’t spend a lot of time regretting the choice to change – but it is still a loss, a “little death”.

    And any time you have change, like when losing a loved one, you face grief. There is no getting around it. Reports are that even winning a super job, every job change is followed by a period of depression. Grief. Loss of the way of life and choices from before.

    Understand the sadness, the denial, the anger associated with grief, before the acceptance and healing – adapting to the new life – can begin. And think more kindly of the beleaguered, grief-stricken soul in the midst of change.
    .-= Brad K.´s last blog ..vftp: Flighty chicks did *not* ruin America =-.

  3. Jill: I see what you’re saying, however, according to Newton’s 1st law: “An object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an external force”.. So if you apply a force to change direction then without further action things should remain in the new direction unless acted upon.. Yet why are things acted upon, always in an opposite direction and with equal force with such a delay? I push down on the table and the opposite and equal force is immediate… I change lifestyle habits and there is a delay in the opposite and equal force…

    A friend of mine calls it ‘the gestation’ period where a change is introduced and it is the time in between until the final desired outcome where anything can happen. The bigger the change, the bigger the gestation period until the final desired result.

    Brad: “Pain is measured in pain.” – it certainly seems like it.. What would the world be like if good change was measured in pleasure? I do like the concept of “cleaning away the old life to make room for the new”… Would certainly explain the cold..

  4. (it would also appear that I have some wordpress hacking to do to straighten out these gravatars… I don’t really think it needs two per comment…)

  5. I don’t think a lifestyle is one object, like a table. I think it’s more like a soup of objects– comprised of an almost infinite number of details and habits. So you can push on one of them and get it moving right away, but you won’t feel it as change until you get a critical quantity of them all moving together– pretty much the gestation period your friend described.

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