Why is successful change so hard to achieve?

Change is an inevitable part of life. From personal growth to organisational development, the ability to adapt and evolve is crucial for success. Yet, despite our best intentions, why is it so difficult to achieve successful change? Why do we often find ourselves stuck in old habits or resistant to transformation?

In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of change – exploring its complexities, stages, and challenges. Whether you’re navigating a personal transformation or leading an IT change within your organisation, understanding the factors that make change hard can be the key to unlocking sustainable progress.

So buckle up and get ready for a thought-provoking journey as we uncover the secrets behind successful change!

Understanding change

Change is a multifaceted concept that extends beyond mere surface-level adjustments. It encompasses a profound shift in mindset, behaviour, and perception. Understanding change requires us to recognise that it is not a linear process; rather, it unfolds in stages.

The first stage of change is often characterised by awareness – the recognition that something needs to be different. This can stem from external factors, such as market trends or technological advancements, or internal realisations about personal growth and development.

Once we acknowledge the need for change, we enter the second stage: contemplation. We weigh the pros and cons, considering the potential benefits that come with transformation while also grappling with fear of the unknown and resistance to letting go of familiar patterns.

As we move forward into action – the third stage – implementation becomes key. This involves setting goals, creating plans, and taking tangible steps towards achieving desired outcomes. However, it’s important to note that change doesn’t happen overnight; it requires commitment and perseverance.

Maintenance marks the fourth stage of change. After initial progress has been made, sustaining new habits and behaviours becomes crucial for long-term success. This may involve ongoing learning opportunities or support systems that reinforce positive changes.

Understanding these stages helps us grasp why successful change can be challenging to achieve. It requires self-reflection, resilience in overcoming obstacles along the way and an acceptance of discomfort as part of growth.

Throughout this blog post journey we will explore strategies on how to overcome these challenges and pave your path towards lasting transformation.

The stages of change

The first stage of change is often referred to as “pre-contemplation.” During this stage, individuals may not even be aware that a change is necessary or they may be resistant to the idea. It’s important to create awareness and help people recognise the need for change during this phase.

Once individuals move past pre-contemplation, they enter the contemplation stage. This is when they start considering the benefits and drawbacks of making a change. It’s crucial to provide them with information and support during this stage, helping them weigh their options and make informed decisions.

After contemplation comes preparation. Individuals in this stage are ready to take action towards implementing the desired changes. This might involve setting goals, creating plans, acquiring resources, or seeking additional support if needed.

The next stage is implementation; here, individuals put their plans into action. This can be both exciting and challenging as it requires commitment, effort, and perseverance. Providing ongoing support during implementation ensures that people stay motivated despite any obstacles encountered along the way.

We have maintenance – ensuring that newly adopted behaviours or processes become ingrained in our lives or organisations over time. Maintenance requires continued effort and reinforcement to sustain long-term success.

By understanding each of these stages of change – pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, implementation, and maintenance – we can better appreciate why successful transformation can sometimes feel so difficult to achieve.

What makes change so hard?

It’s a question that many individuals and organisations grapple with as they navigate through periods of transformation. Change, whether it is personal or professional, can be incredibly challenging to achieve. There are various factors that contribute to this difficulty.

Change often disrupts our comfort zones. We tend to prefer the familiar because it provides us with a sense of security and stability. Stepping into the unknown requires courage and an ability to adapt to new environments and circumstances.

Change can be met with resistance from others. People may fear the unknown or feel threatened by the potential consequences of change. This resistance can manifest in different ways, such as pushback against new ideas or reluctance to let go of old habits and practices.

Furthermore, successful change requires effective communication and collaboration. Without clear communication channels and open dialogue, misunderstandings can arise, leading to confusion and frustration among team members.

In addition, change often involves breaking free from established routines and patterns. It requires individuals to embrace new ways of thinking and doing things. This process can be uncomfortable as it challenges long-held beliefs and ingrained behaviours.

Moreover, change entails risks and uncertainties. There is no guarantee that the desired outcomes will be achieved or that everything will go smoothly during the transition period. This uncertainty can create anxiety for those involved in the process.

Successful change necessitates strong leadership skills. Leaders must guide their teams through adversity while inspiring confidence in the vision for change. Without effective leadership support throughout all stages of transformational journeys, achieving lasting results becomes even more difficult.

Understanding what makes change so hard is essential for overcoming its challenges effectively. By acknowledging these obstacles upfront, we can devise strategies to mitigate them and increase our chances of achieving successful transformations. It takes time, effort,
and perseverance, but when approached strategically, change becomes not only possible but also genuinely transformative.

Overcoming the challenges of change

Overcoming the challenges of change can be a daunting task. It requires resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. One of the biggest challenges is resistance from individuals or teams who are comfortable with their current ways of working. They may fear that change will disrupt their routines or render their skills obsolete.

To navigate this challenge, communication plays a crucial role. Clear and consistent messaging about why change is necessary and how it will benefit everyone involved can help alleviate fears and build trust. Providing opportunities for open dialogue and addressing concerns can also foster buy-in from those who may initially resist.

Another challenge is lack of resources or support. Change often requires time, money, and manpower to implement successfully. Without adequate resources, progress may be slow or hindered altogether.

A solution to this challenge is effective planning and prioritisation. Identifying key stakeholders early on in the process ensures that necessary resources are allocated appropriately. Additionally, seeking external expertise or partnering with consultants can provide valuable insights and assistance in overcoming resource limitations.

Moreover, change initiatives often face resistance due to a lack of alignment between organisational goals and individual motivations. People may feel disconnected from the purpose behind the change or perceive it as incongruent with their personal values.

To address this challenge, leaders must clearly articulate the vision behind the transformation while emphasising its relevance to each individual’s role within the organisation. By creating a sense of shared purpose and providing opportunities for employees to contribute meaningfully to the change effort, motivation levels can increase significantly.


In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, successfully achieving change can be a daunting task. We’ve explored the stages of change and have gained insight into why change is so hard to achieve. From resistance to fear of the unknown, there are numerous factors that can impede progress. However, understanding these challenges is the first step towards overcoming them.

To navigate through the complexities of change, it is crucial to develop effective strategies for communication and engagement. Clear and open lines of communication will help ensure that everyone involved understands the purpose behind the change and feels empowered throughout the process.

Change management techniques such as setting realistic goals, providing adequate support systems, and celebrating small wins along the way can also contribute to successful outcomes. By breaking down larger tasks into smaller achievable steps, individuals and organisations can maintain momentum while avoiding overwhelm.

While there may be setbacks or moments when it feels like progress has stalled, perseverance is key. Change takes time, patience, and resilience. It requires continuous learning from both successes and failures.

Please share this article!

Never miss an article

Subscribe now to receive our musings directly to your inbox!

Invalid email address