Why Is It So Difficult To Change? Part 01

Why Is It So Difficult To Change – Even If You Know You Should Part 1

Why Is It So Difficult To Change – Even If You Know You Should Part 1


Change of old habits is often necessary – but are you finding difficult to change what you’re so familiar with?


If you’re like many people, the answer is “yes”. And this example reveals why (despite what you know it would be good for you) this “tinker-toy” type of thinking is not useful, satisfying or productive.

Many times, when you ignored required change, you ended up racing towards great turmoil.

I talked the other day with a gentleman in his 40’s. He contacted us reluctantly for NLP Coaching. He said that his wife thought it might be a good thing to hire a coach, and one trained in NLP because he is stuck.

Very intelligent man, an engineer with great credentials and a pretty impressive bio, this man is really a good and honest member of society. So, we’re not talking here about somebody who has no capability to think correctly.

But there was something really interesting about this man. He got married, in his early 20’s, and set up his house in a certain way. Since then he has not changed anything (even in the way his furniture is arranged in the house) in almost 40 years.

He has the same furniture arranged in the same way in the house, the same old rugs and decorations, the same appliances (which he changes only because they break down eventually) and… the same thinking as he did when he grew up.

Now, this is really interesting – because our environment has changed tremendously only in the last 20 years – and it continues to change at an increasingly faster rate. The more and more computerized industry, the way we eat, the proliferation of electromagnetic pollution, not to mention the geo-political outlook of the whole world (and your country, wherever you might be) have all changed.

Of course, this is not a problem in and of itself. We’re talking about people’s taste and just that – their personal taste. However, his coaching presenting problem was that where he works right now, he does not feel safe. He feels his job is in jeopardy, and this in turn will have repercussions on his ability to pay the bills, his mortgage, and so, overall in the quality of his life.

Because he wasn’t feeling safe, he felt he was under a great deal of stress, and in our initial discussion, he brought up another important point, which was that his relationship was also feeling the strain and his overall quality of life suffered.

But the main complaint from him was that he wasn’t feeling safe. He knew that he should look at changing his job, and finding another safer place (with his credentials, this was not so difficult) but he could not get himself to take any action at all.


The Question Is Then, Why Not?

Why, in spite of being very evident that this would be the solution, he could not bring himself to change anything?

In our NLP Coaching Master Practitioner training, there is a section dedicated to what we call Meta-Programs. No, these are not the Myers Briggs Meta-programs some of you may be familiar with.

Meta-programs are simply content free inner filters, by which we automatically – and unconsciously of course – filter how we perceive the world. Yes, not everybody perceives the world around them in the same way. There are significant differences in behavior from person to person, and the Meta-programs influence and guide our strategies or thinking styles.

Now, I hope you caught the fact that these inner filters are unconscious – so it’s not something you do with volition… and yet, others may have a problem with the way you do things, because their “filtering”may be different from yours.

These little but important filters, determine among other things also how we behave, take or not take action, relate and communicate to others.

They have an extremely important role in business –for which they have been expertly adapted.

These filters (the Meta-programs) can be successfully employed in marketing, selling, team building, presentations, negotiation, staff hiring, what have you. But they are also equally effective in personal relationships like interacting with your life-partner, or your children, in determining how you purchase stuff, and how you relate to time in the sense that you cold be late and disorganized or punctual and extremely meticulous.

In this article I will talk only about one of the 23 different Meta-programs we teach in our NLP Master Practitioner Training – the relationship filter – for the reason that this Meta-program was directly related to this client’s inability to make a change even if the external conditions in his life demand such a change be effected immediately.

To keep it simple, this relationship Meta-program relates directly to finding similarities or differences in the way you sort in your mind the information from the outside world. Some people look for how things are the same – sameness or similarities. Others look for how things are different or dissimilar. Most of us – “most” here meaning only more than half – have a combination of both.We may look first at similarities and then notice the differences or vice-versa.

In the next article we will first find out how this works for you – are you a sameness person, a difference person or somewhere in the middle…

It’ll be fun and very instructive!

Until then, be well!


Adriana James

About the Author: Adriana James

NLP Master Trainer, Hypnosis Master Trainer and NLPCoaching Master Trainer. She is the author of the book Values And the Evolution of Consciousness - a book about how to take advantage of the massive changes which the world is going through and  Time Line Therapy® Made Easy - an introduction to Time Line Therapy® techniques easy to master by everyone. To read more about Adriana go here.


  1. Chris Peters

    thank you, food for thought – i find that the older i get i have more resistance to change than before, but once i ‘go with it’ and ‘learn’ how to actually make the change or how to impliment the new thing i want to change it is actually very easy.

  2. Brad

    Fear of change is the issue

  3. Stacey H.

    This gentleman that you talk about reminds me of my grandma who is 92 and everything…and I mean EVERYTHING is exactly the same in her house since I can remember. She’s in the same house my father grew up in. When we would visit her when we were kids, we would ask her, “grandma…why don’t you get a new TV…or a new…whatever.” She would simply reply…”well it’s a perfectly good TV” (doesn’t matter that it’s 40 years old to her). Now that I’m older I look at her and she is stress free, still doing great, and seems to enjoy life. She’s a bit slower, but she’s 92! She’s not caught up in all the technology that changes every year that “we” all seem to let run our life. Now that I think about it, my dad is similar to her (both sameness meta programs as you call it). I’m quite the opposite where I need change in my life to keep it interesting…not everything, just some things, so I guess that would be the sameness with differences that you mention. Interesting stuff! Thanks for the info.

  4. Jean Paul

    What I think is great is the fact that (for those that truly want to change & when ecological) Meta-Programs can be changed with Time Line Therapy®. I had a client who changed jobs every year to year and a half. He was ALL ‘differences’ when I asked him the relationship sort filter question from the MPVI. The problem was that he loved this new job and at the same time he had this undeniable urge to want to “do something different” though he didn’t know why. Simply put…it was his unconscious relationship sort filter in full effect. He asked if we could “change this unconscious programming” so he could feel 100% about staying in that job for a while. We did Time Line Therapy® on his unconscious decision to change jobs so frequently. 3 years later, he is still in the same job…and loves it…and has been promoted twice already!

  5. Poornima

    Definitely an interesting article to read. Fear to face the unknown and fear of failure and a lack of guidance hinder a lot in embracing the change.

    Poornima Sasidharan

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