“Change is never painful. Only the resistance to change is painful” – Buddha

“Change is never painful. Only the resistance to change is painful” – Buddha

Why do we resist Change? When is it ok to continue what you are doing and when is it not? A runner's tale.

Why do we resist #change when we know that it may be better for us?

I’ve been running for a year and a half.

I started with the Couch-to-5K program and slowly built up to be able to run up to 15-20 minutes straight. More jogging than running actually.
Sometimes I’m able to do 20 minutes straight but it’s not consistent.
Most times I can do 15 minutes.
And then there are many times when even 10 minutes is a stretch.
And so I’ve told myself that I achieved the goal that I actually set out for when I started running,
Which was to build a routine,
And enjoy being outside.
And not being able to run a full 5K in one stretch was something I was fine with.

And then in casual conversation during our conference last week, my friend who runs half-marathons suggested I try interval running – which I had no idea about. And she told me how she could run longer distances with this method.

So today I decided to try it.
2 minutes run
30 sec walk

I downloaded the app.
Set the intervals.
Got into the car and drove to my usual running route by the ocean.

Only to be hit by heavy rain just as I parked.
And my weather app showed me it wasn’t going to let up for at least the next half hour.

And for several minutes I was relieved.
I could put off the run.

But as I sat there,
I wondered why I was resisting trying this new way.

It was the perfect opportunity as I sat in the car with the rain beating down for some self-coaching.

The surface thoughts were: I did not want to get wet. And I had somewhere I wanted to be in an hour, so there was no time to run after the rain let up.

But what were the underlying thoughts?

And I realized that I had all these thoughts about being comfortable with where I was in my running.
My routine
My path
How my body felt
And then the thoughts about what if I didn’t like it
Or what if I wasn’t pushing myself enough

And so I coached myself
What did I really want?
To be able to run longer distance?


And that was where the breakthrough came

If I wasn’t sure of the goal, the destination, whether I really wanted it, then was the effort of change worth it?

And then I asked myself what the alternative was.

It was that I would continue running
Twice a week
For fun
At the same pace and for the same distance
And I could be totally fine with it.

And yet, a new thought: maybe it wasn’t enough.
What is life without some challenge?
Something new?
Wouldn’t it be boring?
Something to look forward to?
The next hill to climb?
The next goal to achieve?

And with that thought, the rain let up.

I got out of the car, tuned into my podcast, set the app for the timer and ran.

And found a new way to run.

I don’t know quite yet if I like it.

I know I will have to adjust the times and intervals.

I may decide after a few weeks that I want to do longer intervals or shorter.

But for now it’s fun again.

And it reminds me of something one of my coaching clients said.
If there’s nothing to strive for,
If there’s no new challenge to work on
Wouldn’t life and work be boring?

So why is it that sometimes, as physicians, we hold back from pushing boundaries?
Trying for new positions?
New challenges?

Because we are comfortable where we are
In the place where we are at
With going to work, being great at it, and then coming home and forgetting about it.

But what would that look like 5 years from now?
Would you be joyful going in to work?
Would you look forward to it?
Can you imagine it is 2026 and you are in the exact same place, doing the exact same thing you are doing now?
Is that something that brings you comfort or is it something that you look ahead and say ‘that’s not what I want’?

If you are fine with how you see your future to be, continue what you are doing and celebrate it.

If you’re not, then what is holding you back from finding a new way of doing things?

What change are you resisting?

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Sherita D. Gaskins-Tillett, MD

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