3 Reasons Why People Will Always Resist Change

Humans are without a doubt creatures of comfort. Don’t believe me? Just think about how much of your own life revolves around a routine. It blows my mind how much of our lives is dominated by our habits. However, there will come a time in our life when we need to make a change. A new job. Relationship. School. As said by Heraclitus, ‘The only constant in life is change’. So, even though it’s an inevitability, why will people always resist change? Let’s talk. 

people resist change

Change is scary. 

Let’s get this out of the way. Change is absolutely terrifying. Being put in a completely new situation, where we have no idea how to navigate the situation is an easy recipe for anxiety. The fear of the unknown actually has a scientific term, it’s Xenophobia. 

It’s what happens when we start having irrational thoughts about unfamiliar situations. So, change might be scary because we’re placing a value judgement on a neutral situation. In other words, we’re creating imaginary problem where there is none. 

I won’t be good enough for that new job. My new partner won’t love me as much as my old one did. They’ll make fun of me when I start school. These are all assumptions that we can make based on events that haven’t even happened yet!  

Once we start engaging in these thought patterns, it’s incredibly difficult to get ourselves out of it. What often helps me when I get stuck in this cycle is to rationally debate myself on why these thoughts aren’t true. 

If my imposter syndrome flares up and I think I’m not good enough for my job, I take several steps back. Objectively, I’ve been through a rigorous vetting process consisting of multiple interview stages. If they didn’t think I was good enough, then I wouldn’t have gotten the offer. Just going through a simple thought process such as this, helps reframe those irrational thoughts as exactly what they are, irrational.

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people resist change

Change is work.

As a mentioned earlier, humans are a creature of comfort. In fact, we’re some of the laziest creatures on the planet. People resist change because it takes a lot of work and determination, and we’re well aware of this. 

Most people don’t grow in life because they’re too focused on the destination instead of the process. When we’re just starting at step A, there’s no reason for us to be thinking about step G. However, we do this all the time. And because step G is so far ahead of where we are right now, it looks impossible to reach. 

Why put in all that effort. It’s so far away. I should just quit now. Once your goal post is too far away, thoughts like this have a nasty way of creeping up on you.

A quick way to disrupt this mentality is to become obsessed with the path of process. Try not to think about how life will be at step G. Instead, think of how you’re doing to get from step A to step B. Narrow down your expectations and take a long-term approach to change. Once you start doing this, you’ll become less scared as you’re taking little steps instead of massive leaps. 

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people resist change

Change is uncomfortable (to others*).

Another important reason why people resist change is because it can lead to uncomfortable situations with those around us. You know what they say, we are who we surround ourselves with. 

So, when you start to change. This can lead to some friction with those you hold close to you. Once you start making changes and bettering yourself, you may need to distance yourself from people whose values don’t align with yours.

It will be uncomfortable. You will be called selfish. However, if they are genuinely holding you back from becoming the best version of yourself, then you’re absolutely right to re-evaluate that relationship.  

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people resist change


So let’s recap three main reasons why people resist change. Firstly, it’s scary to put yourself in a completely unfamiliar situation. Mostly because your brain can go wild and start creating irrational scenarios. Secondly, change can be a lot of work if you don’t know how to pace yourself. There’s no need to completely throw yourself in the deep end. That’s how you drown. Learn how to take little steps, and fall in love with the process. Finally, change can lead to uncomfortable situations where you have to drop some people out of your life. It may be selfish, but it’s necessary. 

What do you think? Are you someone who doesn’t like change? When is the last time you did something spontaneous? Let me know in the comments below. I’m curious! 

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6 Replies to “3 Reasons Why People Will Always Resist Change”

  1. Thanks for this perspective, especially appreciated the take that it’s uncomfortable for others! I personally have always loved change, but recently going through a big one that I’ve wanted for a long time and finding resistance stepping into it – definitely for a lot of the reasons you’ve described above.

  2. Thank you for your perspective. This is great!

    Change certainly is uncomfortable for others. It seems like as soon as you start making positive (to you) moves, here they come to try and steal your momentum.

  3. Change is not usually easy, but I like your emphasis on taking baby steps. It’s important to celebrate small wins that move us in the right direction.

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