• Christian Elliot

Reason #1 Why You're Stuck: You Didn't Plan for the Emotional Toll of Change

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

Perhaps the #1 thing that derails people after they’ve set a goal is they expect to act logically when the inevitable emotional friction of change occurs.

Being rational during an emotional state is difficult, if not impossible.

And guess who is emotional about the change process…all of us.

Every time something unexpectedly interrupts our well-crafted (or what we think is a well-crafted) plan, that inevitably produces an emotional response of frustration.

Side note: Ladies often get a bad wrap for “being too emotional,” but I’ve found many guys are even worse about it because our problem-solving tendencies lead us to think we’re being logical when we’re actually highly irrational…but I digress.

People change for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.

Those are emotions.

Emotions can get a bad wrap (sometimes deservedly so), but rather than ignoring or suppressing your emotions, get curious about what's triggering them.

Reality is, the change process is so much more about the understanding and management of emotions than it is the creation of a plan.


When the change process bogs down, and it certainly will, we naturally prefer the path of least resistance because, in the moment, it’s less emotionally taxing.

The desire for the easier way tends to pull us in a direction we ultimately don’t want to go…if that happens long enough we end up in the cycle of revisiting the same goals we set before.


  • Ever felt the emotional let down of choosing water when you’re used to always having some other flavor in your drink?

  • Ever find yourself frustrated with the extra dishes in the sink when you start making more of your own food?

  • Ever found exercise to be emotionally harder than choosing to watch TV?

  • Ever found getting up early, or saying yes to something important that requires discipline, is tougher than staying up late scrolling through social media?

  • Planning your meals is a logical course of action right? Yet, more frequent grocery shopping (when you'd rather be doing someone else), presents emotional friction, not so much a logical problem.


Usually we plan the logical steps we believe will move us forward.

The problem often occurs when we fail to account for the emotions the change will bring when our schedule (and especially our go-to downtime habits) are disrupted.

Developing the counter-intuition to embrace struggle, and understand the emotions that come with it, is how you overcome!

What I’ve learned to do with my logical plans is to have emotional foresight, or strategies to help prevent the negative emotions from occurring in the first place.

How to do that varies for each person, (and that is where personal coaching can be invaluable), but the principle is important.

Thinking ahead to when you “won’t feel like it” is a moment to account for before the emotional event occurs.

If you can foresee that moment, you can out think it.

Not accounting for emotions is usually the #1 place where goal achieving breaks down.


My challenge to you is to find people who will help you when you’re emotional, and when you’re emotionally removed from the behavior you’re trying to overcome.

In both instances, give those people permission to speak into your life and allow them to ask you hard questions that will help you see patterns and perspective to become a new person.

I personally recommend and hire professional coaches. I try to never be without one.

They help me see things I'd otherwise miss.

A coach is someone who has my best interests at heart, and can show me how others navigated around the same landmines.

A coach helps me not learn everything through trial and error and empowers me to spend that time on other matters that are worthy of my time.

Do you have someone doing that for you?


When your sounding board asks you those tough questions, don’t get upset with him/her. If you trust the intention behind the question, remember you asked for it.

You may not always like the perspective, and he/she may not always have the answer (or the best questions), but he or she can probably be more objective about whatever it is than you are.

Chances are you’ll both be better for it.

If you've been around the medical merry-go-round or the weight-loss rollercoaster more times than you care to admit (and especially if you know you've lacked a way to plan for your emotions), check out this presentation I recorded.

It will help illuminate what has been blocking you and arm you with some great questions you've never thought to ask!

Doing all this alone is no fun.

If you need some help, shoot me an email at christian@truewholehuman.com

You can do this…and I'll be here to support you along the way.


About Me

You could call me a natural health nerd. I'm a husband and father of four young kids. I wear funny looking toe shoes. I wear out podcasts and audiobooks faster than people can make them. I get paid to ask thoughtful questions and I love writing about what I learn.


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You can contact me at christian@truewholehuman.com

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