Why Change is Hard -And Why “Just Do It!” Doesn’t Cut It.

How we change and why we don’t. Part 1 of many.

Days are longer, brighter, and spring is on the horizon.

There’s some hope (I hope!) in the air – a glimmer of possibility as the juices start circulating in the world again.

We feel like change is possible!

So, what’s packed in today’s Bento Box?

Some Change.

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell

When I think about the one ‘thing’ I am pretty obsessed with it is that: Change.

Or to be precise: it’s the fascination with how we, embodied humans, change – and, more importantly, why we DON’T.

I don’t know how long I wanted to write about change.

In the world obsessed with GOALS, I am obsessed with understanding CHANGE.

But whenever I try to write something half smart about change, I stall.

Or rather: I write/read/learn about change all the time, and I stall when I try to pack it neatly into a clear and concise form.

The problem?

I was desperate to make simple something that is NOT.

So I give up – but I give up on the HOW not the WHAT & WHY.

Consider this to be one of many instalments on CHANGE.

Yes, I just gave you a chance to unsubscribe – or…. you know, hit that button below, subscribe to change, buckle up and see where it gets us!

How to do the doing.

We’re a goal-obsessed bunch.

We set targets, make them SMART, try to 10x everything, buy the journals, and visualize the heck out of our dreams.

We’re told to be consistent and show up… but then what?

All that beautiful goal-setting gets derailed by the actual doing, when we discover that the map is not the territory.

That’s because we forget a critical factor: achieving goals usually requires change.

And the bigger the goal, the greater the change needed – and that’s where things get tough.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

So, when I see those motivational posters yelling “Just Do It!” I practically sprain my eyeballs from rolling them too hard.

It’s not about finding more recipes to follow, it’s about learning how to do the doing. And that means:

  • Understanding our motivations: Why do we do something, or not do it?
  • Uncovering our conflicting desires: Why do we both want something AND resist it?

Otherwise it’s like flooring the gas pedal while the handbrake’s on – pretty pointless!

Our clever cars warn us about the handbrake, but we lack a similar system for our life goals.

Here’s where the car analogy comes in:

Imagine your current state as Point A, your goal as Point B.

You want to get there by car, and the color of your car doesn’t really matter.

Ask these questions first:

  • What’s Your Goal? Is it just a joyride, or do you have a destination?
  • Willpower Isn’t Enough: You might have drive (at least initially), but that’s not all you need.
  • Your Road Matters: Your environment either supports your change or gets in the way. If the road’s terrible, find a better one, build one, or switch vehicles altogether.
  • Fuel Up: You need some energy to get rolling. The most to get you started.
  • Learn to Drive: you need to know how to drive the car – if you don’t – you can hire someone to do the driving for you or with you – someone to teach you the skill. Oh, and you can’t really learn to drive by reading about driving. You need to get in the car and start driving. That’s experiential learning. Find a good driving instructor.
  • Embrace the Suck: This is a new skill. You’ll likely be bad at it, if you are extraordinary at other things.
  • Release that Brake: Sometimes, our biggest obstacle is ourselves. The car not starting? Look around: what is missing or what is present?
  • That brake is AN ACTIVE FORCE stopping you. And there might be a good reason why it’s there in the first place. Your job now is to find out why it’s there and whether it’s still necessary.
  • Know the Gears: Learn the underlying principles of change.
  • Basic Mechanics: Understand what fuels you, and what stalls you. Gas won’t help a broken engine, and motivation won’t fix burnout.

Change is tough, but with this understanding, you’ll be miles ahead of those just shouting, “Just do it!”

When you want to change something (and yes, that something often is You) -start think of change like driving a car: You’re at Point A, wanting to reach Point B.

Now, what needs to happen for it to happen?

  • The Goal: Are you driving aimlessly, or is there a destination?
  • Driving Skills: A fancy car won’t help if you don’t know how to drive. Seek guidance or practice. And remember, you can’t learn solely from a book; you need action.
  • The Mechanics: Understanding the basics of how things work (or fail to work) is crucial.
  • Fuel: Starting requires some energy.
  • The Road: Is there a road you can take? Your environment either supports change or blocks it. Find a clear path or change your vehicle.
  • Brakes: Identify those hidden brakes holding you back.

Change is complex.

It’s not about blindly following checklists or sheer willpower.

It’s a skill to be learned, involving self-awareness, a supportive environment, and a willingness to confront those internal brakes we mistake for lack of motivation.

Let’s stop obsessing over goals alone and start mastering the mechanics of change.

To Ponder:

If the part of you that resists change could speak, what might it say?

What need is it trying to protect?

When you think about taking action on this change, what thoughts, feelings, or beliefs tend to slow you down?

If you could wave a magic wand and achieve your goal instantly, what internal shifts would still need to happen for it to feel successful and sustainable?

What physical sensations do you experience when you imagine making this change? Where do you feel those sensations in your body?

What’s the smallest possible step you could take in the direction of this change that feels doable?


“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz

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