Sometimes we want to change and sometimes we must because of others. However we are not so successful all the time. In the beginning we are motivated and persistent but around at half of the way suddenly we break down and withdraw. Why do we often fail when we want to change even if we really want it?
In the beginning we see all of the challenges are easy, we feel if we finally were able to persuade to start our development sweep would rise. There will be unexpected surprises but we are able to solve them with some extra effort. However we forgot one thing, change has its own course. We can easily fail if we are not prepared for it.
The process of changing has five phases: the “old order”, “resistance”, “chaos”, “integration” and finally the “new order”. These phases are observable in families, couples, teams and in the society as well. The Satir model calls our attention to understand that the process of changing unfortunately is not a flight of stairs and we should just walk up on it straightly. It’s more like a ledge where we must descend to be able to climb up to higher peaks. Who wants to change must be prepared for significant bad patch or patches.
The reality of changing
At first everything is fine, we are okay and this is the “old order” phase. All of a sudden a strange element appears which turns everything on end in our life. Step by step we adopt it but we resist mostly – we defy it. This is the “resistance” phase. Soon this new element triumphs over us and we fall apart. This is the “chaos” phase. This uncomfortable irregularity remains until the “transformative idea” arises. As an effect of this “transformative idea” slowly we start to pull ourselves together. This phase is the “integration”. The change itself becoming ripe just if those early foreign attitudes become firmer known habits. This is when we start live the “new order” phase.
The best example for instance is training. If we are satisfied with our physique, we don’t want to change – “old order”. Suddenly because of something or someone puts a suspicion in our mind that we are out of shape we should train a bit. We go to run or go to the gym – “foreign element”. We like this change, we enjoy it and we try to exclude it into our daily life – “resistance”. However few problems appear after a while, like the training is very tiring than we believed before, we can spend less and less time with working out because being busy and we already feel very tired after work even before going to the gym. The weather is bad, we have an injury or just another program occurred – “chaos”. Because all this after a while often we give up and return to the “old order”.
Everything could have been different if we had known that this just a phase of chaos. If we can overcome our frustration and confusion, in a short term we can redeem ourselves. We just need a bit of flexibility and creativity – “transformative idea”. For instance, changing the branch of sport, we go to gym before going to work or insert few days of rest without giving up. The phase of integration will be easier after those difficulties. Day by day/week by week we get use to work out and deal with all of its uncomfortable concomitants. If we became prepared to the coming ledge, we would have a better chance to develop and reach the desired peak.
This is it?
The first and might be the best step is to think if we need an outside help to reach our goal. There are a lot of personal and social myths and negative (automatic) thoughts which try to dissuade us immediately from changing. We also experience intense emotional reaction as well defending us from difficulties or challenges which are coming from out of our comfort zone. To change with help is easier especially with a professional one.
We must understand that feel uncomfortable or tense feelings are normal in the process of change, we just have to accept them. If you don’t feel like to go to the gym all the time it’s okay but that doesn’t mean you are not going. You can go there like doesn’t feel like to do it. To try something new, leaving the comfort zone most of the times is not a good feeling but that shouldn’t prevent us doing it anyway. We must learn to deal with negative emotions as well because first they are part of our daily life and second if we don’t have the capacity to deal with them they can prevent us experiencing new and joyful things.