Why is it so hard to let go?

So, in my previous newsletter, I was talking about goal setting, making a positive change and how hard that can be—namely, because of three major mistakes I see too many people making.  Goal blockers, let's call them.  Just to recap:

Mistake #1: Investing all your energy in creating something new without first releasing what's old and/or no longer working

Why is this such a universal mistake? 

It's not easy to let go of stuff, of people, or beliefseven if it's for our own good. So, why is it so damn hard to let go? Behavioral economists and positive psychologists have come up with two theories I can wrap my head around. See how either (or both) of these resonates with you:

 1. The endowment effect— by which people assign more value to something merely because they own it

One of the most famous examples (there are ton) of the endowment effect is from a study in which participants (who were college students) were given a coffee mug and then offered the chance to trade it for an equally priced amount of pens. Turned out that the amount the participants would charge in exchange for the mug was roughly twice the amount they had been willing to pay to acquire it.

In other words, we have a tendency to overvalue something we own versus something we don't. And this overvaluing can extend to our ideas, our beliefs, our relationships, our experiences, even our sense of identity (as in, feeling superior or overconfident in a particular context). No wonder we have such a hard time giving up stuff….

Why do we prefer what we own? It's the "known" factor; it's easier to value something we know, or own, versus what's out there that could be questionable.
We're wired to prefer the sure thing. It's safe.
Which leads me to the second scientific theory of why it’s tough to let go:

2. The Negativity Bias by which our brains are predisposed to assign more importance to bad or threatening or unsettling things

Apparently, being negative comes naturally to humans. (Really!)

The possibility of a threat or the worst happening carries more weight than the status quo.

Scientists trace it to our survival instincts—how we react when facing real danger.

Okay, enough already with all the whys, right?

If you want to create positive change in your life, you have to be able to let go of the known stuff, the sure things, and not see stepping into uncharted waters as necessarily going off the deep end.  

That’s where I come in!

I can work with you to help identify what's holding you back (and why) and then start focusing on achieving your new goal without all the baggage.

What you need is a collaborator/coach. Interested? Ready to make a change??

Email me for a complimentary 30-minute session.

Next newsletter: Mistake #2! Stay tuned….          

My best,



PS: Can’t wait for the remaining newsletters? Want to hear my talk where I reveal all three reasons why you’re not achieving your goals and how to master them? You can listen here for gratis until March 31st.

Stella GrizontComment