By Sue McCoy - June 25, 2019

I have written about change a lot over the years and to say I have been fascinated by the idea of change could be a bit of an understatement. Having deeply wanted change myself at different times I can see that I have wavered between a deep confidence that change is truly possible and a very dim view that it is not. This wrangling of mine was possibly one of the influencing factors for training as a Counsellor.

At the very beginning of my training journey I heard a phrase by Anthony Robbins “People change when the pain of remaining the same equals or exceeds the pain of change”. I was delighted by this quote which seemed to promise that change would come eventually. Recently it occurred to me that I also quote Einstein “the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result”. I can think of quite a few examples of doing the same thing over and over again but I also know that sometimes repeating exhausting patterns can be a great catalyst for change.

There are other catalysts for change such as a shift in circumstances sometimes with a great deal of pain. If change is not by choice then we get through this discomfort or pain any way we can until we adjust. If we are lucky, hope and excitement has drawn us into the journey however even if we are planning for change there can still be discomfort involved. It is at this point that we can turn back to the old ways or default settings.

What helps us shift out of these default patterns? In some cases circumstance means we can’t go back or the knowledge of being in a worse situation does chase us forward. Perhaps the belief in the end goal is strong enough to keep us battling through however in any situation where change seems elusive there are a few things you can try. Have a supportive friend share the journey, this is always helpful. Journaling and reading about change is also an option as this can keep your mind on what you hope to achieve rather than the patterns of the past. Enlist the help of a counsellor or coach who is trained to deepen your self-awareness which is a big factor in getting past stuck spots.

Sheer strength and self discipline may be part of negotiating these stuck spots but as I have discovered in what has now become many expeditions, change is a journey and you need all the right equipment for the trip.