Wanting Change Doesn't Mean You Will Change

We’ve all heard it time and time again - your brother, coworker, spouse, or friend is going to change. People love to talk about all the habits they’ll be breaking (or creating), the goals they’ll be setting, and the changes they’ll be making.

And while they likely believe that they mean it, the reality is: they don’t.

How can I be so sure? Well, most people aren’t willing to do what it takes to actually change!

In almost 25 years of leading and coaching, what I’ve found is that most people will say they want change, or agree that they need to change, but only if….

If they don’t have to be inconvenienced.

If they don’t have to give up being comfortable.

If they can hold on to everything from their “pre-change” life that they like.

What it boils down to is this:

“People want to change...as long as they don’t have to change”.

Before you point the finger - this is true of you too.

Every goal in life that you’ve set but not achieved, every habit you intended to break but never quite did, those are the changes that you said you wanted to make. But when it came down to it…you wanted change without having to actually change.

Here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be this way!

As someone who has an incredible amount of power in your own life, you do know what’s going on internally, and you can commit to making changes that need to be made.

After all, you can fool some people some of the time, and you can even fool yourself some of the time...but in your quiet, honest moments, you know when change is called for. Not the change you’re going to talk about, but the change you’re actually going to dig deep enough to create.

Because not changing when you know you need to tends to have one of two results:

You become more and more numb, blocking out chances to experience fulfillment, joy, and happiness because you have to continually bury sadness and pain in your body. Whether you resort to an addictive substance, a self-defeating behavior pattern, or a cynical attitude, you’re really just trying to deaden yourself to the way things are.

All this because you’re unwilling to experience the discomfort and inconvenience of a change that you know you should have made long ago.

You start down the road to a personal version of hell that only you can imagine. At some point you’ll likely be so miserable, desperate, and hopeless that you will create change - you’ll be willing to move mountains if only you can get away from how things are.

Although this route tends to end in change, it is much more painful than it needed to be.

I can write about both of these options because I’ve done both. I’ve attempted to dull discomfort and numb myself to my own life, and I’ve lived through extreme pain and anguish - all because I failed to create changes that I knew needed to be made.

This message is for you today, and it’s meant as a challenge.

You’re standing at a crossroads, and you can let your ego tell you that this has nothing to do with you…or you can acknowledge the change that you know you need to begin making.

Whether you’re at the start of your journey, where you may be about to face a bit of discomfort, or neck deep in the waters of turmoil, regret, and heartache created from years of avoiding changes that needed to happen, I challenge you to make a choice.

Decide today that you’re going to change, and commit to withstanding any amount of backlash, frustration, inconvenience, or difficulty that may come your way because of it.

I offer you this wisdom because I’ve been there, and I know how much time and energy can be lost when we don’t commit to necessary change. I also care about your journey, and if you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable, I offer you this: “The truth hurts, but it also sets you free.”

Dov Baron is recognized as one of the top 100 leadership speakers to hire, and is also a corporate culture strategist. He is the founder of Full Monty Leadership and is a bestselling author. His latest book is Fiercely Loyal: How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent.